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NDCA Art for Life Program - “Tree of Life: Traditional Paper Cutting, Nostalgia, and Life Review”

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Published on Aug 9, 2017

The creation of a colorful seven-foot tall Polish wycinanki, papercutting, representing the “Tree of Life” is used as a vehicle to engage elders in Nostalgia and Life Review, two powerful social-therapeutic modalities. Through a series of interactions, traditional artists and elder care facility staff lead elders in discussions and reminiscences of important parts of their lives, from the roots of their family tree to marriage to having children to the end of life and what comes after. Each discussion is facilitated by the creation of a papercutting representing various stages of life, whether doves for love and marriage or apples for the birth of children. With each discussion, new, colorful designs are added to the tree resulting in its eventual blossoming. Nostalgia and Life Review aid in the celebration of one’s life, in coming to terms with life’s challenges, and guides one’s footing on a surer path for the future.

As part of the North Dakota Council on the Arts’ Art for Life Program, this project was conducted in partnership with the Jamestown Fine Arts Association and Ave Maria Village/Heritage Centre in Jamestown, ND.

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