DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Dayton art gallery spotlights the impact art has on a person diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
For the second year, the Dana L. Wiley Gallery inside Dayton’s Front Street buildings features two simultaneous exhibits: “Connections: Moments of Clarity,” and “Relish Relinquish.”
Last year, the exhibits highlighted the grim realities of Alzheimer’s. This year, they focus on creative care and the benefits art can have on a person diagnosed with the disease.
“It’s about being in the moment of persons living with this disease. It’s about giving them the opportunity to be able to express themselves,” said galley owner Dana Wiley.
While the paint is dry, the pain is still fresh for Wiley with the two exhibits holding a special meaning.
“My mother had dementia,” Wiley said, tearing up. “Unfortunately, my mother passed away a few months ago with this disease, and what it has done is it really has given me the fuel to want to get this message out to make sure people understand the urgency.”
In one exhibit, “Connections: Moments of Clarity,” artists worked with residents at local memory care facilities.
Side-by-side pairings make up the exhibit. Pieces on the left were created by people with Alzheimer’s or dementia; pieces on the right were created by professional artists, using the original work as their inspiration.
Magnifying that exhibit is Relish Relinquish in the front of the gallery.
Artist Karen Fisher connected with one person in the late stages of Alzheimer’s – Rosie Monnin – and painted with her.
“Rosie had lost a lot of language. She wasn’t communicative. But when she was painting, she would ask for certain colors,” said Fisher.
Diving even deeper, artist and filmmaker Gayle Nosal documented their interactions.
“Her expression was going to come spontaneously, unscripted, and I had to just be there to witness it,” said Nosal.
Through their exchanges, the two captured the essence of Rosie through art, despite the disease’s hold on her.
“All the vibrancy of color you see here, that’s Rosie,” said Fisher.
“I felt very fortunate that I could be like a fly on the wall but with a camera in my hand,” said Nosal.
Both exhibits open a window into another world, putting a spotlight on the disease in a different way.
“Art is a language, and you’re offering them a chance to still communicate and be a part of the world in that small moment,” said Fisher.
The pairings in “Connections: Moments of Clarity” will be auctioned off in a virtual silent auction May 14 to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Assocation. There will also be an in-person event May 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. To learn more about ticket information or bidding, click here.