The Arts Programme developed by Age & Opportunity focuses on older people's creativity and creative potential, and supports the meaningful participation and inclusion of older adults in cultural and creative life.
ARCS (Artist in Residence in a Care Setting) aims to create an opportunity for staff and residents of publicly funded or not for profit social care settings to engage creatively with an artist over a three-month period. It provides ongoing support to participating artists by means of training, mentoring and curatorial and administrative support to ensure a successful outcome for the residency.
In 2017 we launched the first Artist in Residence in a Care Setting initiative at the Orchard Day Care Centre in Blackrock, Dublin, followed in 2018 by a second residency in St. Josephs, Shankill, Dublin. Age & Opportunity has continued to increase access to high quality arts experiences for older adults through our ARCS initiative. In 2019 we expanded ARCS to a further six residential and day care settings. A new group of artists engaged with these same centres into 2020/21 and provided the focus for this evaluation.
While this initiative is delivered in care settings and delivers acknowledged well-being and health benefits, it is arts led ' rather than health or therapy, and thus focuses on the subjective experience of stimulation, engagement and enjoyment associated with the arts.