My mother Jean painted pictures from 2008 till she died in 2015 at the age of 96. She seemed particularly inspired by squash and these are three of my favorites – an orange gourd in 2008 (I named this the orange meanie as the face looks just like a blue meanie from Yellow Submarine), a zucchini dragon in 2010 and a goose neck squash with big orange feet in 2012.
In the process she opened my heart and my mind to the realization that she was still here, living with such mischievous wit and invention that it changed my life and spawned a movement, first the art exhibit, The Artist Within. That exhibit is now at Harborview Medical Center and soon to be at the Washington State Convention Center on April 15 for an Alzheimer’s Association conference and then to the NW Folklife Festival on Memorial Day weekend. And if all goes well, to Yakima, Honolulu, St. Louis, New York and then, then who knows? China?
Grant applications are in process to expand access to these creative arts experiences – too often available in only the wealthiest and least diverse communities. And the coolest idea of all – multi-generational improv workshops. Imagine grandparents and grandchildren playing together!
And Love, Loss and Laughter, a photography exhibition by Cathy Greenblat, sociologist and Professor Emerita of Rutgers University – with a cross-cultural look at dementia care in 7 countries – US, Canada, France, India, Japan, Monaco and the Dominican Republic.
What is this all adding up to? What is the overall context? To make dementia care that treats the whole person in a positive environment a national priority.