Reflections and Connections is an Alzheimer’s art access program hosted at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) at the University of Oregon’s campus in collaboration with the Oregon and Southern Washington Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The workshop series is designed for individuals living with early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and their care partners. The free workshop series takes place over six consecutive weeks. Each two-hour workshop includes an hour of conversation in the museum galleries followed by an hour of art making in the museum studios.
In the summer of 2018, Rosemarie designed and implemented the Reflections and Connections Alzheimer’s arts access program at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art under the supervision of Hannah Bastain the Museum’s Educator for Studio Programs and Special Projects. To date the workshop has run in Summer & Fall 2018, Winter, Spring and Fall, 2019, Winter 2020. In spring of 2020 Refections and Connections will transition from the museum setting to an online platform in response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosemarie engages participants in creative conversations through a series of questions designed to inspire reminiscing and imaginative dialogue. She curates the conversation around three to five pieces of artwork in the gallery that have a common theme. Art projects created in the museum’s studio draw inspiration from the artwork viewed in the galleries.
Reflections and Connections was inspired by the groundbreaking Alzheimer’s access program Meet Me at MoMA designed by museum educators at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Rosemarie was also influenced by the programs here:now at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington and artNOW at the Portland Museum of Art in Oregon. Reflections and Connections is rooted in nationwide best practice models for delivering engaging and meaningful workshops for individuals experiencing memory loss and for their care partners.
It is Rosemarie’s dream to continue to develop and implement Alzheimer’s art access programs throughout the nation. With 5.8 million Americans currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and numbers projected to steadily rise, it is her belief that arts and cultural institutions must step up as advocates within their communities by offering programming and support for this growing healthcare population.