“I never thought I would enjoy looking at art so much. I didn’t talk much, but I sure looked and listened and learned a thing or two.” – Art
“Takes me back to all those trips my husband and I went on seeing this great country. My, such good memories! I hope you come back soon.” – Marian
“This is probably my favorite activity at our community. I love expressing my opinion and hearing what others have to say. We want you to stay all day!” – Nina
“As an artist myself, I love to explore the works of great artists - and even those I never heard of. Every painting you showed took us on a great adventure. And we didn’t have to leave the comfort of our home here. " – Fran
As a hospice volunteer, my job as I see it is to generate strong, loving relationships with people facing the end of life...and we both know the clock is ticking.
Using the Virtual Museum ArtBook is excellent with new patients, especially when we have to break the ice. Usually, it takes two or three visits before we are comfortable enough to share our intimate moments. When using the ArtBook, as we share whatever our experience is while viewing the art, intimate conversations are immediately triggered...we converse about people, places and things that matter the most to us. It's not about "I have a grandmother who lived in Pittsburgh," it's about, "Oh! This painting reminds me of every year when my parents took me to Pittsburgh to visit my grandmother. The snow was so high, it was higher than the top of my head! And you should have known my Grandmother, she loved me so much! She always cooked for me and her house always smelled so good...etc., etc., etc." For hours on end, they share unabashedly about "the loves of their lives."
I've personally witnessed people who seemed near death who were completely revitalized by sharing the Art Experience, sitting up in bed and wanting to view some more. It's not that their life is extended, it's about what they think about during that extension. Their end of days are not about fear -- fear of dying, or being in pain, or whether they did what they were supposed to do in life, or whether or not their family is taken care of, or whether they are going to heaven or hell. It is about, "You know, I had a pretty good life. I had people who loved me so much and I loved so many in return." People bask in the glow of a life well lived.
And who wouldn't want such a happy ending for themselves and their family members?
I get to use the greatest art in the world to "love on" people. I have the profound privilege of knowing, loving and honoring them for having lived a great life.
As a volunteer caregiver, I completely triumph...I walk out of that room in love with people, and they are in love with me. I am completely fulfilled!
I got to admit it, this is the most fun I had in a long time. I didn’t even need my glasses to see the show.
I met Richard at a Meetup, and he invited me to another in which I met Mark – the Founder of For Love and Art. From that point on, I have been a Volunteer with For Love and Art and have enjoyed every moment of this journey. In helping out local communities and their Nursing Homes, Hospices and Children's Hospitals, to expanding the growth of this beautiful organization, to becoming friends with the incredible people where it all started – I couldn't be more blessed. If you love people, and you love art, then this is the best organization out there for lightening up a special someone's day!