New York, New York
The Arts & Minds program at the Studio Museum in Harlem reaches an economically disadvantaged and culturally underserved population with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia and their caregiver(s). Recognizing class, education, and geographic barriers to accessing museum arts programs at other institutions, a Harlem based physician and museum educator started Arts & Minds at the Studio Museum in 2010 (200 programs conducted to date) for the Harlem community. The organization has since initiated the first Spanish-language arts museum program in New York City, reaching out to the East Harlem neighborhood. All programs are offered free of charge. Held weekly, participants start each 90-minute session with an introduction to a work of art chosen as the focus of the group’s inquiry for the day. A facilitated session, incorporating both verbal and non-verbal communication, encourages the exchange of observations and emotions. Following the session is a thematically related art-making workshop, using quality material, led by museum educators and volunteer interns. The entire staff at the museum, from security guards to facilitators, is oriented to and participates in making the experience positive for the “the deeply forgetful individual” and their caregiver.