In recognition of World Alzheimerâ€™s Month this September and in support of the Alzheimerâ€™s Association, Sarasota seniors with Alzheimerâ€™s and other forms of dementia are creating art to be featured on fundraising greeting cards.
Artwork created by Bruce White, a professional sculptor and retired art professor, and other members of adult day center Town Square Sarasota are featured on the front of the cards. Town Square Sarasota is selling the cards to members, their families and the general public, and donating the proceeds to the Alzheimerâ€™s Associationâ€™s Florida Gulf Coast chapter.
â€œWe have so many talented artists here, creating these incredible pieces during our art classes,â€ said Sherri Finn, who co-owns Town Square Sarasota with husband and business partner Michael Finn. â€œThis spring, an artist asked me to throw away something heâ€™d made. But I saw how amazing it was, and I turned it into a greeting card for him. The project took off from there.â€
Over 10 talented Town Square Sarasota members have created art featured on the fundraising greeting cards. One is sculptor Bruce White, a retired professor of art from Northern Illinois University, who has produced many large-scale public works that are installed throughout the U.S. and abroad. In Sarasota, these include “Four Winds,” at New College; “Meander,” behind the Federal Building; and “Samurai,” near Sarasota City Hall.
â€œBruce had an extraordinary career as a sculptor, and here at Town Square Sarasota he has recently become prolific with colored pencils and is creating amazing art,â€ said Town Square Sarasota co-owner Michael Finn. â€œBruceâ€™s family has even indicated that his drawing at Town Square has migrated home, and they love to see him engaged again.â€
Town Square Sarasotaâ€™s members, most of which have Alzheimerâ€™s and other forms of dementia, use various media and materials to create the artwork featured on the cards â€“ from watercolors, colored pencils and acrylic to felt, string, cotton and more. The 1950s-themed adult day center provides members with meaningful care, engagement and socialization, including frequent art classes.
â€œResearch suggests that artistic engagement can help ease the common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimerâ€™s disease like anxiety, depression and agitation,â€ said Jill Grinnell, Town Square Sarasotaâ€™s Center Director. â€œIt can also boost mood and self-esteem and create a pathway for emotional expression. In our art classes, weâ€™ve seen members with no previous interest in art become passionate about daily projects and former artists who have rekindled their passion.â€
Over the past few months, Town Square Sarasota and its members have created and sold greeting cards that have resulted in donations of over $1,115 to the Alzheimerâ€™s Association. Leaders are also in talks with a few local boutiques about selling the fundraising greeting cards at their locations.
â€œWe see this effort as a wonderful way to both recognize the talents of our members and also to raise money for an organization thatâ€™s dedicated to supporting and serving our members and everyone impacted by Alzheimerâ€™s and other forms of dementia,â€ said Michael Finn. â€œWe encourage everyone to come in to see the amazing art featured on these cards and consider making a purchase to support the Alzheimerâ€™s Association.â€
From their front desk, Town Square Sarasota sells a single greeting card for $5 and a set of five cards for $20. The location is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All money collected will be donated to the Alzheimerâ€™s Associationâ€™s Florida Gulf Coast chapter.
â€œThe greeting cards that the Town Square Sarasota members made are beautiful,â€ said Bernice Pelea, MPH, MS, RN, Program Manager, Care & Support at Alzheimerâ€™s Associationâ€™s Florida Gulf Coast chapter. â€œPrograms like this are so important for people living with Alzheimer’s, giving them a chance to socialize and express their feelings and emotions through art. Selling these cards back into the community is such a great way to raise awareness and benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. We’re so grateful for their support.â€
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, the international campaign from Alzheimer’s Disease International. People unite from all corners of the world to raise awareness and to challenge the stigma that persists around Alzheimerâ€™s disease and all?types of dementia.
About Town Square Sarasota
Located at 3882 Central Sarasota Parkway in Sarasota, Town Square Sarasota is a senior day center focused on providing engagement and socialization for seniors challenged with the normal effects of aging, as well as those living with Alzheimerâ€™s and other forms of dementia. Town Square Sarasota offers members recreational programming in a safe environment, as well as coordinated care with outside medical providers. For more information, visit https://www.townsquare.net/sarasota/.