Access for the Arts brings art therapy to Columbus Alzheimer’s patients

A tour during Access for the Arts.
A tour during Access for the Arts. Courtesy of the Columbus Museum

The Columbus Museum and the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Office of the Alzheimer’s Association have combined forces to benefit patients with Alzheimer’s disease and early stages of dementia.

Access for the Arts is a program designed to reach Columbus residents whose brains have been affected by loss of memory.

The program offers multiple activities to enrich the lives and skills of these patients. These different types of art therapy provide opportunities for the socialization of patients with an early stage diagnosis of the disease.

“The Columbus Museum is proud to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide quality art programs that benefit and stimulate the creativity and imagination of those who participate,” said Kirsten Dunn, community outreach and volunteer coordinator for the Columbus Museum.

Columbus isn’t the only city with a program like this. Many art museums across the country have established programs to assist patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, the benefits from programs like Access for the Arts are far reaching and varying for each patient who attends.

“Art therapy for those with Alzheimer’s disease has many benefits including tapping into memories, increased attention span and focus, neuron activation, reduced isolation through an opportunity to socialize and more,” according to the website.

The Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association assists the museum with the logistics of offering the program. All reservations are made through the Alzheimer’s Association website to facilitate assessments and modifications to the program as needed.

“The Columbus Museum is providing an invaluable service to those with early stage Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” said Leslie Gregory, president of the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia chapter. “Participants use this art program to not only stimulate their senses and memories, but also to connect with one another.”

This month’s Access for the Arts class is a studio component and will be offered Feb. 13. The program is free for patients and caregivers, but registration is required. Patrons must register with the Alzheimer’s Association in order to have the service provided. Early registration also allows the organizations to assess and determine if the program will meet each patient’s needs.

Dunn is proud of the way the two organizations have organized Access for the Arts together to bring such beneficial programming to those in need.

“Programs alternate monthly between a tour component and an art making component,” she said. “This allows the class to build upon important topics and themes within our exhibitions and then create their own masterpiece the following month. Previously we have had tours that focused on the female form in art, self-portraits, and mixed media/collage just to name a few.”

If you go

What: Access for the Arts

When: 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Feb. 13

Where: Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road

Cost: Free. Registration required.

Call: 1-800-272-3900 or