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

Apply here for funding to implement OMA at your community!

In collaboration with LeadingAge Virginia, Art for the Journey has been designated to facilitate a state wide grant-funded expansion of the OMA program to 102 nursing homes over the course of three years. CMS certified nursing homes across Virginia can apply to receive two full scholarships for the OMA certification training (valued at $1,500) and $2,000 for start-up art supplies.

Since 2007, Opening Minds through Art (OMA) as a therapeutic intervention has demonstrated consistent effectiveness, proven to combat social isolation and promote cognitive health in older adults.

This innovative, person-centered program is now spreading to impact lives both nationally and internationally. Founder Dr. Elizabeth Lokon, of Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University-OH, designed this best-practice program to be easily replicated by anyone seeking to bring it to their own senior care community.

Learn more about Scripps OMA

Learn more about the Grant Opportunity: Info Session Slides

See below for training information & FAQs

After applying and receiving approval, you may register two staff members for OMA Facilitator Training. Both the online course and the in-person practicum must be completed to receive OMA Facilitator certification. The dynamic hybrid training covers the same contents as the full in-person training by Scripps OMA.

Upcoming Hybrid Facilitator Trainings:

Cohort 6
Online Training | October 4 - 28, 2022
In-Person Practicum | November 10-11 in Charlottesville, VA
Practicum Location | Our Lady of Peace - 751 Hillsdale Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Cohort 7
Online Training | January 10 - February 8, 2023
In-Person Practicum | February 9-10 in Mechanicsville, VA
Practicum Location | Covenant Woods - 7090 Covenant Woods Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Cohort 8
Online Training | March 28 - April 13, 2023
In-Person Practicum | April 4-5 in Roanoke, VA
Practicum Location | Our Lady of the Valley - Roanoke, VA 24016

Cohort 9
Online Training | March 28 - April 27, 2023 (combined with cohort 8)
In-Person Practicum | April 18-19 in Suffolk, VA
Practicum Location | Lake Prince Woods - Suffolk, VA 23434

Cohort 10
Online Training | Tuesday, May 9th - June 28
In-Person Practicum | June 20-21 in Williamsburg, VA
Practicum Location | WindsorMeade - Williamsburg, VA

To date, Art for the Journey has certified 151 individuals across the United States and Canada. We are the only site on the East Coast certified to conduct facilitator training. The OMA trainers include Art for the Journey staff, Dr. Dianne Simons (Occupational Therapist) and Dr. John Countryman (Gerontologist).

Included in the course:
- Asynchronous online content (5-6 hrs)
- Three weekly lunch hour instructional sessions (3 hrs)
- Three weekly small group meetings determined by group (1-2 hrs)
- Engaging 1.5 day practicum (13 hours)
- Online listing as a certified OMA sit
- Binder with 20 art projects, lists of resources for supplies, and more
- Volunteer training manual
- DVD with digital volunteer training resources
- Thumb drive with additional resources and links
- Optional: CEU's in NCCDP (dementia professionals) and NCCAP (activities professionals)

Regular Registration Cost: $750/person through December 31, 2022; $1000/person January 1, 2023

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What is OMA?

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.

Achieving OMA Facilitator certification fully prepares individuals to conduct this award-winning, evidenced-based program in nursing homes or assisted living communities. The thorough design of the program ensures that positive results are consistent, attainable and meaningful wherever OMA is conducted.


Q: What is the deadline for the grant application?
A: The application is rolling through June 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!