Art for Alzheimer's: "I'm Still Here" Movement Gains Momentum in Tecumseh


The "I’m Still Here" movement, celebrating the strength and spirit of those living with Alzheimer’s/dementia or facing life's challenges, has found a renewed voice in the form of art.

For the second year running, Pat Deere of PLDeere Studios has collaborated with an impressive array of artists, adult care facilities, and businesses. Their joint endeavor? To bring art, in its many forms, to the Alzheimer’s/dementia community. "Last year's closing reception allowed people to share their incredible journeys," recalls Deere.

Artists from across Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio have rallied behind this year's initiative. Some had the chance to collaborate with adult care facilities and host art classes, finding inspiration in the process. "It is hard not to be inspired by this experience," says an enthusiastic participant.

Touch Of Home Adult Daycare in Adrian was the pioneer last year, partnering with artists C.J. Bauschka and Kathryn Schmidt who chose beads as their medium. This year, they welcomed Pat Deere's scratch-off art, generating palpable excitement among the participants. Due to its resounding success, additional materials were provided for those who missed out or were keen on creating more. Deere is now conceptualizing a diorama to showcase their masterpieces.

Joining the movement this year are artists including Rae Leggett, Kathryn Schmidt, Lorenzo Cristaudo, Juanita Bellavance, Brenda Fineman, Brenda Hill, Randall Lee, Jan Dorer, among potential others. These artists conducted free classes at locations such as Touch Of Home, Daybreak, Gaslight Village in Adrian, and Silver Maples in Chelsea.

Local businesses have shown unwavering support. Touch Of Home Adult Daycare, Deere Electric Inc., and Arbor One Mortgage Group in Ann Arbor are some of the proud sponsors. These establishments not only support the cause but also offer space to display artworks. A part of their contribution goes toward prize money for participating artists.

The Adrian District Library is set to host an opening reception at 143 E. Maumee, Adrian MI on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 1-3 pm. It promises to be a gathering of artists, their collaborators, business sponsors, and representatives from participating adult care facilities. They will come together to discuss their collective experiences. A special appearance by an author who chronicles the Alzheimer’s experience is also on the cards. Proceeds from sales of original artworks, prints, and other merchandise will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Team for PLDeere Studios. The collection will remain on display at the library until November and can also be viewed on the PLDeere Studios website.

Though the exhibit concludes at the year's end, Deere envisions this journey extending beyond. She's keen on taking this initiative to local organizations and art venues, espousing the "I’m Still Here" mantra she first came across in John Zeisel's book.

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