Vernon Romanoski of Wilton stands proudly with his favorite piece, titled “Chaos”, on Friday, May 12. Romanoski was one of five artists that participated in a program at SeniorsPlus in Wilton. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — SeniorsPlus in Wilton held an art show Friday, May 12, exhibiting the work developed by their clients after participating in a six-week program sponsored by Opening Minds Through Art (OMA).

Founded by Dr. Elizabeth Lokon in 2007, OMA pairs people with dementia and other forms of neurocognitive disorders with volunteers [students, families, caregivers] who are trained to rely on imagination instead of memory and focus on remaining strengths instead of lost skills. OMA enables people with dementia to assume new roles as artists and teachers and leave a legacy of beautiful artwork, their website states.

Held at their Wilton office, located at 284 Main St. in suite 100, the event showcased the work of their five participants from 1 to 4 p.m. It was also catered by Calzolaio Pasta Co., located at the same address.

According to Jessica Riseman, community education supervisor for SeniorsPlus, OMA is a national program that was started at Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center and has expanded across the United States and internationally in other countries like Indonesia.

“We were looking for evidence-based things to support our Alzheimer’s and dementia clients,” Riseman said. She added that they were also looking for programs that were unique to the community and could offer a new experience to their clients.

The staff at SeniorsPlus had the work of their elderly patients on display for them and their family members to admire at their art show Friday, May 12. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

“We fell in love with it once we saw the art that was coming out from it, and we knew that our community could use something like that,” she stated.


Funding for the program came from a four-year grant through Dementia Capable Maine. Riseman stated that the grant would be ending this year, but they would continue to offer OMA and other similar programs for their clients.

“I have a couple of quotes, like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I could do that’ or ‘I haven’t had this much fun in the years’”, Riseman stated. “It allows them to be in a space that is safe and creative.”

“Art is just a wonderful byproduct of them having a supportive place,” she added.

SeniorsPlus will offer the program at the Norway and Lewiston locations as well. The courses are free and will be held in Norway from May 19 to June 30 and in Lewiston from July 14 through Aug. 18. To sign up, visit or call 1-800-427-1241 for more information.

Comments are not available on this story.