For The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project, my colleagues and I work to expand upon MoMA’s programs for individuals with dementia and their caregivers, which currently include gallery conversations and art-making programs at MoMA as well as off-site visits to assisted-living facilities. To this end we’ve developed resources, including a publication and website, which can be used by museums, assisted-living facilities, or other organizations serving people with dementia and their care-partners. We also travel domestically and abroad, presenting our programs and holding workshops on using art to engage individuals with dementia. So far we’ve reached over 7,000 people and 220 cultural institutions, and over 60 museums have since committed to initiating their own arts programming for this audience.
In the course of this work, we’ve met some remarkable people with unique insights on the opportunities that can arise out of changing cognitive ability. While such changes are often viewed as debilitating, many capacities, including the ability to imagine and learn, can remain intact and even flourish.
On Monday, March 21, at 7:00 p.m., we’ll bring some of these fascinating people together for a panel discussion called Imagination and the Changing Mind. Dr. Eric Kandel, Nobel Prize–winning medical researcher; Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art; David Shenk, author of The Forgetting and The Genius in All of Us; and Dr. Anne Basting, director of the Center on Age & Community at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will consider how innate differences or changes that develop later in life can beget creative engagement and meaningful contribution to society. The program is presented free of charge, but registration is required—reserve a spot online or in person at the lobby information desk or film desk at MoMA.
Imagination and the Changing Mind is part of Mapping Perceptions: The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project Summit, a day-long symposium exploring the intersections of art, dementia, and learning. Though participation is by invitation only, we’ll post video footage from the day’s events on our Meet Me website and share some of the outcomes of our conversations with you here.