Racine Art Museum Ignites a ‘SPARK’ of Creativity
types of activities are included in the SPARK program?
We basically do two
programs in two locations. At RAM's Wustum
Museum we are creating
hands-on art—really nice, inspiring artwork using different techniques. We've
done ceramics and clay, watercolors, and fabric weaving, which was an
interesting challenge but actually turned out really well. At RAM we are
focusing more on conversations about the art in the galleries. We are also
working with our public library and local poets to do poetry readings, and
bringing in Danceworks from Milwaukee
to do some art exercises and movement in the gallery.
the program limited to people with Alzheimer's that live at home with a
caregiver, or are other senior groups included too?
The intent of the
program and the grant from the Helen Bader Foundation is specifically for
people who still live at home, with early- to mid-stage memory loss, to come in
with their caregiver. But throughout our current pilot phase, we've been
working with some residential homes and day-care facilities. So there is a mix
of participants. We aren't going to turn anyone away if they are interested.
well do you think the program has been received so far?
It has been great. The
staff has had so much fun with the participants. We have people coming in that
don't have any art in their background, but they really seem to enjoy the
experience—whether they are creating their own art or having a conversation
about art. When we have our hands-on programs at Wustum we are all laughing the
whole time. It is really positive and rejuvenating.
do you see as the most important part of the SPARK initiative?
I think it's important
to give people the opportunity to have an enriching, creative experience
together that they can talk about later—to get these people out into the
community, so they aren't sitting at home or in a day-care center all day long.
The participants like just being treated like normal adults. I think the whole
experience is really important for both the caregiver and the care-receiver.
is your favorite part about your work with SPARK?
Hearing people laugh and
seeing the pure happiness in their faces. They may not always remember us, but
they remember that they were here, and they remember that they had a positive
experience. I love spreading the joy of creative aging. It is just a great
For more information about the SPARK program, contact Tricia Blasko at (262) 636-9573.