Art Expressions Program by the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center

Annual program brings together people living with cognitive decline to create works of art and culminates in a show within their community
Featured Image: The Art Expressions Program is a partnership with area senior communities that culminates each year in a show of the artwork created throughout that period.
Art Expressions Program by the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center

What is the Art Expressions Program and how did it come to be? 

The Art Expressions Program is an annual partnership with senior communities that include those impacted by cognitive decline. We begin in September by inviting recreational therapists to a training to learn about Art Therapy and to show the movie, I Remember Better When I Paint. We often have Berna Huebner join us via Zoom from France to discuss the importance art had on her mother’s life, which was impacted by dementia. This helps to set the foundation of the program with our partner. 

Each month we introduce a theme, and the artists work on it. We provide all of the art supplies. In May, we ask each artist to select one piece that we frame and then showcase in an art show in September. Last year, we had over 120 pieces showcased. We also produce a biography/headshot of the artist, which appears next to their displayed work, and invite everyone to a reception with their families and friends to see their work on display. The show takes place at Islip Arts Gallery, an art gallery on Long Island. 

The program is led by the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center’s (ADRC, based on Long Island) Director of Programs, Education and Training, Carol Hartmann. 

How has the Art Expressions Program been received? 

The response has been extraordinary. Donors love supporting the Arts Expressions Program, the community loves seeing the work, and the families love seeing their loved ones so proud of their work. It’s really awesome. Folks who are interested in participating in the program can contact ADRC because we also offer it onsite at our East Islip location. We can also work with families who are homebound to drop off supplies and connect with the group via Zoom. 

Why does the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center choose to focus on art for this program? 

Art has the power to bring about conversation and creativity in those with cognitive decline. It provides multisensory stimulation that can enhance cognitive function, promote relaxation, and evoke a positive emotional response. 

Tell us a little bit about the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center. 

ADRC has been providing resources and support to Long Island families impacted by cognitive decline since 1983. The mission has always been to provide support and resources to caregivers so they don’t have to navigate the challenges alone. All services and programs are free and folks do not need a diagnosis to contact us.

Find more from the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center on the web and on Facebook.

What is a Spotlight?

The Dementia Arts Spotlight promotes visual and performing artists who are grappling with dementia through original work or innovative arts programs. The Spotlight—in a Q&A format where artists describe the details and significance of their work or program—connects each artist to the Dementia Spring community. Find examples of prior Dementia Arts Spotlights here. Know of an artist whose work should be Spotlighted? Send them this link!

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