“Bringing Art to Life,” Celebrating Art and Life Story

“Art to Life,” the University of Alabama Honors Course which provides art therapy and reminiscence to persons with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease in the community setting and preserves their life story, had its sememster’s-end celebration on December 8, 2011 at the University Club in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Ten Honors students, Associate Dean Jacqueline Morgan, student facilitator Emily Broman and art therapist Karen Gibbons spoke to a group of about 30, and the students presented their participants’ life stories, either on DVD or story book.  Each participant was given all the art created over the past 6 weeks in art therapy.  “He’s talking more,” said one participant’s wife.  “He is much more engaged than he was before the therapy,” she said.  “Thank you for celebrating the human spirit,” one family member said.  “You all did well, and should be proud of what you have done to raise their quality of life,” said one participant, speaking with the course director.  One participant with moderate Alzheimer’s was inspired to continue craft  activities after his art therapy had ended, and he started making beautiful, brightly-colored bird houses.  He had not shown previous artistic interest.  Another started singing again after her therapies were begun.  Plans are being made to offer this initiative (titled “Bringing Art to Life”) to other institutions in other regions of the United States.

The Art to Life Students at the University of Alabama Honors College, with Course Director and Cognitive Dynamics President Daniel C. Potts, M.D.