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Conversations in Portrait

Age Friendly Ireland

Roscommon County Council Logo

Programme: Roscommon

WHO Theme: Community Support And Health Services

Health & Wellbeing Theme: Switching Off And Being Creative

Funding Stream: Healthy Ireland Fund

Resources Required: Financial, Paid Staff, Premises

Cost: 5000-10000


Virtual portraits of Older Adults were commissioned in January 2021. This project saw a local artist spending time and building relationships with older adults through a virtual media platform while painting their portrait at the same time. Roscommon County Council engaged with eight people this Spring for a successful Conversations in Portrait Project. A call went out for people, over age 70 in a nursing home or cocooning at home, missing their cultural activities and interested in making new connections at this time. Over three zoom sessions, artist Andy Parsons painted their portrait, while talking and getting to know each person and how they have responded to the last few months of Covid. The art was delivered to the sitters where it hangs proudly in their homes until restrictions lift for their wider family, friends and staff to view their virtual portraits. Organised by Roscommon County Council Arts Office. Part of the KEEP WELL campaign delivered by Roscommon County Council and Healthy Ireland, an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and the Sláintecare fund delivered by Pobal.

Aim of Initiative

Who is it aimed at

Older People

Steps critical to success

  1. Artist with experience of working with older people
  2. Engagement with nursing homes and family members
  3. Technology – zoom!

Challenges in Planning / Delivery

  1. Communicating the nature and value of the project in the call out for participants
  2. Technology – broadband – support of staff / family / friends
  3. Artist must be a good communicator

Outcomes / Benefits

  1. A beautiful portrait delivered to the sitter
  2. Very pleasant conversations between artist and participant
  3. Building trust and understanding in a short timeframe