Beyond teaching art techniques and supplying craft materials, we offer safe creative space for individuals to learn and express themselves.

Apply here for a Scholarship!

OMA is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program designed for older adults with -and without- dementia. Its failure-free design empowers individuals to make autonomous, creative choices within a supportive relationship.

The OMA program is now reaching lives nationally and internationally, and is designed to be easily replicated by anyone seeking to bring it to a long-term care community, rehab center, adult day program, hospice, or home setting. The brilliant design of the program ensures that positive results are consistent, attainable, and meaningful wherever OMA is conducted.

Anyone can become a certified OMA Facilitator.

Art for the Journey offers a dynamic hybrid training course in tandem with Scripps OMA. The content covers:
- Strengths-based, person-centered dementia training
- Facilitating the creative process
- Abstract art principles for activities
- Volunteer recruitment and training
- Full implementation resources
- Enriching hands-on experience

Facilitator Training is worth 19 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) approved through NCCAP and NCCDP.

Keep scrolling for more information about the training structure and dates.

The Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Program is funding an expansion of OMA to 102 nursing homes across Virginia. In collaboration with LeadingAge Virginia, Art for the Journey is providing hybrid trainings around the state to certify activities personnel at no cost. Funding covers two scholarships plus $2000 in OMA designated art supplies.

Funding ends June 2024 or until exhausted.

- Virginia Skilled Nursing Facility
- Medicare/Medicaid Certified

The Process
1) Submit brief application online (through link above)
2) Receive approval via email
3) Register two staff for hybrid training
4) Complete training and receive check
5) Complete survey with program data quarterly through the end of the grant period

Interested in hosting a training to receive two additional scholarships? Complete this form to begin the conversation!

Host a Training Practicum


To date, Art for the Journey has certified over 200 individuals across the United States and Canada. We are the only site on the East Coast certified to conduct facilitator training. The OMA Lead Trainer is Dianne Simons Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA.

Course Components:
- Orientation session
- Asynchronous online content (total 5-6 hrs)
- Three weekly lunch hour instructional sessions (total 3 hrs)
- Three weekly small group meetings determined by group (total 1-2 hrs)
- Hands-on 1.5 day practicum (total 13 hours)
- Resource session

Course Resources:
- Binder with 20 art projects, training handouts, templates, forms and more
- USB drive with additional resources and links
- Lifelong access to facilitator resources on, including library of art projects
- Publicized listing as a certified OMA site
- Optional: 19 Continuing Education Units through NCCDP (dementia professionals) and NCCAP (activities professionals)

Regular Registration Cost: $1000/person

Upcoming Hybrid Facilitator Trainings:

Cohort 14
Online Training | Jan 17 - Feb 7, 2024
Practicum | February 20-21 in Manassas, VA

Cohort 15
Online Training | March 13 - April 7
Practicum location OPTIONS | Richmond April 10-11 -or- Chesapeake April 17-18

Cohort 16
Online Training | May 1 - May 22
Practicum | Richmond May 29-30

Additional trainings to be scheduled for based on demand.

Birmingham Green - Manassas, VA
Covenant Woods - Mechanicsville, VA
Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen - Glen Allen, VA
Ginter Park Presbyterian Church - Richmond, VA
Lakewood - Richmond, VA
Our Lady of Peace - Charlottesville, VA
Our Lady of the Valley - Roanoke, VA
Our Lady of Perpetual Help - Virginia Beach, VA
Shalom Gardens - Richmond, VA
St. Mary's Woods - Richmond, VA
Vinson Hall - McLean, VA
Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay - Virginia Beach, VA
WindsorMeade - Williamsburg, VA

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What is OMA?


OMA stands for Opening Minds through Art, but is also the Dutch word for "grandmother."

As a non-pharmacological therapeutic intervention, OMA has demonstrated consistent effectiveness since 2007, proven through published research to stimulate cognitive health in older adults. It also combats ageism by educating young people in the possibilities of aging, often inspiring volunteers to enter the aging field.

OMA meets DSS standards.

OMA is grounded in person-centered care principles. People with dementia (artists) are paired 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. The results of the OMA program are profound, positively affecting individuals living with dementia, the volunteers who are paired each session, the family members of the elders, and the staff as well.

Learn more about Scripps OMA


Q: What is the deadline for the grant application?
A: The application is rolling through April 2024 as long as funding and training space is available.

Q: How long before we know if we’ve been approved for the grant?
A: The applicant will be notified via email within 2 weeks.

Q: If we would like additional facilitators trained, would we be able to pay for them to attend as well?
A: Yes, training is open to all. In registration there are two payment portals, one for grant recipients, one for regular registrants.

Q: How do we determine if our facility will be able to implement and sustain the OMA program?
A. It's almost always possible to implement the program on a small scale. The key indicators for success over time are: certified staff with vision and a committed volunteer stream. See the grant application to get a sense of your facility's readiness.

A. As a grant recipient, how will the funds be distributed to my facility?
Q. The training registration fee will be waived during registration. The funds for supplies will be issued after at least 2 staff members complete the certification course and a Letter of Commitment is signed by the administrator.

A: Can the online course be taken at a different time than the practicum?
Q: If necessary, but it is not recommended due to loss of continuity.

Q: Do pairings need to be consistent each week?
A: Yes, OMA is designed for partners to stay together for the entire session, as one of the overlying goals is to foster the friendship of the partners. However, utilizing substitute partners is normal and expected.

Q: How often do OMA groups meet?
A: OMA sessions meet weekly for about 8 - 10 weeks, including an art show.

Q: Do volunteers receive any type of training prior to being matched with residents?
A: Yes, volunteers must be trained in how to engage with people with dementia and to support the creative process. Facilitators conduct the 3-hour volunteer training themselves. The volunteer training manual and other resources are included as part of the facilitator training packet and are easy to conduct!

Training will address volunteer recruitment strategies, continuing funding ideas, art principles and more!