Art as Medicine

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Most who have had a friend or relative with Alzheimer’s or dementia knows how trying neurodegenerative diseases are, both for the afflicted and those around them. Memories are lost and simple interactions can lead to confusion. In a relatively new method of helping these types of patients, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts has offered a six-week program of free, museum-based art therapy that it calls “Stepping Out of the Frame.”

The program was designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but is open to anyone suffering a neurodegenerative disorder. Started on July 23, the program meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Thursday, Aug. 29, at The Center in Ketchum. Run by the center’s Art Therapist & Enrichment Educator Jordyn Dooley, each session focuses on a different activity or directive as well as a way of interacting with the center’s current exhibition, Mirage: Energy, Water and Creativity in the Great Basin.

Dooley first came to The Center as an enrichment educator, working mostly at local schools. Her Master’s in art therapy that she received from Florida State University, one of the first schools to use museum-based art therapy, gave her the idea to present a therapeutic art program for people in Sun Valley who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases.