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A different kind of art exhibit: works by Alzheimer's patients

December 12, 2008 |  9:00 am

Swing by the Burbank Senior Artists Colony on Dec. 19 and you'll catch a different kind of art exhibit. Showcased at the center will be more than 20 drawings done by men and women with Alzheimer's disease.

Artwork3Called "Hope, Esperanza and Mitzvah," the exhibit is courtesy of Dr. Arnold Bresky, a Southern California-based preventive gerontologist who uses music and art as part of a program he’s developed to help slow the progression of Alzheimer's. "The brain works from numbers and patterns," he says. "Art does that. I use the Michelangelo grid system, and we start from the basics. These people have no art training."

As we age, he adds, "our creativity goes up, not down ... During the creative process, you’re using parts of your brain that you haven’t used before, and that sets up new connections."

Although some patients are reluctant to take pencil in hand and dive in, Bresky convinces them they can do it, then shows them the way. "They need someone to encourage them," he says.

Among the drawings are an intricate heraldic design, a portrait of a man, an abstract bust and a landscape. Bresky did a similar but smaller show years ago, and says the artists are "ecstatic" when they see their work exhibited. "It gives them meaning and purpose in life."

The exhibit is only up for that one day, and the public is welcome from 4 to 6 p.m. Bresky says people who view the art are often uplifted as well: "When I show it, the word I get is 'wow.' "

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo: Drawing done by an Alzheimer's patient. Credit: Dr. Arnold Bresky

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