The ‘My Art Bag’ project took place at the Papakura Selwyn Centre during the first COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year. It was a collaboration between the Foundation and Connect the Dots, a charity that aims to improve the lives of older people through creativity.
‘My Art Bag’ is a creative challenge which involved Selwyn Centre guests participating in a weekly art challenge in the safety of their own home. Different creative challenges were devised by Connect the Dots, and the corresponding bags of resource materials and instructions were delivered to the guests by the Papakura Selwyn Centre Coordinator and her wonderful team of volunteers. Guests then worked on the art in their own time and at their own pace. The artwork was then collected weekly, when a new activity was dropped off to the guests who were self-isolating at home.
Once New Zealand reached COVID Alert Level 1 and the Selwyn Centres were able to meet again, the artwork completed individually by each guest was collated into a larger art piece by the Connect the Dots facilitator and the Selwyn Centre guests and volunteers during the course of a morning. This generated much storytelling, laughter and enjoyment at sharing the artwork, and amazement at how each person’s leaves, flowers and birds were unique and full of personality.
The following is an extract from a letter received from a guest who participated in My Art Bag:
‘A great project to really challenge us. The patterns and colours are so lovely, and the spring flowers and blossoms truly lift our spirits.
‘Thanks so much for the hard dedicated work you have created to keep us connecting, the support and encouragement has been tops.
‘Look forward to our coming together soon.’
Another guest has since bought a sketch pad and pencils as she enjoyed the drawing so much, even though she hadn’t drawn in her previous 91 years!