The Inspiring Alzheimer’s Programs in Arts + Culture




Revolving art on the waiting room wall at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital ~ a waiting room specifically for Alzheimers patients.

If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, there’s a good chance you are familiar with the organizations Caringkind Connect2Culture and Arts + Minds, a few of the non-profit groups partnering with museums and institutions to provide art and art-centered activities that create positive emotional and cognitive experiences for people with dementia, family members and their caregivers.

We loved this collage by Irwin Becker, who has been participating in this art program since 2015. it is entitled ‘Fire Escapes’ and the artists’ comment, “The whole point of art is to make mistakes.”

With so many New Yorkers in frequent contact with friends or family living with this disease, we thought we would take a look at what these non-profits have to offer, and we were surprised to see so many of our favorite NYC institutions participating.

Artist, Linbania Jacobson who is a Caregiver, and participant in this program from 2010-2017. Her watercolor is entitled “Memories of Yosemite”

Glancing at the Arts + Mind calendar for October and November, we identified programs at the New York Historical Society, Studio Museum on 127, Bard Graduate Center, Sugar Hill Museum, Museum of the City of New York, The Schomburg Center Harlem, El Museo del Barrio, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, there are programs at The Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, The Jewish Museum at 92nd Street, and the Community Wellness Center on West 130th Street. Many of the programs are offered in English and Spanish.

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Artist Stephen Kahan has been a participant since 2016. His ink on grey paper piece is ‘Untitled’. When viewing this work, it is interesting to note that Mr. Kahan’s former profession was as a jeweler.

Caringkind’s Connect2Culture has a much broader reach, with a Dance Workshop Series at Ailey Dance for dementia patients and their caregivers, seasonal highlights memory tours at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, ‘Dance Like Nobody’s Watching’ at Brooklyn Public Library, ‘Stories Within’ at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, performances-based programs at Lincoln Center, in addition to museums including The Rubin Museum of Art, Queens Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Jewish Museum and more.

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Artist Carolyn Halpin-Healy is Co-founder and Executive Director of Arts + Minds since 2009. Her piece is “For Celia with Love and Admiration’. She notes, “I am so inspired by our Arts & Minds participants, and all they have taught me about compassion and wisdom and art.”

The images in this post are part of the Arts + Mind program, and were found at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s Alzheimer’s patient waiting room ~ a hit with patients and their caregivers waiting for their appointments.

Have a family member in need of assistance? Contact Caringkind or Alzheimers Association. These organizations offer free workshops and groups for family members and caregivers.

Another interesting group of programming for Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can be found at the 92nd Street Y.

We know there are many more programs. If you know of more suggestions, please add to the list.