Alzheimer's Sufferers Find Identity Through Art

SPARKS, NV - One of the most unusual venues for the Reno area's Arttown festival is an art show at a local residence for Alzheimer's patients.

The art is produced by the residents themselves.

The exhibit currently on display at The Arbors at 2121 East Prater was produced through a program called "Moments of Memory." The collages and paintings were also produced using an unusual medium, but one familiar to many of the artists--women's cosmetics.

Using lipstick, mascara and other cosmetics, the artists have produced works in a number of different styles. Among the displays, one work which one a first prize ribbon in an open category at the Nevada State Fair.

The program was launched by The Arbors staff, but it is spreading to other locations.

Creating the art, the staff says, helps their residents maintain contact with others, but it has a lasting positive effect as well even when the moment of creation has faded from memory.

"You should see their faces when they see the art and they say 'oh, that's very pretty' and you say 'you created that. That's your art. You're an artist," says Gina Stutchman of The Arbors. "It really gives back a value to self esteem and it gives them an identity which unfortunately the disease tends to steal."

The art is on display daily at The Arbors at 2121East Prater Way in Sparks. It will be auctioned later this fall with proceeds going to support the program.

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