Inspiring people with dementia through art
Eddie Wilson never studied to be an artist.
"I was a senior electrician for Manitoba Hydro," he said.
But after retiring, he picked up a brush, and soon, beautiful watercolor landscapes and buildings came to life on the canvas.
It's been about three years though since Wilson tried to recreate a picture with paint.
And the lapse isn’t because he's lost any passion for his art.
"He's such a perfectionist at everything he does," said wife Beverly Wilson. “I think he decided ‘I'm not doing it anymore.’”
Eddie Wilson is living with dementia. And as the illness progressed, Beverly says it became difficult for Eddie to put the same level of depth and perspective into his paintings.
"I don't do any other type of artwork," said Eddie.
At least, not yet.
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is starting a new program for people living with dementia. It's called Art to Inspire. Participants and their caregivers will look at art, then be led through workshops to create some of their own.
"It's activities you can do with your caregiver together," said program facilitator Colleen Leduc. "
One's not above the other, they're doing it together. They'll both be doing their own art activity. They can share their art experiences together."
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba is helping the WAG bring this program to life. It believes it will prove to be beneficial.
"They may not have a long term memory of being involved in art," said Norma Kirkby, program directot, Alzheimer Society Of Manitoba. "But they can in the moment enjoy it, and have conversation."
And who knows, Beverly Wilson says it’s even possible Eddie will be inspired to try a new style of art. "I said to him, you know when Picasso started out, it was very detailed and very traditional. And then he moved into his abstract work."
And after taking part in the Art to Inspire program, perhaps Eddie can too.
Art to Inspire is capped at 16 participants: 8 people with dementia and their caregivers. The Winnipeg Art Gallery says depending on demand, it will add names to a waiting list for a future session.