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

OMA is expertly designed and resourced to be replicated by anyone seeking to bring its life-changing impacts to a senior care facility in their own community. Certified OMA facilitators receive in-depth training on neurocognitive disorders and abstract art processes, along with administrative and fundraising guidance specific to OMA implementation. The easy but thorough course with its materials was developed by Dr. Lokon, who combined her undergraduate education in fine arts with her graduate studies in education and gerontology.

In Richmond, VA, Art for the Journey offers a convenient place to attend the in-person practicum. Also, Art for the Journey partners with Dr. Elizabeth Lokon to mentor trainees over the 15 hour online course prior to the OMA Facilitator practicum.

*In partnership with VCU student volunteers, Dr. Dianne Simons, Faculty Emeriti, and the OT department, OMA continues to engage and inspire the next generation to embrace elders living in AL or nursing homes and engage directly, and learn that they too receive well-being through OMA!

***Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Art for the Journey developed capacity for the 100% virtual certification course also in partnership with the Founder, Dr. Lokon. This virtual certification requires trainees to participate in a three part training which provides the online course, all the materials, notebooks, thumb drives, and supplies, several live meetings by zoom with observation and debrief designed to fully prepare certified Facilitators to implement the OMA program as soon as they receive certification. Activities directors who take the OMA Facilitator training receive continuing education hours.

Art for the Journey is the only site on the East Coast certified to conduct facilitator training. The dynamic hybrid training covers the same contents as the full in-person training by the Scripps Gerontology Center in Ohio. About two-thirds of the material, or 12-15 hours, is online and self-paced, and culminates with a two-day practicum. Both the online course and the in-person practicum must be completed to receive OMA Facilitator certification. To date, Art for the Journey has certified 101 individuals across the United States and Canada, many of whom have implemented the program and impacting many more individuals living with dementia.

OMA is affecting lives and Art for the Journey is excited to help to expand the award winning program in partnership with Founder Dr. Elizabeth Lokon and the Scripps Gerontology Center - Miami University, Ohio.

IMPORTANT NEWS! Through a long time partnership with Leading Age Virginia, Art for the Journey has been designated to facilitate a State Wide expansion of the OMA program to 102 nursing homes over the course of three years. Nursing Homes across Virginia can apply to receive two full scholarships for the OMA certification training and, when completed, will receive $2,000 to purchase all the start up art supplies necessary to implement the program at their nursing home location. To apply for this grant funding, go to:

View informational slides
Click Here to apply

Once your nursing home team has been accepted, we will notify you to register, and indicate you are a part of the CMP funding scholarship.

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COVID RESPONSE: During the pandemic, the online course occurred in March 2020, and AFJ conducted one in-person hands on practicum with the help and partnership of the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen. Some participants who completed the online portion continue to be a part of a virtual stewardship to complete their certification.

Both in-person plans for the OMA Facilitator practicum and a FULLY on-line OMA Facilitator course are being made for 2022.

Upcoming Online training: October 11 - November 5, 2021
In-person Practicum: November 11-12, 2021 in Richmond, VA

REGISTRATION LINK: Click Here to register

Cost: $750/person
State-wide Nursing home CMP Fund scholarships available, see application link.
CEUs: Available from NCCAP, NCCDP

Contact: Stephanie Shanks at

Practicum Locations:
1. Ginter Park Presbyterian Church

Lodging: We recommend and provide transportation to and from the Hyatt West Short Pump. Please call the Hyatt Richmond West directly at 804-360-7021. The Hyatt Hotel is located at 11800 West Broad Street, Henrico, VA 23233. Other hotels in the Short Pump area offer a wide range of prices and amenities.


Part I: 13-15 hour online university - Scripps OMA Facilitator Certification course - certification trainee is mentored by Art for the Journey.

Part II: Virtual practicum Information session for practicum with Art for the Journey to prepare for Part III, and OMA Art project sampling.
3.1 - One 45 minute info session
Two 1.5 hour Art making sessions – by Zoom (*supplies mailed to trainees)

Part III: Virtual observation by Art for the Journey.

3.2 - Three 1-hour sessions
Day One - One hour Info session for Observation of trainee conducting an OMA session.
Day Two - Zoom Observation of session with trainee and AFJ mentors.
*Requires trainee to train volunteer/s for OMA session prior to the Zoom observation (with materials sent by mail including notebook, dvd, and thumb-drives for volunteer training).

3.3 – Day Three set for debrief of observation session with to achieve OMA Facilitator certification.

Either choice, (online course with in-person practicum, or fully online course and practicum) in achieving OMA Facilitator certification fully prepares individuals to conduct this award-winning, evidenced-based program in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The positive impact and the data are so compelling. Preparing to deliver OMA is a wonderful way to ensure this most impactful program is made available to elders. The design and high standards help to consistently achieve the positive results of the program. The in-depth training and resources that are provided are the reason that the OMA program is well deserved of the LeadingAge "Best Practice" award and the many other awards OMA has received to date.

OMA was founded by Dr. Elizabeth “Like” Lokon in 2007 and is grounded in person-centered care principles. It is headquartered at Scripps Gerontology Center, an Ohio Center of Excellence at Miami University. 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 Assisted Living or Nursing Home staff as well. Amazing.

For more information about Training and Certification, visit: