Welcome to ARTZ Philadelphia
Hello, I’m Susan Shifrin, and as the founder and executive director of ARTZ Philadelphia, I’d like to extend a personal welcome to you.
First, a quick note about why our web address and many of our headings on the web site refer to “ARTZ Philly.” Philadelphia natives and long-time locals almost always refer to our hometown as “Philly.” And because our work is rooted in our community, we decided to use that affectionate nickname too.
ARTZ Philadelphia launched in July of 2013 as the first mid-Atlantic affiliate of ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimers, a not-for-profit organization created in the Boston area in 2002 to connect people living with dementia and their families with meaningful, interactive cultural experiences.
I was inspired to start our affiliate after having hosted a series of ARTZ workshops and programs at the Berman Museum at Ursinus College, where I served for a number of years as the Museum’s educator. I was profoundly affected as I watched visitors, many in the later stages of dementia, come to life in the Museum as they looked at and talked about art with each other, with me, their caregivers, and the college students who worked at the Museum.
It was so moving to watch this transformation in people who, in some cases, had rarely spoken about or shared their lives with others. Art was their vehicle for expression, interaction, creativity, and mutual respect. And for laughter – plenty of laughter.
Now, three years since our founding, ARTZ Philadelphia is coming together with people living with dementia and their care partners from the Main Line to Northeast Philadelphia, from Central PA to South Jersey! With the help of devoted volunteers and an ever-growing group of supporters, we have become a vibrant new resource for our region.
It really does take a village, and I want to thank everyone in our ARTZ Philadelphia “village” who has given generously of their time and resources: our volunteers who help to make our programs run; our donors, without whom, truly, none of what we do would be possible; and our partner museums, art centers, and care communities who host our programs. With your help, we will keep striving to bring creativity, community and joy to those living with dementia and to those who love them.
To those of you who are just discovering us, please take the time to explore our web site and learn more about who we are and what we do. We always welcome new friends who want to join us in continuing our work of reaching out to others through the arts.
Finally, we are proud to share with you that ARTZ Philadelphia has recently received approval from the IRS to operate as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations supporting our work are tax-exempt to the fullest extent permitted by law. Our tax ID number is 81-0862996.