Volunteer Betty Wolf combines her passion for art and counselling as lead artist at ACH Group’s ‘Continue the Flow’ Community Art Group at Murray Bridge.
Betty is a much-loved contributor to the weekly program, which offers art workshops for older people living with memory loss.
She was born in Holland and has lived in many parts of the world including Scotland, her last port of call before moving to Australia with her husband and three children in 2001.
With a background in social sciences and education, Betty spent much of her career working with cancer patients as a counsellor.
“I discovered that creative activities can help put minds at rest, and that instilled in me a desire to use my creativity for therapeutic reasons,” she says.
On her arrival in Australia Betty studied a diploma of visual arts, specialising in tapestry weaving, and became an active member of the local arts community.
She helped establish the Continue the Flow Community Art Group five years ago following the successful ‘In the Flow’ street banner project in Muarry Bridge.
She loves seeing the benefits that art can bring, particularly to people living with dementia.
“I love working with people to bring out their creativity and to see them learning new skills, interacting socially and relaxing is very rewarding,” Betty says. “It brings people together to engage with one another and it’s stimulating for the mind, as well.
“The upbeat atmosphere shows the value of being together, sharing stories, being creative and having fun.”
Each week Betty consults with the group before choosing a theme that is meaningful and tries to draw on long term memories that many people find are still accessible.
“Some people say to me ‘I haven’t thought about this for a long time’,” she says. “There’s so much joy in remembering old songs and things people can share together.”
“The process of making art is just as important as the finished product. It gives people a real feeling of achievement.”
The group works with a variety of art techniques including painting, drawing, clay work, collage, weaving and mixed media.
Their work on the theme of ‘Love’ will be exhibited as part of this year’s South Australian Living Artists (SALA) festival in August.
To join the weekly Thursday program or for more information please contact ACH Group on 1300 224 477