Old Town Artisan Studios (OTAS) has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association of Coachella Valley to create a new program for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. The weekly program begins in July at the OTAS campus in Old Town La Quinta. It aims to bring art to Alzheimer’s patients, allowing them to express themselves and maintain a healthy life as they age. A variety of classes with instructors trained by the Alzheimer’s Association will be available such as ceramics, sculpture, fused glass, drawing, and painting. This program was made possible through a grant provided by the generous Auen Foundation, a non-profit, grant-making organization benefiting a broad range of health-related needs, focused on the aging community.
When asked about why she decided to create this program, Old Town Artisan Studios President Victory Grund said, “In 2010, two young ladies signed up for a semi-private hand building clay class and had brought their Uncle who had Alzheimer’s. Noticing he was just sitting there, I asked if I could give him some clay and show him how to do something. At first they denied, but eventually allowed me to do so. I made a slab of clay and put a fish template on top and began to show him how to cut out a fish. He gently grabbed the tool from me, finished cutting out the fish and etched it with scales, eyes, and a tail. It was glazed in a color he pointed to and his memory of having fished many a day had come alive again. His blank face went into a smile and we knew one day we wanted to work more with the precious people.”
The program fee is free and is open to all people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Those who are interested can register by calling the Alzheimer’s Association of Coachella Valley at (760) 996-0006.