memory lounge

I spend Friday afternoon at SMoCA facilitating a workshop for Memory Lounge, an arts program in Scottsdale organized for people living with moderate stages of dementia-related illness and their care partners.

I walk into the studio, happy to see Laura, Curator of Education and Kelly, docent and workshop helper. We greet each other warmly. They’ve both helped me to prepare for today.

Participants, having eaten lunch together, arrive for an afternoon of art. Laura, greets the talkative group as they begin to fill the studio. She makes general introductions.

A visit to one of the current exhibitions is a part of the afternoon plan and soon with Kelly as lead, we head to the gallery.

Everyone takes time to look at the art work. Kelly is a natural as she informs the group about (the extraordinary) Cuban Printmaker, Belkis Ayón.

We return to the studio. I introduce myself and clarify my area of interest in human anatomy. I show examples of what we’ll be making – Milagros, I explain, are like...are small votive offerings, in the form of a body part – yes we’re making body parts! Think charm or amulet.

I feel a hesitation to speak because we’re here to have fun. I don’t want to explain too much.

I explain general idea and intention. Before I know it everyone is drawing and moving at their own personal pace. Some people get right to work (like this gentleman ↓ below, who is also the first one to finish) while others talk through their plan and spend time deciding form and color.

I enjoy seeing one very colorful ↑ ear emerge. As I comment, the participant points to her husband’s ear. He sits next to her ↓ drawing his own hand.

Three hours fly. Everyone will leave the Memory Lounge with a small memento holding  the afternoon we create together.

I wish I had a recorder to hold some of the reaction and response. The laughter I hear along with fragments of comments and sentences are wonderful.

A daughter’s expression (there with her father) –  “Slow deep inhale in and slow exhale out. Just breath.”

I See Heart

The goals of Memory Lounge : Social interaction, living in the moment and engaging in the arts.

#MakingCommunity #MakingMilagros


This project arises from an August afternoon I spend with my mother (who is then having a heart procedure). She is caregiver to my father who lives with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I spent this last summer researching Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
#support #education #cure.