Six-week series of creative workshops with Kansas artist, Matthew Dehaemers. In a three-part multimedia project, caregivers and their family members with dementia worked with the artist to preserve important moments in their lives.
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Founded in 1979 by a small volunteer group of artists and arts patrons, the DCCA made its focus the promotion of growth and understanding of the contemporary arts in Delaware. It started in a former sheet-metal fabricating factory and moved several times, finally finding a permanent home in 2000. This location offered a 35,000-square-foot building and, once remodeled, opened with seven galleries, 26 on-site artist studios, an auditorium, a museum shop, a classroom and administrative office space. By this time a staff was in place and both community outreach and curatorial programming expanded exponentially.
How does it work?
Partnering with the Alzheimer's Association of Delaware Valley, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA) offered caregivers and their family members with Alzheimer's disease/dementia an opportunity to participate in a six-week series of workshops to created reliquary-like sculptures, an oral history video, and a symbolic Alzheimer's labyrinth. At the project's conclusion, the multimedia project was exhibited at the DCCA. Caregivers, their family members with dementia, other family members, and friends attended a reception honoring project participants and the works they created. The labyrinth was shown at the Memory Walk in Delaware. The sculptures and copies of the video are now the possessions of the families who made them.
Why is it successful?
The artist's evaluation of the program states "Often these projects evolve and take on a potentially different life. In the case of this project, everything went according to the residency plan. At first there was a lot of uncertainty, fear, and confusion, a sense of being overwhelmed. By the end, we became a family; the participants took pride and ownership of their work. We developed a strong bond and enjoyed the time we shared together. One participant remarked that from here forward when she looks at the piece [labyrinth] it will give her a smile because she will think of the time we all spent together."
For more information: www.thedcca.org