Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
~ Albert Einstein
At the end of last year we had the privilege of framing a series of artwork created by Alzheimer’s patients. Here’s Art of Alzheimer's story in the words of their founder, Marilyn Raichle:
The Art of Alzheimer’s shares remarkable art by vibrant people, opening hearts and minds to a different way of thinking about Alzheimer’s and dementia and preparing us all to be better stewards of an aging population.
I was raised in the shadow of Alzheimer’s with nearly everyone on my father’s side and many in mother’s developing the disease. We were taught that when Alzheimer’s arrived, it was like a death—actually worse than death. Our parents warned us, “Don’t sacrifice your lives for us. When our time comes, just walk away.” And we all believed it.
And then Mom began to paint. The paintings were amazing. She had never painted a day in her life yet these paintings were really good, always interesting and sometimes remarkable. And slowly, I began to understand. She may have had a short term memory of about ten seconds, but she was still here—loving, creative and joyful. I began to share the art with others and the reaction was always the same—delight, surprise and gratitude to experience a story about Alzheimer’s with hope and joy—a continual discovery of the value of human life.
The Artist Within, an art exhibition inspired by and dedicated to Marilyn's mother Jean, consists of 51 exhilarating artworks created by people living with dementia—illustrating the simple truth that people living with dementia are still here, able to live with dignity, creativity and joy. When framing the pieces for this show, we also found ourselves drawn to the beauty and depth of the work. There was something simple, straight forward, and joyous about the paintings. But we aren't the only ones who felt that way. The impact of this project extends to researchers, viewers, and the patients themselves. When participants saw their art on display, they said it changed their view of themselves - they were artists. To read more on the Art of Alzheimer's story and impact check out this Seattle Times article.
On May 3 the Seattle Foundation will hold its annual GiveBIG, a one day online charitable giving event raising money for the hardworking nonprofits that make our region a better place to live. And this year The Art of Alzheimer’s is honored to participate.
To donate visit https://givebig.seattlefoundation.org/npo/the-art-of-alzheimers
Together, we can inspire public commitment to accessible dementia care that treats the whole person in an engaged, positive environment.
~ Marilyn Raichle