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Thoughtful Art Projects

I often use the work of famous or well-known artists as inspiration for creating new masterpieces.  I try to make projects simple without being childlike and break down each step to avoid confusion. Even if the person has never painted or been artistic, it is amazing what emerges on the paper!.  Art is freeing because there is no right or wrong way to do it. It is also therapeutic and calming which can be very beneficial to the person dealing with cognitive challenges.


When applicable, I give you pages to print to make it easier to organize and pull together a project.  Often, I instruct you to print on card stock weight paper (scrapbook paper) because it works better for most projects.  (Adjust your printer for heavier paper!)  It is my aim to give you all the information you need to quickly plan and implement a project for a few individuals or a group. 


01. Prepare,                Prepare

I can not say enough about preparing a project completely ahead of time.  That being said, make preparation an activity on a day prior to the project day.  I often have a “prep group” of residents who enjoy cutting, sorting, etc., Volunteers or the receptionist at the front desk -anyone who is precise and can cut nicely!  All the supplies must be ready and working when participants sit down or your project will be chaotic and unsuccessful.

02. Break                       Down into             Easy Steps

Many people with dementia have almost NO short term memory, meaning that they may not remember instructions for more than 20 or 30 seconds.  Having several samples of a finished project can be helpful.  Each step must be isolated. Don’t give them supplies or paint before they are needed in the process because it’s confusing.  The instructions should be six words or less. (Example: 1. “Choose five shapes.”   2. “Glue the shapes on the paper.” and so on.)

03. Showcase             Artwork

Most participants love to see their work displayed, and loved ones like to see that they have been engaged in something meaningful. An Art Show is a fabulous way to honor your artists but don’t wait for a yearly event to show off your fabulous artwork!  Find a wall or special place to put work up each month or as often as time permits.  Have the artist sign their name (if possible) but also put a little laminated name tag on it. (NOTE: Know your facilities privacy policies.) 

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Printable Templates

Click on a design to download the printable image file.

Peter Max Collage 1

Peter Max Collage 2

Chagall Masterpiece 1

Chagall Masterpiece 2

Chagall Masterpiece 3

Chagall Masterpiece 4

Matisse Collage 1

Matisse Collage 2