Exercising Hands and Hearts Through Art

Residents of Wyatt House enjoy monthly visits from BAC teaching artists. Gallery photo.

Through our posts in the last few weeks, you’ve learned about the wide variety of art, education, and outreach programs we implement across Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County. We hope you’ve been inspired to help complete our big picture by making a generous donation during our drive! Read on to learn about two of our important art outreach programs.

“This program has helped (seniors) to remember and experience their youthful side that many have forgotten. The smiles and joy they express are beyond words. I applaud Bainbridge Arts & Crafts and its artists for bringing this wonderful program to the seniors of Bainbridge Island.”
Linda Wakefield, Bainbridge Senior Living staff member

Art After 60 and Art in the Lobby provide therapeutic art opportunities for the most vulnerable in our community, enabling them to stretch their creative muscles, gain respite through creativity, and connect with others.

It’s well documented that senior citizens who regularly engage in creative pursuits experience reduced stress and increased well-being. Making art exercises the mind, the hands, and the heart, all especially important to the quality of later life. For seniors living in assisted living facilities, away from their families, creative projects can become even more meaningful.

This is exactly what Art After 60 is about: improving local seniors’ quality of life by taking visual art activities to them, and using instruction time as an opportunity to foster social engagement. Once per month since 2008, our teaching artists have visited three Bainbridge Senior Living facilities: Madison Avenue House, Madrona House, and Wyatt House.

Creating together fosters friendship and connection. Gallery photo.

“I have been fortunate to see how much the Bainbridge Arts & Crafts’ Art After 60 project has inspired so many of our seniors over the past years,” said Bainbridge Senior Living staff representative Linda Wakefield. “Throughout those years this program has reached a great number of seniors and given them an opportunity to be creative, express themselves, and form healthy relationships with other seniors and artists.”

Similarly, our Art in the Lobby program brings interactive therapeutic art activities to hospital patients, families, and staff to provide relaxation and stress relief through creativity. Research has shown that the process of making art enhances patients’ recovery, health, and wellness—much like it does for our senior community. Since 2007, Art in the Lobby has placed artists in the Harrison Medical Center Bremerton lobby once a week during the summer to lead demonstrations and hands-on art activities free of charge.
Teaching artist Robin Charters describes how the benefits from a single session at the hospital can have an effect on more than one person. “A young man in full scrubs came by where I had set up a demo table with pastels. He stopped, sat down and immediately started drawing a simple daffodil. When he was done and ready to leave I encouraged him to sign it. He hesitated, but eventually did. He didn’t want to keep the painting and was off quickly.

“A bit later a woman who was waiting for her husband to come out of surgery was admiring the daffodil painting. I asked if she’d like to have it; it was almost time for me to leave. She looked at me and asked, ‘Really??’

“‘Of course’, I replied, and told her who made it. She was so pleased and immediately said she would frame it and hang it up at home. She walked away with her painting, so happy. That young man has no idea what he did that day, but I do.”

BAC teaching artist Fred Truitt (left) guides a resident in his creative exploration. Gallery photo.

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts operates on the principle that people of all ages, abilities, and economic means benefit from and deserve creative opportunities. Making art of any sort—whether it’s a picture, a line of music, or a story—grounds us in humanity.

Join us in our commitment to that principle, and support these important programs by donating today.

Pledge through Kitsap Great Give, and your gift will be amplified, thanks to the Kitsap Community Foundation and United Way of Kitsap County.