It was later in life that Jan first got to truly do what she loves, painting.

“I remember my introduction to art at school,” Jan shares. “It was on the first day. We were given a book with grey pages, a pencil and we were allowed to draw!”

Jan fondly recalls her childhood feeling of being thrilled with her drawings. Unfortunately, that was the last time Jan was allowed to draw, during her time at school. As an older woman she has reconnected with her passion and some years ago commenced art classes.

“Then I got a brain disease. It can stop you from doing things,” says Jan. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. Recently I received an invitation to ‘Meet Me at the Gallery’. I love going to the gallery, I thought I would come along and try it out.”

‘Meet Me at the Gallery’ is a monthly opportunity for people in the early to mid stages of dementia. Golden City Support Services Dementia Support Program and CreateAbility partner with Bendigo Art Gallery and Alzheimer’s Australia Vic provide the sessions at the gallery where artworks from the collection are used to inspire memories and discussions.

Another newcomer to ‘Meet Me at the Gallery’ Bernie, shares, “When you get out and meet other people you feel like you belong to a community.”

Bernie lives out of town and can no longer drive long distances – she has really felt the impact, of this change, on her life. “After I have been at the Bendigo Art Gallery I feel good. It lifts you and gives you a fresh outlook.”

‘Meet Me at the Gallery’ consists of a welcome on arrival, relaxed small group tours of the Gallery by volunteer Gallery Guides, followed by a morning tea in the Gallery Café, and a practical creative workshop led by local artist Vanessa Johnston.

Senior Curator Leanne Fitzgibbon says, “The Gallery is grateful for the expertise of Golden City Support Services and the training provided to staff and volunteers by Alzheimer’s Australia. We believe this program creates an opportunity for individuals to be welcomed, feel valued and safe, and to have an enjoyable social experience.”

To find out more about ‘Meet Me at the Gallery’ and other social programs provided by Golden City Support Services contact Tanya from our Enquiry Team on 5434 2777 or