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Art Bridges

An Introduction to “Art Bridges”

By Project Chair, Anne Woita

The Seed of an Idea that Grew Into “Art Bridges”   |   See Lesson Plans Here In the fall of 2013, the remarkable Jean Martin (a resident of Legacy Retirement Communities in Lincoln, NE) approached Hildegard Center for the Arts (HCFA) with a “seed of an idea” to bring enriching art experiences to Senior Citizens everywhere. At some ninety years young, Jean (an artist, teacher, and art curator) envisioned a project which she called “Anyone Can Do It!”. Her idea was to pull together files of art lesson plans and box them up to go to retirement communities where existing staffs would be able to implement them for the enrichment and enjoyment of the residents. Jean passed away in December of 2014 before we could properly plant and nourish her “seed”, but her vision lived on. With the permission and blessing of her family, HCFA took hold of Jean’s wonderful idea, expanded it and planted it. It has now blossomed into the clearinghouse of resources we call “Art Bridges”.

The Blossoming of “Art Bridges” HCFA worked with artists, teachers, music/art therapists, counselors and therapists to gather resources for the project. The resources were carefully selected to be used by existing staffs (regardless of their artistic background or experience) at a variety of institutions, organizations and facilities that work with a wide range of audiences with varying ages, challenges, needs and interests. From the elderly to children and everyone in between—for those battling addiction or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to those facing the challenges of autism and Alzheimer’s—for those coming to terms with mental illness and emotional, behavioral, developmental and physical challenges—“Art Bridges” is a labor of love and a gift from Hildegard Center to all who can benefit.   The project contains more than 120 links, activities and/or lesson plans and 15 articles contained in 75 files which encompass visual art, writing, storytelling, music enrichment and even drama. Some of the activities are perfect for enrichment and enjoyment; others help in the personal growth of the participants by exposing them to new experiences and information; and in the hands of counselors and therapists, other plans can assist in the healing process.   Included with this project, you will find “A Summary of Lesson and Activity Content”. This file will give you an overview of all the activities, articles and lessons contained in the project, along with suggested audience and how the resources could be used (e.g. for enrichment, growth, and/or healing). By referring to “A Summary of Lesson and Activity Content,” you will be able to quickly determine those activities that will be of most interest to you.   We at Hildegard Center for the Arts have learned that the end product is not the most important part of the artistic experience—it is the “process of creating” that holds the true power. Art makes us complete human beings, keeps us healthy and gives us a full range of expression. We need art to understand and share our individual and common history and keep us connected. So silence your inner critic, be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to try some of these artistic adventures personally or with clientele. All you need is a little creativity, imagination, and courage to try something new. We promise you, the results will amaze you as you see the arts work their magic in meaningful, enriching and healing ways!

Hildegard Thanks! Special thanks to Jean Martin, Project Chair Anne Woita and the members of our Hildegard “team” who have contributed to this project in so many important ways, especially, Alisha Bartels, Kim Einspahr, Cathy Harrington, Rita Kean, Liz Shea-McCoy, Marilyn Stadler, Pippa White and Ann Williams—thank you! And without the sharing of time, talent, ideas, and resources by generous and gracious people found in the counseling, therapeutic, and arts communities locally and across the country and beyond, “Art Bridges” would not have been possible. Please visit the following sites to support and learn more about the tremendous people and organizations that have contributed to this project!

Anna Alcalde —

Art and Activities” Magazine —

Kathy Barbro —

Dick Blick Art Supplies —

Diane Boney and Mary Eberts —

Susan Brasch —

Deborah Davis —  

Do2Learn —

ElephantJournal.Com —

Louise Gale —

Tom Gilbert —

Fred Greenhalgh — and

Christine Hennig, MA, LMHP, ATR

Brad Imhoff, Kaela Vance and Amberle Quackenbush —

Zemirah Jazwierska —

Shelley Klammer —

Kelley Luckett —

Kristina Marcelli Sargent

Ann Martin —

Gretchen Miller MA, ATR-BC, CTC-S

Andrea Mulder-Slater and KinderArt ® —

Geralee Olson-Triplett —

Dr. Leslie Opp-Beckmann —

Tony Palermo —

Rachel Rotert —

Scholastic Inc. —

Simply Scripts — –

Cheryl Trowbridge

Pippa White —

Ann Williams

Jennie Wright-Parker —  


Email us if you have a project you would like to submit or if you would like to share your artwork!