• Susan Shifrin

New program at Fleisher Art Memorial honors Arleen Weinstein

Arleen’s combined role of art-lover, insightful viewer, and generous facilitator for others honored in new partnership program, "ARTZ @ Fleisher"

-- In December of 2014, Fred and Arleen Weinstein joined us at The Barnes Foundation to participate in their first “ARTZ @ The Museum” program. They were a wonderful couple – gregarious, full of good humor and full of insights. Arleen had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease four years earlier, but her lifelong love of art (both as an artist/artisan herself and as an admirer of others’ art-making) were evident from the outset. Fred and Arleen became regulars at our monthly “ARTZ @ The Barnes” and "ARTZ @ PAFA” programs, and hardly missed a session unless ill health or doctor’s appointments prevented their attendance.

When, in the spring of 2016, Arleen moved into a care community, we were gratified to be able to stay connected with her and Fred, as we were providing “ARTZ on the Road” programming to the memory care floor where she had taken up residence. And so Arleen became the first of our program participants to stay with us through the transition from living at home to living in a long term care setting. She became the first of our participants to demonstrate that no matter how long her illness continued or where she lived, Arleen remained clearly and without a doubt… Arleen. Though she struggled to communicate verbally as her dementia progressed, her observations and insights about the works of art we would view and talk about together in our programs would tumble out of her, sometimes in sentences, sometimes not, but always empowering everyone in the room to see things they hadn’t previously been able to see.

Arleen’s combined role of art-lover, insightful viewer, and generous facilitator for others is honored in a new partnership program that we will launch this fall at Fleisher Art Memorial. “ARTZ @ Fleisher,” funded by the Arleen Weinstein Fund for Creative Aging, is a celebration of all that Arleen brought to our community, generously sponsored by her loving husband, fellow art-lover, and fellow ARTZ Philadelphia program participant. We are tremendously grateful to Fred and to Elizabeth Grimaldi, Director of the Fleisher, for bringing our dream of appropriately honoring Arleen to life.

POSTSCRIPT: There are so many ways to give to our friends and neighbors living with dementia. We're proud to announce the very first "ARTZ @ Fleisher" program, funded by the Arleen Weinstein Fund for Creative Aging, this September! Register to join us for the free program here.

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