Displaying Artwork


Displaying Artwork – How to effectively display artwork created by the residents or participants around your care home or venue…

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas

From calming pastel paintings to vibrant acrylics residents create amazing artwork at Creative Minds sessions. But then what? The last thing anyone wants is for that wonderful expression of creativity to end up neglected in a corner.

Research shows that experiencing art decreases stress levels: visibility leads to value!

Both creating and subsequently displaying artwork offers many benefits:

  • Residents’ sense of pride at seeing their work on display
  • Raises residents’ self-esteem
  • Shows family and friends what activities residents have been doing
  • Can impress visitors to the home
  • Provides a positive talking point
  • Can provide a memory jog for the residents, back to the point of creating when there was a sense of relaxation, joyfulness and fun.

How to Display Artwork

There are plenty of options for displaying artwork. It helps to ensure its cohesive (e.g. similar pieces together). Do set a time-frame too – you don’t have to display everything at once – freshening up the space by regularly changing the artwork gives a new perspective and improved sensory experience.

Framing Artwork

displaying artwork

Framing a piece of artwork totally elevates its status. Cheap frames are readily available, either from charity or discount shops (such as The Range or Ikea).

I have been working with one lady, in her 90s, who’s been telling me: “I can’t draw Sarah Jane, you do it for me.” Recently, she created a beautiful watercolour flower painting. I suggested we frame it – to say she was pleased with the result is an understatement! She’s since created a lovely oil pastel painting of a pheasant – again, the frame made it sing and she is absolutely thrilled with it. From someone who insisted they couldn’t draw (and believed it for over 90 years) to someone whose self-esteem has improved dramatically – achieved by just framing the work!

Wall Displays

displaying artwork

displaying artwork

The simplest way is to put the work up with blu-tak. Creating a paper or cardboard mount will also frame the work nicely. You could create a project, such as a garden theme, to cheer up a bare wall.

Display on Shelves or Cabinets

displaying artwork

Sometimes space is at a premium so a row of pictures on a shelf can really brighten up a room. Also, using display cabinets, particularly for models, is an effective method. Small display easels  are a fun idea for smaller pictures too and can easily be moved around.

Pinboards or Mobile Wall Displays

displaying artwork

displaying artwork

A large pinboard or mobile wall allows you to display work simply and can be refreshed regularly.

Portfolio case

Presenting some work in an A3 portfolio case is also a good option, especially by the entrance to show visitors on arrival.

Useable artwork

displaying artwork

Items such as clay pots and coasters are a lovely way to create art that can also be used in the care home environment.

Other artwork

displaying artwork

Other creations, such as fun mobiles, can be shown off using fishing line and hung up, and suncatchers look beautiful on a window.

Ideally, a combination of the above can really help make a home a vibrant, fun, stimulating environment. One fantastic example is the ‘Appleby Tate’. Appleby House Care Home in Epsom, Surrey held an open day where the Mayor and Mayoress of Epson and Ewell officially opened the ‘Appleby Tate’ gallery.

The ‘Appleby Tate’ is a stunning gallery space within the care home, which is used to display all the fantastic artwork created by the residents in the Art Sessions. The Appleby Tate gallery provides a therapeutic space within the care home where the residents can relax, admire and meet with their relatives and visitors. It also provides a talking point for residents, encourages a social atmosphere, creates a lovely environment for the residents to live and seeing their artwork on display gives them a real sense of achievement and, we believe, empowerment.

displaying artwork

displaying artwork

One last thing to remember…“It’s not our art, but our heart that’s on display.” ~ Gary Holland

Thanks for reading!

Blog post by Sarah Jane, CM Artist.