Alzheimer’s Association Art Program Brings Memories to Life

 06/04/2014 | 03:35 PM 

~ By Sara Spaulding, Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado ~

news0614-4What do a bank vice president, Rosie the Riveter and a research physicist have in common? They each painted a watercolor selected for this year’s Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado Memories in the Making® (MIM) Art Auction An Elegant Evening of Art at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center on Friday, June 13, 2014.

More than 90 touching watercolors were selected by a jury of local professional artists from nearly 4,000 pieces of art created by those who participate in Memories in the Making® art programs. “The best part of reviewing the art for the auction is reading the stories that volunteer and staff program facilitators were able to capture as the Alzheimer’s artists painted,” said Lisa Hut local artist and volunteer facilitator. “Each watercolor has a unique story to tell—an adventure the first time away from home, a fulfilling career, the family farm in rural America, the memory of a beloved pet, or a happy time spent with family. Each description is captured at the moment it is shared, because that moment quickly disappears for someone with Alzheimer’s.”

Memories in the Making® (MIM) is a creative art expression program for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Even after people with dementia have lost the ability to use words, they are often able to express thoughts and emotions and to share memories through painting with watercolors. The experience offers an opportunity for the essence of who they are and what they care about to shine through.

Thirty local professional artists donated works of art to be paired with some of the more than 90 framed watercolor paintings created in MIM art programs around the Denver/Boulder metro area. These pairings consist of a professional work of art paired with an Alzheimer’s painting with a similar or related subject. Margareta Caesar, Marin Dobson, Roxanne Rossi, Martin Lambuth, Cheryl St. John, Madeleine O’Connell, Sallie K. Smith and John Fielder are just a few of the artists who have contributed an original piece to complement the Alzheimer’s artwork. The two works will be auctioned together as a pair.

In addition, local professional artists are donating smaller pieces of art created on wooden art palettes. These palettes vary from soft, whimsical nature scenes created with textiles or paper to contemporary bold designs using oil, glass beads, photography or watercolors. The palettes offer the opportunity to start collecting the work of a favorite professional artist at an affordable price.

Proceeds from the silent and live auctions, ticket sales and sponsorship all go to support Alzheimer’s programs and services provided to families at no cost as well as to research in order to develop better treatments and to eventually find a cure.

“We’re honored to be part of this program that helps those with Alzheimer’s engage in an activity that provides socialization, improves self-esteem, and creates a sense of purpose,” said professional artist Pat Carney of Denver who is new to the event. “My mother had Alzheimer’s and I feel strongly about donating my art as a way to give back to the Association that has helped so many in a way that draws more people to support the cause.”

Often the watercolors depict memories often long forgotten or that the person with dementia is no longer able to share in words, words stolen as the disease progresses. A MIM artist recently had this to say about painting in the program “Makes you happy. It made me happy, I was a little blue. It snapped me out of it. Color makes me happy!”

“When Alzheimer’s Association staff calls to let a family know their loved one’s watercolor will be featured in the annual art auction we often hear that the call has brought them a moment of light and joy during what is a very dark and difficult journey,” said Lisa Steffen, Alzheimer’s Association MIM program coordinator.

This year’s “An Elegant Evening of Art” begins at 6 pm with live music, a silent auction, a walk-around feast, and viewing of the silent and live art selections along with a chance to talk with the professional artists who donated their work. There will also be a mini gallery of Memories in the Making watercolor prints matched with a prize valuing $50, $75 and $100. The live auction begins at 7 p.m and is hosted by Kim Christiansen, 9News, and Brush Auctioneers Bryce and Chuck Miller.

Individual tickets are $200, young professionals tickets at $85 (under 30), and sponsor tables are $3,000, $5,000 and $10,000. Purchase by calling 303-813-1669 or going online to

About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter is the premier source of help and hope for the more than 60,000 Coloradoans with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers. Through its statewide network of offices, the Alzheimer’s Association offers education, counseling, support groups and a 24-hour Helpline at no cost to families. In addition, contributions help fund advancements in research to prevent, treat and eventually conquer this disease. As a part of its commitment to advancing support for those living with the disease, the Alzheimer’s Association recruits, trains and mobilizes advocates for Alzheimer’s issues at the state and federal level, and provides training for professional healthcare providers. For information call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900, or visit

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