A New Book of Reflections Highlights Bringing Art to Life

A new book by Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN highlights Bringing Art to Life to celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary.

Bringing Art to Life (BATL) is a service-learning program developed in memory of Lester E. Potts, Jr. Its primary purpose is to honor and validate persons living with dementia and other cognitive disorders through art therapy, other expressive arts, and storytelling. Additional goals include facilitating the development of intergenerational, multicultural relationships; growing empathy, compassion, knowledge, and self-awareness in students via transformational educational paradigms; lessening stigma; providing respite for care partners; and laying a foundation for the ongoing engagement and enrichment of students, persons living with dementia, and their care partners in the broader community.

The book, Bringing Art to Life: Reflections on Dementia and the Transforming Power of Art and Relationships, published by Resource Publications (an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers) highlights the story of Alzheimer’s artist, Lester Potts, as the inspiration for developing BATL. It describes the program, including original research showing the program’s effects on growing empathy and reducing dementia-related stigma. The book also discusses the spiritual side of care partnership, including the development of mindfulness, relationships, and self-awareness in creating a culture of compassion. Reflections and poetry about participants in the program are shared, as well. Finally, the author describes his own spiritual transformation and growth as a result of the relationships formed in the program.

Praising the book, Terrence Cascino, MD, past president of the American Academy of Neurology, “applauds Dr. Potts’s extraordinary commitment and dedication to caregivers, students, family, and patients afflicted with dementia. Even as a senior neurologist, I found this book changed my perception of the capabilities of people with dementia. This is a great read for anyone caring for individuals with these disorders.”

Vicki de Klerk-Rubin, executive director of the Validation Training Institute and daughter of Naomi Feil, adds that “Bringing Art to Life is a book of passion; a description not only of magnificent dementia care but also of a man’s journey to finding greater compassion, spirituality, and a deep understanding of what Naomi Feil calls ‘the wisdom of the disoriented old-old.’ … There is much to learn, appreciate, and be inspired by in this book.”

Author, Daniel Potts, adds: “It was a pleasure to get this book together. There has been so much rich content in the program, and I feel honored to share some reflections about the wonderful people with whom we’ve become friends and experiences we’ve had together. I felt an obligation to write, as I am the only one who has been present at every art therapy session offered in our Tuscaloosa iteration of the program for the past decade. I hope these stories will be inspiring to others.”

The book is available in paperback, hard cover, and kindle at the following link: