Alexandra’s take: What happens during “ARTZ in the Making”?

We’ll be sharing a series of perspectives from ARTZ Philly’s interns, Alexandra (Zsa) and Stephanie! Read on for Zsa’s take on what’s happening in an “ARTZ in the Making” program.

portrait of ARTZ intern Zsa smiling

“Art is an innovative, creative approach to improving autonomy, self-esteem, and creativity for people living with dementia. ARTZ Philadelphia’s unique programs strive to not only build on these areas of individualism and expression, but also create a dialogue about the importance of care partners and the connection to the community.

When the program starts, there is a sense of comfort generated by the instructor’s empathy, warmth and understanding. Participants quickly settle into their artistic zones as the program begins. The art is personal, some simple, some complex, but each piece incredibly individual, reflecting the style and emotions of each person. Their art mirrors their personalities, their humor, and their passion. Memory loss can affect self-sufficiency in daily tasks, which can create feelings of withdrawal and isolation. Although it can be difficult to sustain full autonomy and independence, art-making programs allow their participants to be free, unguided, and purely genuine in their process. This practice creates an atmosphere that values creative expression and fosters feelings of self-reliance, independence, and imagination. This is a program that works therapeutically by building relationships between participants and their care partners while creating innovative approaches to increasing quality of life.

— Zsa Emmich, ARTZ Philadelphia Intern 2017/18; Temple University’s Human Development and Community Engagement Program

Zsa is with ARTZ Philly for the second semester of her internship, and we love having her on the team. More posts pending: to hear more from ARTZ Philly’s interns, come back and visit the blog!