Your ARTZ Philly Community
ARTZ Philadelphia : Volunteers
Join the ARTZ Philadelphia Volunteers if you have a love for personal interactions with others and value your commitment to give back to your community. Our volunteers are a passionate and fun-loving lot who help us with everything from running our programs, getting our message out, and helping us organize special events. If you would like to find out more about joining the ARTZ Philadelphia Volunteers, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Beck was ARTZ Philadelphia’s first volunteer. A recent alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Erin majored in Visual Studies with a concentration in the Science and Philosophy of Vision and minors in Art History and Chemistry. During her senior year, she studied the stylistic changes of a trained artist diagnosed with early onset semantic dementia as her disease progressed. The experience embodied Erin’s passion for interdisciplinary clinical research and introduced her to producing and viewing artwork as a nonpharmacological approach to dementia treatment.Erin writes that after reading ARTZ co-founder John Zeisel’s book I’m Still Here, “my desire to become involved with ARTZ was undeniable. The empathetic and compassionate approach to dealing with Alzheimer’s, especially using art as a means of emphasizing capabilities rather than disabilities, has largely inspired the ambitions of my own career of advocacy for this topic.” Erin is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.
Sue Brown received her BFA from Tyler School of Art and continued her studies at the Philadelphia College of Art (University of the Arts), majoring in fibers. For thirty years she worked as a fabric designer. In 2001, Sue began a new career of art instruction for seniors living with dementia that included teaching fine arts, crafts and quilting. In 2006, she began volunteering for “ Memories in the Making” (MIM) a watercolor program sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. She won the 2010 ”Volunteer of the Year” award for the Southeast PA section of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Delaware Valley chapter.Recently, Sue has begun to design art programs for communities caring for people with memory loss. Sue writes, “I am volunteering for ARTZ Philadelphia as I feel both of our programs have a similar approach to people who are usually invisible to society. Personalities can change when people discuss or participate in art-making. Depression and loneliness can melt away. I’m excited by Susan’s goals for ARTZ Philadelphia. Her creation of a collective of talented, motivated artists will make a remarkable difference for people living with dementia and for their caregivers as well.”
Debby Davis was born into a family of social workers. All of her work has been in the public or non-profit sector. In 1996, she began working in nursing homes and found it to be rewarding work. While at her second public nursing home, she learned of the I’m Still Here Foundation and ARTZ.Debby writes, “I met Susan Shifrin at the local college art museum and began the most positive, life-affirming experience of my career. Interacting with the nursing home residents at the museum and in focus groups with them before the museum trips was a joyful experience that enhanced my relationships with the residents and their caregivers. The residents’ full-spectrum of humanity became evident in the course of the ARTZ programs.”
Debby’s mother lived with dementia for 17 years, the last 10 years in a nursing home. She recounts that her mother was more “like herself” when music was involved or when the focus was on the beauty of the environment.