Animate – Durham Community Fund – Impact Ajax

Animate was a series of five expressive arts therapy workshops that helped seniors animate their lives through the learning and experience of arts activities that included movement-based art (clowning play, creative movement); music (listening/responding artistically and through movement); poetry (writing, reading); the creation of visual arts (Zentangle); clay-work, and painting.

These art forms were chosen for their ability to help seniors break down communication barriers, improve their mobility and tap into creativity more quickly. By combining two to three art forms in each session, participants gravitated toward their learning type (text, visual, audio, kinesthetic) and in the process stimulated their minds and other senses.

Previous ex

experience has shown that expressive arts therapy workshops help seniors improve their communication skills, help them to regulate and explore their emotions, increase movement/mobility and fine motor skills, and help them to become more engaged.

This pilot 

the project was for seniors attending the day program at the Lighthouse Retreat in Ajax. We continued this partnership piloted through the DCF funding, and we were able to expand the expressive arts therapy model through additional workshops delivered with the assistance of other funding sources (New Horizons for Seniors Funding).  These workshops encouraged seniors to live more vital lives, to expand and deepen new artistic experiences, and helped new relationships to form within their peer group attending the program.

We hope to continue our good work at this location in Ajax when we find additional funding.  The project was very successful, and the seniors were very excited to continue the program in future.  Their limited resources would not allow the seniors to carry full costs of a program, but the benefits and results of the program were experienced and expressed immediately.