Art of the Matter

Dear Hayley,

Now here’s a little pick-me-or-us up: My father, albeit reluctantly, tried out the painting session at Juniper today. My stepmother had to coax him a bit, but once he was underway with the paint, he enjoyed himself thoroughly. He chose a photograph of a mountain and went to work recreating it. In the end, he was very pleased with the experience and picture. Eventually they will all be part of an art show, and if any are sold, the money will go to Alzheimer’s research. How cool is that? I can’t wait to see what he made!  (This picture is an older one from Juniper’s website. The woman’s name is Rose.)

Here’s how Juniper explains the process and its value: “Art Without Boundaries, a quarterly program through which residents work one-on-one with an artist who has been trained and certified in Mneme Therapy ~ a shortened version of the name Mnemosyne, the Greek Goddess of memory. The Mneme Therapist utilizes unique combinations of pleasurable experiences such painting and storytelling to provide our residents with a rewarding experience. The therapist displays a photographic catalog of paintings, one of which the resident chooses to paint. The underlying motivation for the resident’s choice is the basis for what amounts to be a reminiscence exercise. Thus, creative expression (painting) and reminiscing (storytelling) are combined to create an exceptionally rewarding ~ and masterful ~ experience.”

Clearly, Alzheimer’s doesn’t take away the desire to participate in the world nor the appreciation for art. It just takes another form. After all, painting takes a 3D image and transforms it to 2D. The act itself is memory shifting.



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