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As we come into the final lap of the three-year expansion grant we received jointly with LeadingAge Virginia, we pause to celebrate the 86 Certified OMA Facilitators and 45 long-term care communities who otherwise would not be able to experience the impact of the OMA (Opening Minds through Art) program.

These facilitators are taking the strengths-based abstract art program across Virginia, from Arlington to Petersburg; Gloucester to Wytheville; Martinsville to Suffolk. Against the odds of an unprecedented staffing crisis, these dedicated individuals are fostering well-being and meaningful connection for older adults, those living with dementia and those without.

“The most rewarding thing is watching them go from, ‘no I can’t,’ to watching them blossom after each step, to seeing them so excited to show off their work at the art show.”
-Jo Santamaria, OMA Facilitator Cohort 6, Manassas Health & Rehab

“This is one of the best things I have been a part of. So many lessons learned and stories shared between residents, employees, and volunteers.” -Student Volunteer, VMRC, Harrisonburg

The OMA grant expansion project is funded by the Civil Monetary Penalty Reinvestment Fund, which pays for training scholarships and art supplies, a total value of $4000. By literally turning malpractice into best-practice, certified facilitators are opening minds to the possibilities of aging, for young and old alike, into Skilled Nursing Facilities and beyond.

What we couldn’t predict is the number of non-grantees who would also join the OMA movement these last two years. We have trained 30 additional individuals who are implementing OMA in their own long-term care settings – in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida. Facilitator Training is for anyone. Find out more at

Thanks to the exceptional host sites who have welcomed OMA practicums with open arms, whose partnership has made OMA possible for dozens of communities in their regions. We couldn't do this without you.

Carrington Place - Wytheville
Covenant Woods - Mechanicsville
Lake Prince Woods - Suffolk
Our Lady of Peace - Charlottesville
Our Lady of Perpetual Help - Virginia Beach
Our Lady of the Valley - Roanoke
St. Mary’s Woods - Richmond
Vinson Hall Retirement Community - McLean
WindsorMeade - Williamsburg

“We were honored to be a part of this training and program. I know our residents really enjoyed taking part in this experience! Many have remarked about the artwork on display and how beautiful and unique it was.”
–Lori Kaisand, Administrator
WindsorMeade Williamsburg - LeadingAge Virginia Member

We look forward to being in Richmond and Wytheville in 2023, and are eager to meet our 2024 hosts in Northern Virginia and Tidewater!

Here's to the 56 long-term care communities to adopt OMA in the next year and help us reach over 5,000 older adults with the gift of creativity, autonomy, and friendship.