From the Well of Memory: Museum approach to Alzheimer's

Organization Associated with Program
ArtStreams
1012 Sunshine Rd.
Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico 87557

ArtStream is a regional organization based in Taos, New Mexico that provides specialized arts opportunities to people who often lack access to the benefits of artistic involvement. Through its signature program, From the Well of Memory, ArtStream offers support services to family caregivers of older people who are living with neurocognitive disorders resulting in memory loss such as Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers and those they care for are given opportunities for social interaction, group support, mental stimulation, and respite. ArtStream provides caregivers with key resources and referrals to support them in ongoing care activities and to help them meet the ongoing needs of their loved ones. From the Well of Memory is comprised of two core program components: 1) a monthly caregiver support group that meets for two hours and 2) a monthly two-hour interactive discussion of traditional and contemporary art. The art program takes place in museum and gallery settings and is attended by both the older person living with memory loss and their family caregiver. All the classes offered through ArtStream’s From the Well of Memory initiative are led by an art educator.

From the Well of Memory strives to enhance the quality of life and quality of care of participating older adults and caregivers by lowering stress, educating participants about art and art history, and creating opportunities for social engagement, thereby offering broader support to ArtStream’s community and growing the number of individuals that ArtStream is able to reach through arts engagement program activities.

Program History

From the Well of Memory was modeled after the Museum of Modern Art’s Meet Me at MoMA program and formally launched in 2007. The program now serves approximately 240 people each year and has gone on to help ArtStream solidify strong community partnerships with local arts organizations and a national relationship with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Evaluations are conducted by staff on an ongoing basis throughout the program through the use of attendance numbers, surveys, and interviews.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

It is necessary to collaborate within the community with like-minded service organizations. It is also important to conduct thorough research before beginning a program.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Visual Arts
Target Audience: Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Cognitive Disabilities
Program Setting: Arts Organization, Community Center
Program Service Area: Rural
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice