Alzheimer’s art on tour in Colorado Springs

A traveling art exhibit composed of watercolor paintings created by artists living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia will be on public display – and for sale – throughout the Colorado Springs area starting this month and through late October.

Every week, participants in the Alzheimer’s Association Memories in the Making® art program gather in supervised settings to create new watercolor paintings at residential care facilities and day programs throughout the region.

A distinguished panel of artists and jurors has selected 79 pieces of art from those sessions to be featured in this year’s Memories in the Making Traveling Art Show, which will be on display at eight regional locations starting with MacKenzie Place, 1605 Elm Creek View, Colorado Springs, from Aug. 21 to 25.

The original art is being offered for sale: 34 framed paintings available for $150 each and 45 other matted (unframed) paintings available for $40 each. Proceeds from the sales will go to the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to support information, programs and services offered at no charge to Colorado families, as well as research to find a cure for the disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

The value of the MIM experience

“Painting every week provides those with memory loss a place to feel a sense of purpose, to socialize with others, and engage in an activity that keeps brain cells firing,” said Betsy Cook, Memories in the Making art consultant for the Pikes Peak region. “Many have never painted before but are able to express thought and emotions when given this opportunity. The artist’s documented comments and memories become powerful tools that reassure family and caregivers that the essence of the individual is still there.”

Following is the Colorado Springs schedule for the MIM art show (during normal business hours):

  • Aug. 21 to 25 – MacKenzie Place
  • Aug. 27 to Sept. 1 – Morningstar at Mountain Shadows, 5355 Centennial Blvd.
  • Sept. 3 to 8 – New Dawn Memory Care, 4185 Briargate Pkwy.
  • Sept. 10 to 15 – Jackson Creek Senior Living, 16601 Jackson Creek Pkwy.
  • Sept. 17 to 22 – Springs Ranch Memory Care, 3315 Emmett View Dr.
  • Sept. 21 – Walk to End Alzheimer’s at America the Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Dr. (limited exhibit)
  • Sept. 24 to 29 – Brookdale Skyline, 2365 Patriot Heights
  • Oct. 1 to 27 – Pikes Peak Library District/East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd.

The origins of Memories in the Making

What began in Colorado in 1994 as a pilot program at five sites, Memories in the Making (MIM) has grown to nearly 100 sites across the state. The MIM art groups meet in assisted-living communities, nursing homes and adult day programs throughout the state. The MIM groups are facilitated by staff and volunteers who are trained by the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Alzheimer’s Association has found that the MIM program provides a number of benefits to those with the disease, including:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • An outlet for emotions
  • Increased attention span and focus
  • Reduced isolation – an opportunity to socialize
  • Tapping into pockets of memory that still exist
  • Reconnecting families

Locations in the Pikes Peak region where the Alzheimer’s Association MIM art program is offered include: Bear Creek Senior Living, Bethesda Gardens (Monument), Brookdale Skyline, Colonial Columns, Daybreak Adult Day Program (Woodland Park), Genesis Pikes Peak Center, Jackson Creek (Monument), MacKenzie Place, Morningstar Bear Creek, Morningstar Mountain Shadows, New Dawn Memory Care, Springs Ranch Memory Care, Retreat at Sunny Vista, Sunrise at University Park and Voyages Adult Day Program. Information about the Memories in the Making program is available here (https://alz.org/co/helping_you/memories-in-the-making).

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