cARTrefu is an exciting two year Wales-wide project that aims to create and increase opportunities for care home residents and staff to participate in the arts by providing eight-week art residencies in one of four art forms: Performing Arts (Dance/Drama), Music, Visual Arts, and Words (Poetry/Prose).
The project is being delivered by Age Cymru and is jointly funded by the Baring Foundation and Arts Council Wales. An independent evaluation is being led by the Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, Bangor University. The evaluation explores the impact of the art residencies on care home residents, care home staff, the artist practitioners, and the wider community.
As the largest project of its kind in Wales, this project will deliver 128 residencies with sixteen artist practitioners (four from each art form) delivering eight residencies each over two years. Evaluation methods include care staff from participating homes completing a pre- and post- residency questionnaire exploring their attitudes to dementia, previous experience of art, confidence in leading art sessions, and three top tips to running a successful art residency; residents completing the Smiley Faces Assessment Scale, a self-report rating scale using a response system of pictures of five faces ranging from very unhappy to very happy, before and after each session; and the Artist Practitioners writing a reflective journal after each session as well as contributing unique feedback from a creative and emotional sensibility.
This paper presents results from the first year of the project. As a pioneering project working at such a huge scale, we feel important implications have been learned for future projects. Along with the results of the evaluation, challenges and successes of this inspiring and significant project will be highlighted to enable the sharing of best-practice for large-scale art projects in care homes.