SMH workshop

Arts & Minds at the New York Historical Society and the Studio Museum in Harlem

Organization Associated with Program
Arts and Minds
P.O. Box 250073
New York, New York 10027

Arts & Minds at the New York Historical Society and the Studio Museum in Harlem brings older adults living with memory disorders and their caregivers together to share new experiences of art. A variety of specially designed art experiences are offered in addition to caregiver workshops and educator training. Interactive gallery conversations about historical and contemporary art are followed by art-making workshops. All programs are led by professional teaching artists or museum educators. Arts & Minds partners with museums, community centers, long-term care facilities, and other organizations serving older adults who are living with memory disorders.

Program History

Founded in 2010 by Columbia University neurologist James M. Noble, MD and museum educator Carolyn Halpin-Healy, Arts & Minds is a non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders. Arts & Minds works in museums, community centers, and long-term care facilities to provide meaningful art-centered activities and thereby create positive cognitive experiences, enhance communication, and reduce isolation. These programs empower older people living with memory loss, as well as the family members, professional caregivers, and educators who work with them, strengthening social, emotional, and spiritual bonds through artistic engagement.

Program Research and Key Findings

A scientific research program led by Dr. James Noble, Columbia University neurologist and President of Arts & Minds, is in the planning stages. Arts & Minds hopes to learn more about how programs that incorporate art conversation and art-making may contribute to the wellbeing of people with neurocognitive disorders and their caregivers.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Arts & Minds uses surveys, testimonials, and interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of its programs. Museum staff work closely with the Arts & Minds team to plan and evaluate the arts program with the goals of providing a safe space for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers to discuss and make art.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

When developing an arts program, consider using Arts & Minds as a resource. Arts & Minds provides training and consultation to museums, community organizations, and healthcare organizations seeking to develop visual arts programs for people with memory loss and their caregivers.
Be aware of the audience while developing an arts program. For example, develop programs in spaces that are highly accessible. Also, make sure all staff members are well educated about the program.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Workshop
Arts Discipline: Museums, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine, History
Target Audience: Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, Frail Older Adults, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities
Program Setting: Arts Organization, Community Center
Program Service Area: Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice