AIRE Arts Inspire Renew Engagement
CONTACT INFO: firstname.lastname@example.org, ph. 781-424-3807
"Creativity and the imagination are agents of wellness"
Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, UK
To bring art, culture and the transcendent power of beauty into the lives of individuals who are aging and/or living with memory loss. Giving a lift to the spirit, a creative burst to the mind, and a renewed feeling of
health and well being.
"There is an energy in the creative process that belongs in the league of those energies which
can uplift, unify, and harmonize all of us." Corita Kent, artist
Over the past 10 years, I have had the good fortune to work with 3 different women artists living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. They have been inspiring teachers, showing me what is possible through creative engagement and meaningful personal connection.
While at ARTZ (Artists for Alzheimer's, I learned an incredible amount about the efficacy of the visual arts to positively impact quality of life for those with memory loss. and change perception of dementia.
Developing creative engagement programs is my heart's work- museum and interactive film programs, photovoice exhibits, art salons, creative expression workshops, intergenerational exchanges, memory cafes, museum/ art gallery installations, age and dementia friendly communities.
Would you like to work with me to learn more about these creative engagement practices?
I welcome the opportunity to share and develop projects with you- so you can imagine
new possibilities for your program, family, friend, or other loved one affected by aging,
Alzheimer's or other memory loss conditions.
Get in touch ! I can be reached at 781-424-3807 or email@example.com.
I offer consultations, individual and small group art sessions, community education
workshops, museum trainings and program development ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.
ART + WORDS + WORKS
These are spontaneous words from adults who shared in creative engagement experiences-
live, art, joy, souls, warmth, beautiful, conversations, pure, natural, heart, essence, remember, living
This site is a space for their voices to be seen and heard (through words, quotes, artworks
Testimonials to the vitalizing power of art, culture & inclusive community to bring wellness of mind, body, spirit.
My work at the intersection of art, health and memory loss took root ten years ago when I first met and worked with Mrs.S, a woman who had been active as a painter, calligrapher & gardener at an earlier time in her life. Living with a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer's, these distinctive qualities of her character - essential parts of her
personhood - were not being fully expressed.
As Mrs. S opened doors to her creative spirit, the arts became our point
of connection and a pathway for her to access a new way of thinking about herself and connecting with family and friends.
Renewing her long-loved artistry served as an agent of renewal,
self-creation and self discovery. Giving positive meaning- seeing herself as a person first, beyond a dementia label.
As paintings sprang to life-composition, colors and brushstrokes all her own-the world was made anew.
STILL LIFE by Mrs. S
Creating with Mrs. S inspired me to dive deeper into working with adults with memory challenges.
Teaching me many valuable lessons. Here is one:
Meaningful creative engagement, openness to experimentation and a sense of possibility
and mutual discovery, lays the foundation for wellness of body, mind and spirit.
ART + EMPOWERMENT
A significant challenge of aging or living with a memory loss diagnosis is isolation- at home, in nursing home, or memory loss program- with limited access to the stimulation of the outside world.
BELONGING to a creative engagement experience gives a feeling of connection and unity.
Frances W. age 96, living in an area nursing home, shared this after a museum visit:
"I get a good feeling when I enter the door of the museum. Maybe sacred is as
close as you can get. It helps you to access depth."
The invitation to participate reminds older adults they are still part of the fabric of society & have plenty to contribute and give. The wish to celebrate the totality of our lives is always there.
Betty E., age 98, living in an area nursing home:
"Thank you for bringing the outside world to us. Mentally we're in jail. We're lifers....These conversations are the essence of living,
QUALITY OF LIFE
"Art is nourishment." Susan Sontag
Gathering for visual art conversations at museum or program gives people a chance to share an experience-
in the spirit of "we're all in this together." For anyone facing isolation or living with a diagnosis, access to these kind of experiences vastly improves sense of self and quality of life.
ART + BIOGRAPHY
Images speak to us. Unexpected inspirations and associations found in paintings, portraits, or sculptures..
Experiential reactions to artworks spark curiosity, flights of imagination, chords of memory.....
a mirror reflecting back moments in a person's life story.
"The joy of my life. I have always loved art.I t takes me away... to beautiful places." Annie, age 92
Here is Isabel, discovering her own poetic meditation in response to Erma Wheeler's painting Quarried Waters:
" I am part of the granite...I breathe with the water."
In the words of Robert MacFarlane, author of Landmarks, when we connect to local language, customs, or any ancient tradition of coming together: "we give new life to the place-languages within..words released...letting their energies and their poetries run wild."
Power of place... can bring someone to a vivid moment from their lives. Like a coming home to self......
"I'm a fish cutter- fast paced one swipe from the gills down...I liked the pace.. I lived here all my life and have never been to the museum before." Richie
ART + LIVING WITH MEMORY LOSS
Joining in a museum tour can ignite a feeling that life is worth living...
Avis, after a tour of Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem
turned to Ellen Soares, Education Director at PEM, and shared these words:
"I guess I need to postpone dying. There's so much more I need to see."
When we cross the threshold into a painting, pause for reflection, we flow on the lifestream together.
SLOW ART unlocks our individual perception and sense of things..
"Deep within the human heart is a gallery of selves." John O'Donoghue, author
ART + CULTURE
CAM Connections, a specialized tour program at Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester filled a gap in community programs for adults from area nursing homes and day programs. As participants- adults reconnected with cultural heritage, history & place through an ongoing, continuous flow of exchanges.
Not one time entertainment or"activity", but meaningful, sustained and sustaining experiences.
Individuals found their stories, reclaimed a sense of self
Losing themselves in harmonies of landscape paintings........
"We used to play in the haystacks.”
"These kind of paintings were everywhere around here when we were growing up-in the bank,in the hospital...”
"The cove was a nice place to be. There was swimming and parties.”
“Things were this way.,,,That's how it used to be."
Moments from people's lives uncovered in the visual world of Fitz Henry Lane seascape paintings:
“I was near Norman’s Woe, pulling up lobster pots. The clouds broke and then
the sun came through.... It was beautiful.”
"I’ve been there, in that spot. Rocky Bay is part of East Gloucester.”
“I was on Eastern Point, a storm was coming, and I had to sketch fast.”
ART IS FOR EVERYONE
Silence, stilling the mind, centering ourselves through art is healing for all. High school and college students
shared in crossgenerational exchanges. Moved by what they observed and felt when slowing down to really look at paintings and be in conversation with older adults.... A much needed antidote to our fast-paced, increasingly mechanized society. These exchanges put a human face on aging and dementia, dispelling stereotypes, diminishing stigma and building bridges of new understanding.
Here is one art student testimonial after sitting in on a visual art conversation at a nursing home:
"I just met with a group of people who were proclaimed “ill.” Of their own volition and without prompting, they said and shared some of the most pure and natural inspiring things that I have heard in weeks...There were more beautiful brief snippets of wisdom, analysis, and empathy shown than I have experienced in one place in a long time. The most amazing part was that this was not forced or artificial in any way. These were just truly genuine spur of the moment responses from an amazing group of individuals." Katherine R. Montserrat College of Art
ART + COMMUNITY
SLOW LOOKING is mutual growth and learning for museum guides also..
"We had another wonder- filled visit. Conversation was off and running...Our souls were soothed and our minds tuned up in the warmth of camaraderie."
Pippy G, Cape Ann Museum Guide
THANK YOU FOR VISITING THIS SITE!
I welcome any questions and am ready to put my ideas and passion to work for you.
You can find out more on my Workshops Page and the About/Contact Page.
© Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved."Creativity and the imagination are agents of wellness"