Arts & Minds Celebrates Five Years at the Studio Museum

with Exhibition at Word Up Community Bookshop

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  • Arts & Minds Artwork, Word Up Community Bookshop

    Photo: K.P. Minta

  • Arts & Minds Exhibition Opening at Word Up Community Bookshop

    Photo: K.P. Minta

  • Arts & Minds Teaching Artists with participants

    Photo: Nellie Escalante

  • An Arts & Minds participant sharing his work

    Photo: Nellie Escalante

  • Carolyn Halpin-Healy, Executive Director of Arts & Minds

    Photo: Nellie Escalante

Arts & Minds is celebrating five years at The Studio Museum in Harlem with an exhibition at Word Up Community Bookshop, a non-profit, volunteer-run bookstore and art space in Washington Heights. On Sunday, March 8th, participants, friends and family members gathered for the opening reception.

Every two weeks, people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their caregivers gather at the Studio Museum to discuss the art on view and to respond creatively in the studio. This ongoing experience is the catalyst for the art now on view at Word Up. Co-curated by Executive Director, Carolyn Halpin-Healy and Arts & Minds intern Jessica Kemper, the works in the exhibition range from collage and chalk drawings, to watercolor and acrylic painting.

Organized in such a way that shows the commitment of Arts & Minds to the caregiver as much as to individuals with dementia, some of the works are arranged to show the relationship between the two. Other groupings point to distinct, consistent art styles that have emerged in the work of these artists.

Artwork is not all that is created during these art-making sessions—bonds of friendship and family are also fostered. "When we go to Arts & Minds, it's like being with family," one of the participants shared in remarks at the opening. On the afternoon of the opening, the Arts & Minds family expanded as the participants filed into the art space with their daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. You could see how proud it made them feel to share their work with them. In keeping with the feeling of warmth and pride, Word Up volunteer Sandy Jimenez welcomed the group by quoting James Baldwin, “The world is held together, really it is held together, by the love and the passion of a very few people.”

Making the leap from artist to exhibiting artist is always a transformative experience. Luckily, family members weren’t the only ones in for a treat, as we were all privy to the magic of the afternoon. “Is that really my work on that wall? This is amazing,” commented another participant. The artists’ presence alongside their work added to the excitement as they shared their process and stories. Arts & Minds is about connecting art and wellbeing and this moment was no different. Art, family, and magic merged seamlessly on this sunny afternoon in Washington Heights.

The exhibition continues until April 8 at Word Up Community Bookshop, 2113 Amsterdam Avenue.

Arts & Minds is a non-profit organization committed to improving quality of life for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Providing meaningful art-centered activities to museums, community centers and nursing homes, Arts & Minds strives to create positive cognitive experiences, enhance communication and reduce isolation by engaging with art.

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