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Artist in Residence

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Art Keeps Memories Alive in Middleton

The later years of life can bring many challenges but also many joys.  At artisan we are committed to making these precious years fulfilling and enjoyable.   The Artist in Resident Program combines the creating of expressive art with reminiscing.  Expressive art helps residents tell their stories more easily and honors their life history.  Our Artist in Residence Program gives our residents the opportunity to engage at their own level and pace with the gentle guidance of a gifted and sensitive artist who leads them through the artistic process.  Each session is unique and the artwork that is produced is stunning – rich with meaning.  Families cherish these works and expressions of their loved ones personality and soul.  The experience is a gift to all those who participate, especially our Artist in Residence who has the profound privilege to get to know each resident well.

Life Stories

The retelling of important life stories has been not merely a way share family history but is an essential part of our collective future. The sharing of treasured memories keeps them alive and is an important way to preserve wisdom and humor for generations to come. For the person with dementia, art making and reminiscence can provide an opportunity to rekindle memories and free emotion.  A growing body of evidence suggests that the creative process is therapeutic and can profoundly improve a sense of well-being and elevate mood.  Many individuals with dementia face loss of independence and verbal skills.   Through careful choice of media, a skilled art therapist can offer a nonverbal way for older adults to communicate their feelings through a structured art task. 

Creating Art

The journey of Alzheimer’ brings periods of anxiety and confusion. The participation in the multisensory experience of creating art can have a calming effect. The structure and repetition of specific media may enable one to focus their energy into the art and take pride in the final product. Expressive art media can be invigorating—studio sessions might include working with graphite pencils and paper, watercolors, hand painting photographs, clay making, to working with oils pastels. 

Leaving a Legacy

Small group projects, such as a mosaic or a mural, may offer older adults with memory loss a safe place engage with others and make social choices. The ability to draw upon strengths is especially important when choice and control have been lost. An older adult with dementia might appreciate a second pair of hands when those hands belong to a beloved son or daughter. Working together on a therapeutic art project can be a profound experience of discovery for families. Talking about the art they have created allows an older adult with memory loss to reminisce, tell their unique story, and leave a legacy.

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