PALETTE, which stands for “Promoting Art for Life Enrichment Through Transgenerational Engagement” is a program run in partnership with VisArts and the VCU School of Allied Health Professions’ Department of Gerontology.

Research shows that attitudes towards older adults in healthcare settings are fairly negative and contribute to negative health outcomes. With PALETTE, VCU graduate students get a crash course in gerontology, which helps them better understand issues of aging and the discrimination older adults face. Then they’re paired with active senior volunteers, and the groups get together over five Sundays to make art.

By building meaningful intergenerational relationships, would-be health professionals improve their attitudes toward older adults and aging. At the end of the program, the work these groups produce becomes part of a temporary exhibition at VisArts.