Enjoy art with the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Virtual Seniors Social program

If you love galleries and culture, join these online art sessions by the AGO, sponsored by Amica

Seniors connect and learn how to draw and paint at online workshops in The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Virtual Seniors Social program, sponsored by Amica

Did you know that you can virtually connect with other seniors and learn how to paint and draw from the comfort of your own home? You can, thanks to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Virtual Seniors Social Program. Amica is the lead sponsor of this AGO program that includes art-focused conversation, tutorials and art-making activities, streamed live via the AGO Facebook page and available in online videos. Unique workshops on art, crafts, cooking or music are among the many premium activity programs at Amica connecting seniors over shared interest in creativity and lifelong learning.

Bringing art to Canadian seniors
Amica initially partnered with the AGO to offer residents in-person tours and art-making experiences, and then helped fund a series of free monthly events open to all seniors. During COVID-19, the AGO pivoted to recreate the program online, allowing seniors across the country to join in. Each session consisted of three parts: a discussion about artworks by one or more artists, an art instruction tutorial using drawing and painting techniques inspired by those artists, and then an art-making session. More recently, the program has shifted to a biweekly format, offering 45-minute live art making sessions in real-time. Each live session includes a look at up to 2 artworks followed by an art making activity inspired by the artworks and conversation.

Anyone can participate, regardless of their skill level, and everyone is welcome to share their creations on social media using the hashtag #AGOmakes.

“You don’t have to be an art historian to appreciate and discuss art,” says Melissa Smith, Assistant Curator of Community Programs at the AGO. “We are all equipped to experience visual culture. It’s empowering to let people share their take on a painting and it’s beautiful to hear the multiple perspectives.”

Experience the benefits of art and art-making

Seeing and creating art isn’t just engaging, it’s good for your soul and body.

“The World Health Organization and others have published data about how art can lower stress and pain and improve brain function,” says Smith, who notes that it can also benefit seniors with dementia. “It’s incredibly moving to see a person who may have been nonverbal all day suddenly share a reaction to an artwork.”

“Programs like these let seniors socialize and explore creativity,” adds Ashley Sumler, Manager of Life Enrichment for Amica. "This engagement and connection are more important than ever during a time of physical distancing."

Watch the latest AGO art workshops for seniors

Visit the AGO Virtual Seniors Social page regularly for recordings of previous sessions and to find out about upcoming live events available online or via Facebook Live, and to ensure you’re prepared. Each event description includes a list of art supplies you may need, such as paper, pencils, markers, charcoal pencils, acrylic paint and more. Seeking inspiration? You can also watch or revisit past sessions, archived on the webpage. Previous sessions include: 

Whether you like modern art, abstract paintings or landscapes in the style of the Group of Seven, you’ll find an AGO session to your taste. To see our resident artists’ latest paintings and creations, follow Amica on social media.

Schedule a tour to learn more about inspiring lifestyles for seniors including exceptional dining, amenities, activities and flexible, personalized care.