Bonifas program to help Alzheimer’s patients enjoy the Center

ESCANABA – “Art is for everyone,” said Pasqua Warstler, Gallery and Education Director for the Bonifas Arts Center. “Kids, adults, elders everyone.”

The Center is active with groups of all kinds, including the “Gather in the Gallery” programs presented in conjunction with the U.P. Region of the Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The program brings adults with Alzheimer’s Disease to the Center’s galleries for tours and art activities and is modeled after a similar program in New York. The Bonifas was the first organization in the U.P. to conduct such a program, and because of its success similar programs are now being set up in other communities.

“We’re working to bring local groups in for enrichment and fun,” Warstler said.

To that end, the Center has invited Heather Addison, Program Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, to conduct a docent in-service for the public.

“Addison will discuss Alzheimer’s Disease, how it affects patients, the top 10 signs to identify Alzheimer’s, and how the disease manifests.” Warstler said. “She will provide skill training for docents who will lead tours of the gallery for Alzheimer patients during the next year.”

The training session is set for Thursday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bonifas Arts Center. No previous experience is needed, just an interest in and comfort with speaking to small groups. You don’t need to be an artist.

“As a group we will explore how art can take us out of our separate confines,” Warstler said. “We work toward an experience that’s enjoyable for everyone, no matter what kind of life they’re living.”

The training is open to anyone, Warstler said, as are tours. To sign up, or for more information, call the Bonifas at 786-3833.