AMA Alzheimer's program brings art to those with memory loss

·3 min read

May 14—ALBANY — "Awaken at the AMA," an Albany Museum of Art program designed for individuals with memory loss, is expanding to reach a wider audience.

The free, monthly program, funded with a grant from the Barbara N. Rubin Foundation of Santa Barbara, Calif., will have its next session at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Albany Museum of Art at 311 Meadowlark Drive. Each session includes an interactive gallery visit and an art-making project for those with memory loss and their caregivers.

"'Awaken at the AMA' is modeled after and in accordance with the Museum of Modern Art's Alzheimer's Project," AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. "We started 'Awaken' in 2021, and initially we visited the Alzheimer's Outreach Center here in Albany. Once the COVID situation improved to the point where we could invite participants from the Alzheimer's Center and their caregivers to visit the museum for the program, we began conducting it at the AMA."

In its first year and a half, the program has been aimed at reaching those with Alzheimer's disease. Vanoteghem said that beginning with the May 19 session, it is being opened to anyone in southwest Georgia who has memory loss and their family or professional caregivers. There is no cost to participate.

"We believe that art should be made accessible to all," AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said. "This program is the first of its kind in our area. It reaches an underserved, vulnerable portion of our community and provides them with cognitive stimulation that enhances their quality of life."

Each session has a theme and the discussion focuses on four to six works of art relevant to the theme.

"As the program progresses, participants connect the artwork to their lives and experiences, and to the world," Vanoteghem said. "This enables the group to gain new insights about the work and each other."

Participants are then led in an art-making session that complements the theme of the visit.

"We work together in a positive, failure-free environment that lifts each artist in their abilities without pressure to create if the desire is not there," Vanoteghem said.

After the May 19 session, the program will pause in June and July. It will return on Aug. 18.

Up to eight participants and eight caregivers may attend each session. To reserve space, contact Vanoteghem at (229) 439-8400 or reserve a spot via the online link at www.albanymuseum.com/awaken-at-the-ama.

AMA EXHIBITIONS

— "Homecoming," which features works from the Albany Museum of Art Permanent Collection, is in all galleries May 12-Aug. 13, 2022.

The Albany Museum of Art is located at 311 Meadowlark Drive adjacent to Albany State University's West Campus just off Gillionville Road. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free.

For more information about the AMA, visit the www.albanymuseum.com website or call (229) 439-8400. Follow the @AlbanyArtMuseum on Twitter, AlbanyMuseum on Instagram, and AlbanyMuseumOfArt on Facebook.