Cascadia Art Museum hosts early stage dementia patients

By Brenda Kohlmyer | Aug 07, 2017
Courtesy of: Cascadia Art Museum A small group of patrons with early-stage Alzheimer’s, as well as their and caregivers, attended a special event at Cascadia Art Museum, where they saw artworks such as Paul Morgan Gustin’s “Pioneer Square” from 1912.

Cascadia Art Museum is normally closed on Tuesdays, but recently the museum hosted an art lecture for people with early stage Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

The small group setting and quiet surroundings made it easy for people who may normally find themselves overwhelmed by a crowd to focus on the artwork by Paul Morgan Gustin, David McCosh, Anne Kutka McCosh and others.

Docents Kim Morrris and Shelley Hanrahan facilitated participation from everyone in the room, allowing time for people to consider and process answers.

Both Morris and Hanrahan have received specialized training provided by the Alzheimer’s Association and focused on visible elements of the artwork and the settings represented, rather than delving into more esoteric elements of the art.

Attendees sat close to the paintings and discussed what they saw in each piece. With the Paul Morgan Gustin oil paintings they had the opportunity to see the artist’s preliminary sketches beside the finished oil paintings.

This allowed the group to not only see into the artist’s process, but also decide which version they liked better. The docents encouraged all attendees to give their opinions and the group had a lively discussion about the colors and techniques used by the artists.

This interaction is precisely the reason the Alzheimer’s Association and Cascade Museum worked to put the series together. Opportunities for social outings are critical to the wellbeing people with memory loss and their caregivers.

Museum Director Brandi Clark said that the organization plans to host this event on a monthly basis, and the next tour is Aug. 22.

Registration is required.

Those interested in attending upcoming events can contact Jackie Aviles with the Alzheimer’s Association of Washington at 206-529-3870 or


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