Volunteers and iPads in the Intergenerational Art Class
Without the help of Providence Mount St. Vincent’s volunteer community, many of our wonderful programs, including the Art Class, would look a lot different. Volunteers help the children and adults connect in a host of ways. They accompany individual residents to and from class; they distribute materials and help with clean-up; they sit beside participants, sharing stories and jokes and the occasional tear. This sharing is not trivial as one resident shared;
“I had a bad night last night. I am telling you this because I came in to art class and painted and forgot all about my pain.”
The art class volunteers seem to know when to step in and when to step back. They seem ready for any challenge.
Recently the art class volunteers took on a new challenge. A research team requested to observe art classes in which iPads were offered as one of many resources that Art Instructor Bridget Daly provides for art making. Through flexibility and learning together, the entire class began using the iPads a few years ago to fuel their own creativity. They accessed images of works of art from the Internet and photographed their own artwork to store in digital portfolios which could be revisited and shared with others. They even learned to use apps in the art making process! These benefits of having the iPads in class were made possible through the assistance of the art class volunteers. With Bridget’s help, volunteers learned how to take photographs with the iPads and they taught the participants to do the same. They spoke with the participants about their work and helped them to type or upload descriptions to accompany photos. They made videos of participants talking about their art which was often intensely meaningful. One volunteer recently noted, “It is amazing to witness everyone in art class communicating about their lives through their art and to see how everyone, participants and volunteers alike, support each other in doing.”