Your ARTZ Philly Community
ARTZ Philadelphia : Community Comments
Many of our ARTZ Philadelphia community members have been kind enough to share the experiences they have had while participating in our programs with us. We are sharing these with you in our ARTZ Philadelphia Community Comments, where you can read about some of these experiences, as described in the words of the person or persons who had the experience.
If you are or have been a part of our ARTZ Philadelphia community and would like to share with us, please get in touch, we would enjoy sharing your experience in our ARTZ Philadelphia Community Comments with others.
We welcome your comments, your suggestions for improvement of our programs, or any other feedback you’d like to give us.
SHARED BY PROGRAM SPONSOR OF ARTZ PHILADELPHIA
– Kevin Jameson, founder and president of Dementia Society of America, November 2014 – “I lead a national organization, Dementia Society of America, and as part of our give-back to the dementia community, we sponsor and fund, to the degree that we can, programs that address those key areas I mentioned. So we, all of us in the Dementia Society of America, have been touched in some form or fashion with effects of dementia on our loved ones, in our friends or families, in my case it was my wife who had dementia.
I felt that Susan was doing good work in the area of enhancing the quality of life for those in the dementia community.
What do I mean by the quality of life…
Well I mean the comfort, the joy, the wonder, the inquisitiveness…all the things that would make up what most people would call the quality of life. It’s really all about enjoyment and safety and feelings about comfort and community.”
SHARED BY PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA AND BY THEIR CARE PARTNERS
– Sara O., October 14, 2015 – “You and ARTZ truly have made such a huge impact on the quality of both of our lives and our relationship. My father and I were not close at all before his dementia, but it was really the ARTZ programs that allowed us to do something together and start a relationship that has me feeling more connected to him than ever and for the first time in my life I love the time we spend together. I know I’ve said it a million times, but I just can’t thank you enough for all that you have done. You bring out the best in both of us and have such a talent for creating an environment where people with the brain changes that come from dementia can flourish so they can share the talents they have developed because of the disease.”
– Sara O., August 10, 2015 – “Funny thing is that I feel like this whole experience has really been my father taking care of me because it has connected me to so many wonderful people (like you) and taught me more than I ever could have imagined. My father may not have the same memory he used to, but he certainly is still filled with an extensive amount of wisdom. I think he has been more of a father to me this past year than in the other 33 years of my life. So I think we both get caretaker designations in our situation.
And I have to tell you that I have shared the fundraising video [for the Indiegogo campaign] with more people than I realized I knew!!! I think I’ve watched it a million times and cried more tears than I knew I had because it is so touching. I passed it on to the members of our Penn Memory support group and mentioned that these are some of the best memories I have with my father – not just since his diagnosis, but from my entire life. The video is a perfect tribute for our time together and how much ARTZ has improved both of our lives. So thank you a million times over for creating such a wonderful way for me to always cherish these memories.”
– Peggy W., July 4, 2015 – “Happy Birthday to ARTZ! The programs bring so much to those with dementia and their caregivers . . . momentary respite, clarity, smiles and laughter. The greater community profits as well, as the participants, staff, and volunteers take those positive feelings into their interactions with others throughout the day. Ah, the ripple effect!”
– Fred W., May 17, 2015 – “There is no question that the opportunity to engage in this excellent program should be made available to as many as possible. Thank you for being there for those of us who are affected by this cruel disease.”
– Sara O., May 2, 2015 – “My weeks are so much better when they include ARTZ activities!”
– Susan J., May 1, 2015 – “To say that this is a wonderful program for my husband is surely an understatement. He comes alive at ARTZ Philly programs in a way I have not seen in a very long time or with any other activity we do. The man you saw on Monday was a fellow transformed by the experience of the [Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts] building itself, the paintings and sculpture within, and the program you created. Not only that, but the positive effects were felt throughout the remainder of the day. He was more buoyant, more positive, and more talkative. He was happy!”
“For me, with a strong art background, the opportunity to sit with one or just a few works of art, looking deeply and in a lingering way, is intensely rewarding. It lifts my often flagging spirits. Whatever the state of mind of the other participants, I find their comments to be interesting, frequently causing me to think differently about the work.”
“The tone you set for the group, welcoming, playful, relaxed, and open, encourages unselfconscious responses from all participants. You create just enough structure and just enough open-endedness for folks to feel safe as well as free.”
“Thank you for the great work you are doing, so far the one and only bright spot in this sad journey we are on.”
– Cindy R., April 20, 2015 – “Managing my mom’s life can be stressful and lonely sometimes. You make it so much easier!”
– Sara O., April 17, 2015 – “I just wanted to say thank you again for a great time yesterday. I cannot tell you how much it helped my dad yesterday in particular. It was one of those days where he was so focused on moving home and getting a bit agitated about it that it was even hard to get him to go – he wanted to stay [in his room] because he was waiting for his realtor to arrive to get him packed and moved. But as usual, after getting there and actually participating (which doesn’t usually happen so unprovoked) he kept talking about what a good time he had in addition to wanting to go back to the Woodmere and the Barnes soon too – and including you as being one of the reasons why. He still kept talking about his moving plans, but at least he included the museums in the monologue. Anyway, I just wanted to say an extra thanks for the program yesterday and for being one of the few people that can actually distract him for more than a few moments from talking about moving!! Most of the time when asked questions or even attending other activities he will still only talk about or answer questions with what he is doing to prepare for moving.”
– Pam E., December 2014 – “The museum presentations are amazing. Such a different way to view art. Observations from the group are often fascinating. I am certain I would enjoy Susan’s presentations no matter what. Sometimes obligations with my business and family don’t allow me to attend but I always try as for me it is a treat.
I would have never guessed it but caregiving for my father has been both one of the hardest things I’ve ever tackled and among the most rewarding. Our interactions with ARTZ Philadelphia have definitely been a reward.”
– Sara O., December 1, 2014 – “My father has been calling me almost every day to see when we are going back – so Team O. is VERY excited. See you tomorrow!”
– Len G., November 17, 2014 – “These are very rewarding experiences.”
– Louisa and Tom M., November 10, 2014 – “Susan, we have enjoyed all your great work. We will be back in June and would like to once again attend your wonderful programs in the June to December period. Thanks so much for your consideration, your time, your effort.”
– Sara O., November 4, 2014 – “I think it’s safe to say you are going to have some new “regulars” for the tours. So sign us up for December 2!”
– Maggy C., November 3, 2014 – “The donation is to express the gratitude I feel towards you and the programs you conduct.“
– Mike A., October 8, 2014 – “Yesterday was great. E. slipped right into the program without any problem. I prepped her a bit on the way in and she was fine with it. She really seemed to enjoy herself (I know I did) and wants to do it again. I will try to build on these outings as I think there are numerous benefits. Thanks again for doing this and including us.”
– Jack W., March 2014 – “I go with my wife to art museums a lot because she loves it. I go along… This is the first time — in my own head — that I’m thinking seriously about what’s going on here, and actually verbalizing it, because I’ve never done that… So, for the little while we’ve seen things today at the museum, I’ve enjoyed it a lot more.”
SHARED BY ARTZ PHILADELPHIA ARTISTS
– Jenn Warpole, artist and ARTZ volunteer, November 2014 – “The focus of expanding the quality of life rather than “fixing” is a perspective I find gentle and empowering, not only for this community but for people in general. As an artist, I am grateful and inspired to see that art has a deep capacity to touch and heal people in such a simple way.”
– James Conley, artist and volunteer, November 2014 – “I’m volunteering as a photographer in support of ARTZ for two primary reasons:
First, because I believe deeply in the mission that ARTZ Philadelphia is pursuing. My interest in photography is based upon how images not only help us to participate in moments and recall memories, but also how art in general helps train the mind to more deeply and richly see. My wife Ramesh and I have long written on the interaction of memory and art, and it was wonderful to discover this program.
Second, my family has a history with Alzheimer’s, and I’m proud to do my part to help raise awareness. I also hope to capture moments that will be positive memories for participants in ARTZ, as well as their caregivers.”
– Trish Maunder, resident artist, family care partner, ARTZ donor, November 7, 2014 –
“I am humbled and warmed by yesterday’s experience and as I said yesterday, ready to work my …. off to help you get this wonderful program to soar!”
“Engaging with the cultural arts with an ‘ARTZ’ model should be an Integral part of aging. ARTZ is Important to support and dedicate time to. ARTZ is Inspiring – to be a part of a group, to hear how people with dementia/ Alzheimer’s respond to the experience of being included in lively dialog, experience and art making is inspiring in so many ways! ARTZ is Innovative – It is a new way forward that should be embraced. ARTZ is Inclusive – it helps people with memory loss AND their care partners/family members integrate back into society and engenders respect and communication. I support ARTZ!”
SHARED BY PROFESSIONAL CAREGIVERS
– Gina Meng, certified recreational therapist, The Evergreens at Holy Redeemer St. Joseph Manor, Novemer 16, 2015 – “I would like to congratulate you on the wonderful ARTZ “The Place Where I Laugh” art exhibit. The experience was wonderful for my residents, staff and family members. The time, passion and effort you put into making the moments better for people living with Dementia are very special. Thank you for all that you do!”
– Scott Reid, licensed art therapist, Penn Memory Center, April 10, 2015 – “As always, thank you for your excellent work in connecting this population with the arts.”
– LaTanya Boney-Moore, Program Coordinator at Abramson Center, November 7, 2014 – “The art work is beautiful!!!!”
– Debby D., social worker and caregiver, November 2014 – “I’ve been a social worker all my life. But I have to say, this experience has been the best. I mean, I do the work regardless, but just celebrating the joy of the human person with Alzheimers, with dementia, with whatever problems exist—there was still joy, there’s still wonder, still connection to other people.”
“There’s so much in social work that is not positive, because people deal with a lot of difficult issues that are not fun for anyone involved. But when you have an opportunity to just move beyond the problem and really look at the whole person, it really is a wonderful experience. For the worker, for the person with dementia, for the family members, and also of course, it educates the public. We are in a public space in a museum and other people are there and it’s like, okay, these people who are technically impaired are no different than anybody else, they should be welcomed, they do need accommodations, certainly, but it is possible, and this becomes the example to prove it.”
“I’m not saying there’s a magic answer to this but if you can improve quality of life, you improve quality of life and by default quality of self.”
“[During one of our visits,] one of the residents who clearly had dementia but had been an art teacher and was interested in the exhibit of a painting of Paris in the rain. She was looking at this painting and Susan led the discussion you know, what do you think this is? And the woman says, ‘I know where that is. I’ve been there. I painted that with my students.’ And she died a couple weeks later; it was like right before she died she had a chance to kind of revel in the memory and the pleasure of being in Paris. It was so amazing, it was just a wonderful experience. We know people with dementia, we know people have terrible things but to attain the quality of life you want for yourself and for people you care about—that’s the hard part. And that was really monumental. One of the lady’s friends was encouraging her to paint again, which clearly was too much for her. But being able to go to an exhibit to talk about her experiences—to hear her, she had very definitive ideas about art and this and that, and to really clearly explain them, I mean there was no question about what she was saying or what her opinion was. And she had such a good time. There was a sparkle in her eye.”
– Molly Sahner, Program Coordinator, WEL Doylestown and ARTZ Philly Board Member – “I highly recommend inviting Susan to bring stimulating and accessible art programs to your communities.”
SHARED BY DONORS TO ARTZ PHILADELPHIA
– Becky H-F., November 2014 – “I am an ardent supporter of ARTZ Philadelphia and have been from its very first days. Susan Shifrin has vision, compassion and is an articulate spokesperson and I know that, under her leadership, ARTZ Philadelphia can thrive, but I also know that it takes additional support to turn vision into reality. And, that is why, even though I don’t live near Philly, I have given financial support to ARTZ Philadelphia.
In my own family I have seen people whose memories faded, so that it has seemed hard to reach them. I wish I had known creative ways to be able to bring them pleasure and to be able to share experiences with them. I’m so happy that programs like ARTZ are making strides towards helping us as a society learn to care for people who are experiencing dementia.”
– Mary Jo P., November 2014 – “I think the work you are doing is so vital to this disease after observing my mother and my brother in law after diagnosis lose the ability to socialize I marvel at this work to keep people engaged in life through such a beautiful medium. I say BRAVA/BRAVO. It is such a simple but meaningful idea. I am constantly sharing your project with friends.”
– Rea Tajiri, filmmaker, November 2014 – “During my experiences of fifteen years of caregiving my mother, we tried many activities and therapies — to get away from a ‘drug’ only approach. I know my mother still had a lot of energy and will to lead a fulfilling life. We discovered the most effective way for us to connect has been through the arts. We’ve found a playful, imaginative, creative way to laugh and enjoy each other. I wanted to share these experiences with others through developing a film project. When I wanted to see if there were protocol or organizations that felt the same way, I stumbled upon ARTZ Philadelphia when doing a web search.
As an artist whose family is engaged with the arts, the work ARTZ does is breaking new ground. We’ve always felt that art has the possibility to ‘cut through’ and across barriers especially when someone is experiencing a cognitive challenge. It is comforting to find someone from another community that recognizes the capabilities, possibilities of engagement in the arts. I don’t feel so alone in this journey.”