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Exhibit to feature nationally acclaimed artists with Alzheimer's

Exhibit to feature nationally acclaimed artists with Alzheimer's alzart2.jpg
SPRINGFIELD Nationally acclaimed artists based in Western Massachusetts will team up with local watercolor artists with Alzheimer's disease for "Memories in the Making," an exhibition and auction of their donated works and a reception, at the Springfield College William Blizard Gallery. The free, public "Meet the Artists" reception will be June 13 from 2 to 4 p.m.; and the exhibition will run June 14 to 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The auction, which will support services for persons affected by Alzheimer's disease, will take place June 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. Award-winning professionals who have donated their works include Josh Simpson, contemporary glass artist; Scott Prior, realist painter; Greg Stone, painter and sculptor; Cynthia Guild, painter; Bruce Ackerson, oil painter; Susan Tilton Pecora, watercolorist; Kris Ludwig, painter; and about 20 other prominent local artists. The juried watercolor paintings by artists with Alzheimer's disease include about 50 pieces created during art therapy. According to Simone Alter-Muri, Ed.D., Springfield College professor of art therapy, "Creating art assists persons with Alzheimer's disease with their process of retaining vignettes from their memories. As they discuss their works with our students of art therapy, they often experience moments of lucidity, recalling experiences and feelings from their earlier life. Working on their art also helps these artists improve gross and fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination." Alter-Muri is also an artist who has donated a work to the exhibition and auction. Participating artists with Alzheimer's disease are members of the Memories in the Making program offered weekly at Wingate of Hampden nursing home; the local assisted living communities of Keystone Commons, Keystone Woods, Melbourne Place at Epoch, and Orchard Valley; and the adult day centers Mercy Adult Health, and Valley Opportunity Council/Chicopee Adult Health. Originally housed at the YMCA of Greater Westfield, the program began in November 2005 to provide an emotionally safe environment for artists with the disease to express their thoughts, emotions and feelings through the medium of watercolor painting. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, communication becomes more limited, and art can help open new channels. The paintings by artists with Alzheimer's disease will are now being featured on www.alz.org/MANH. Auction tickets, which are $25, will be available at the door, and may be reserved in advance by calling the Alzheimer's Association at 787-1113. The association will also accept advance bids by telephone. Auction proceeds will benefit the Caregiver Respite Fund and Family Education/Support Services of the Alzheimer's Association and the Arts and Humanities programs at the YMCA of Greater Westfield. The Alzheimer's Association provides support, education and research into causes, treatments and cures for Alzheimer's. Programs include a 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900, care consultation, support groups and education programs. Offices are located in Springfield, Raynham, Worcester and Watertown, Mass., and Bedford and Lebanon, N.H. The "Memories in the Making" art exhibition, reception and auction is a collaborative program by the Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter; the Tri-County Alzheimer's Partnership; the YMCA of Greater Westfield; and Springfield College. Individuals and businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities may contact Virginia Sinkoski at the Alzheimer's Association.

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