Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday Watercolor Memories - Artists of the Year Awarded!

We had a wonderful morning painting with a guest demonstrator this week!  Great Santa's painted!    AND two resident artist's in my class have been honored with the Artist of the Year award from the Alzheimer's Association!  So we had a fabulous time at the Association's Open House last evening! 

Great food, great art from artist's throughout the program framed and ready for sale, lots of awareness information, & lots of wonderful people to meet!

Please see my new Blog page called "Thursday Watercolor Memories".  It is a page dedicated to Creative Arts and working with those afflicted with Dementia diseases.

Though some of the info may look familiar I have included below a description of the Memories in the Making Program I am involved with and love, as well as its history.  I hope you find it useful!    Thank you all!  deborah

Memories in the Making®, Alzheimer’s Association
A fine arts program for people with dementia

Memories in the Making (MIM) was introduced in 1988 and is a signature art program of the Alzheimer’s Association Orange County Chapter. It is a unique program allowing persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia to express themselves through art.
MIM can benefit each participant in the following ways:
     • improves self-esteem
     • serves as an outlet for emotions
     • increases attention span and focus
     • activates neurons
     • reduces isolation and provides opportunity to socialize
     • taps in pockets of memories that still exist
     • reconnects families

Dementias and the loss of language does not mean the desire to express oneself is less. One does not cease to exist just because one can no longer remember the past few decades of his life.
Through the creative process of painting, these individuals speak to us, offering us the essence of themselves. In viewing the art, the families, caregivers and public are often very touched by the tangible evidence of what remains of the individual even after the disease has robbed them of so much.

History of the Program
Memories in the Making® Art Program was established in 1988 by art enthusiast, Selly Jenny, and art teacher, Marilyn Oropeza.  When Selly’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease Selly became disheartened by the lack of meaningful activities for those who suffered from memory loss.  A painter, Jenny thought of art.  Perhaps Alzheimer’s patients could say something to loved ones if their tools were paint and paper, rather than that highly structured and organized thing called speech.  Jenny’s hunch about art and Alzheimer’s was more than right.  Even Alzheimer’s patients deep into the disease and already living in care facilities filled their canvases with bright colors, fuzzy but pleasant scenes of long forgotten vacations, honeymoons, and childhoods.  In addition, Jenny and Marilyn identified the importance of venerating the artist, by celebrating the artwork they produced at art shows.  Since its establishment, the program has shown tremendous growth as the facilitators involved with the program continuously strive to create a warm environment for individuals who suffer from memory loss.

 “The therapeutic value of art has led me to search for a practical application.  Specifically it is my interest to apply the creative process with individuals experiencing minimal communication abilities, often as the result of illness.  It is my observation that individuals who are given a way of expressing their feelings experience lessen anxiety and have a greater peace of mind.”  LaDoris Heinly, MSW

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