As a bachelor qualified art teacher, Natalie Lynch of Studio Yellow in Manly West has spent most of her professional life helping children and teenagers express their ideas and opinions visually.
After her husband of 22-years lost his battle with depression, she decided to shift career paths and start a business that catered to adults searching for creative ways to improve their own outlook on life.
Now in its third year, Studio Yellow has recently been awarded $11,000 as part of the Brisbane City Council’s Creative Sparks Grants Program.
Targeting locals of Wynnum and Manly, the grant will support the development and implementation of Natalie’s unique pilot program called A.D.A.P.T. (A Dementia Art Program for Today).
Set in a relaxed environment, Natalie will use her knowledge as a teacher and art therapist to help people living with dementia learn to visualise, plan, communicate, design, create and reflect by utilising drawing and mixed media materials.
Over 15 weeks, up to 60 participants will have the opportunity to learn new art skills so they can express their feelings and emotions visually, providing meaning and purpose for people living with dementia.
“People with dementia need to focus on enjoying life now. The pilot program will give participants and their carers the opportunity to come to terms with their diagnosis by learning to process their feelings in a way they may have never tried before,” says Natalie.
As part of the program, participants will be given mentoring and exhibition opportunities to help them positively navigate their future after diagnosis.
The ADAPT program’s culminating exhibition hopes to raise awareness within the community about dementia.
“The exhibition will be a celebration of what participants can do, rather than what they can no longer do,” says Natalie.
Extensive research strongly evidences that creative expression plays an integral part in enhancing the well-being of people living with dementia by giving a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
Studio Yellow’s ADAPT program is set to commence in early 2020. If successful, the program will be rolled out to other precincts within Brisbane.
To learn more about Studio Yellow and the ADAPT pilot program, visit https://www.studioyellow.com.au.