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Mobile Art Brings Back Memories

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The Alzheimer's Association of Central and Western Virginia is making art more accessible to those with memory loss. The Mobile Art Museum is on the road and visits assisted care facilities throughout Charlottesville. It's part of the Alzheimer's Art Project that's funded through a grant.

Caroline Even is the Art Project Coordinator for the Alzheimer's Association and shows prints of some famous paintings with a theme. Recently the prints have represented families.

"They can really talk about their childhoods, their own family, their own memories of holidays of special events and it's just a really great way to bring people out of themselves and engage them socially," Even said.

The concept is designed to help people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease tap into their memories from long ago. Because it can be difficult for some people with memory loss to visit a museum, the museum comes to them.

"I have found the art viewing experience is so wonderful at reducing anxiety and encouraging people to communicate about not only what their perceiving, talking about what's in the art work, but also about their own lives," Even said.

The Cedars Nursing Home in Charlottesville is one stop the Mobile Art Museum visits. Frances Sargent is a volunteer and said as each piece of art is shown, many respond to what they see.

"Their faces light-up and make that connection to somewhere in their past and it's just so rewarding for those of us that work to be able to view that and see," Sargent said.

The Mobile Art Museum's next stop will be in Lovingston.

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