Opening Minds Through Art

The Claude Pepper Center brings Opening Minds Through Art (OMA) to Tallahassee, FL.

OMA is an award-winning, failure-free, intergenerational art-making program for people living with dementia. The program was originally developed by gerontologists at Scripps Gerontology Center (Miami University). OMA promotes autonomy and dignity, through opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

During the course of the program, student interns are trained by an OMA facilitator to learn about dementia, effective communication, and creative facilitation skills. The student interns, as creative facilitators, are paired with an older adult living with dementia (artists), and form close, one-on-one relationships with them. At the end of the program, an art exhibition will be held to celebrate the artist’s accomplishments and beautiful artwork, as well as spread awareness of memory care diseases to the community.

The Claude Pepper Center launched Opening Minds through Art in September 2023. Ten undergraduate student interns went through extensive OMA training, and meet regularly to discuss and reflect on the OMA sessions. The center’s program works with two different assisted living facilities in Tallahassee to bring weekly art sessions to people living with dementia.

“OMA builds bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art.”

Research shows the following benefits to:

People living with dementia:

  • Compared to other activities, OMA provides:
  • More expressions of pleasure,
  • Greater engagement,
  • Better overall well-being

Student Interns

  • Increased positive attitudes and comfort level towards people living with dementia
  • Increased affection, enthusiasm, and sense of kinship toward people living with dementia


If you are interested in learning more about OMA: A Claude Pepper Center program, please contact:

Suzanne Monroe Smith, OMA Facilitator