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Artful Living: St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

No matter what holiday you celebrate, this season is a special time for family, friends and memories. 

We think of times past, of family members and friends who are faraway or, perhaps, gone from our lives. But, for too many people, those memories are limited or lost.

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) once wrote, “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” It’s those special moments we all treasure so much.

From December 8 through January 18, Framations Gallery in St. Charles hosts a juried exhibition as part of their Art & Awareness Series, entitled “Memory: Joy & Loss.” The series intends to incorporate awareness in areas that affect our community. This particular exhibition’s theme demonstrates that memory plays a dual role, both as a source of joy for the things we want to remember, and as a reminder of what is lost or regretted. Sometimes more painful are the things we wish we could remember, but can’t.

Too many of us have been personally impacted by the reach of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, symptoms develop slowly, getting worse over time, until they become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

The facts are far too well known:

  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined
  • One in 10 people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.

In a focus on the significance of memory and its impact on our lives, the works in this exhibition at Framations Gallery strive to examine ways to raise awareness for those who have a loss of memory as well as to enable the formation of new memories.

Maturity and Its Muse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to promote positive, productive aging through the arts. Through outreach and collaboration with other arts organizations, they put together exhibits and activities spotlighting nationally recognized senior artists. The films, books and interactive media they produce raise awareness of and inspire participation of seniors in the arts.

One of Maturity’s programs, Kemper Art Reaches Everyone (KARE), began in collaboration with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University, now starting its seventh year. The success of this outreach to caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s disease, has encouraged Maturity’s Executive Director, Lynn Friedman Hamilton—who happens to be the juror for the Framations exhibition–to develop new program partnerships:  with Missouri Botanical Garden (Memories @MoBot),  St. Louis County Library system, David Marchant of the Washington University Dance Department (Memory in Motion), the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Washington University in St. Louis Music Department.  

Hamilton’s activities and interests in improving the quality of life for seniors earned her the 2016 Woman of Achievement award in recognition of her Services to Older Adults.

In 2009, a groundbreaking study and resulting international film entitled “I Remember Better When I Paint,” by Berna Huebner and Eric Elléna, revealed the power of the creative arts. Narrated by Olivia DeHavilland, the film presents persons dealing with Alzheimer’s and how their involvement in the arts enhances quality of life and, especially, their memories. The arts are powerful. Learn more at https://irememberbetterwhenipaint.wordpress.com

To make some of your own special memories this season, check out the Rep’s adaptation of an imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. Directed by Jenn Thompson, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley runs on the Browning Mainstage through December 24. Ticket info at www.repstl.org.

Is there a low brass musician in your family? What better way to make a memory than to perform with the St. Louis Low Brass Collective on December 16! The 12th annual event begins with a rehearsal from 10-11 a.m. in Shoenberg Theater at Missouri Botanical Garden and is open to musicians of all ages and abilities. Festive dress is encouraged. Chairs are provided, but bring a music stand if possible. Then bring the entire family (and maybe a camera!) to the live performance at noon! Details at stllbc.org.

Wishing you peace and happy memories this season.

See more ArtFul Happenings at www.thehealthyplanet.com

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