Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Opening Minds through Art [OMA] is a visual arts program for individuals with dementia which aims to enhance the quality of life for individuals living with dementia, as well as their caregivers, through a creative opportunity held within their own community. The intent of this project was for community art agencies and galleries to participate in dementia-specific training to develop programming for individuals with dementia so that clients with memory needs can actively engage in the creative arts in St. Louis. This project used a pre-post design to analyze perceptions regarding arts based programming with people who have memory loss. Prior to and immediately following an informational training session on creativity and memory loss, participants completed the Dementia Attitudes Scale as well as 4 open-ended questions regarding their experience with the training program and if they would host a program like OMA at their agency. Although no community agencies fully committed to implementing OMA at this time, inroads into the process were made and this training project served as an introduction to the opportunities present through OMA. In addition, perceptions and attitudes of participants in the training did change, and in particular, the perception about people with dementia having creative capacity was increased. Future programming and research should aim to target art agencies, with a stronger connection to involving those individuals who are key decision makers in the agency in order to make such programmatic changes happen.

Faculty Mentor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Colleen M. Schneck

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Katherine Nicholas

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)