Annual Summer Program Takes Participants to MIA

Each summer, JFS partners with Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) to offer the Art Adventures program to seniors and adults living in area subsidized housing complexes.

Throughout its history, JFS has considered older adults and adults with disabilities vital contributors to our community. Too often, they are excluded from community arts events due to unintentional barriers such as lack of transportation, financial limitations, and a lack of awareness of art events. As a quality of life issue, JFS recognizes the need to make these opportunities available.

The goals of Art Adventures are to offer older adults the opportunities to learn about art, establish an emotional connection with art, and find relevance for art in their own lives. Longevity enables older adults to make many connections to works of art as well as to interact and share stories with other elders who share their historical context. It also provides older adults and adults with disabilities the opportunity to engage with works of art and with one another in meaningful ways. The program values critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, curiosity, inclusivity and diversity, empathy, respect and kindness, lifelong learning and reflection.

MIA supplied themed sets of art objects and three trained guides, one of whom was a geriatric social worker experienced in group work. The guides led two educational sessions using full-color poster reproductions of works of art from MIA’s collections, followed by a visit to MIA to view the real works of art. Transportation is provided to take the guides and participants from Cleveland, Montreal, Como, and Graham Place Apartments to MIA. This summer, 33 seniors participated in the program.

“I can get a ride to a doctor, but if not for this miracle, I would never see an art museum again,” explained one program participant. “It’s difficult to go anywhere, especially alone. But there needs to be more balance in life than just going to the doctor and getting needled and tested and weighed. I hope this won’t be the last time I will see the MIA. We need these little vacations. Especially for the many who are isolated with disability. Much appreciated and thank you.”