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CommuniTea with Poetry, March 2013 Memory Arts Café 

Artist Michele Brody (right) brought her public art “tea project” to the New York Memory Center on March 13. As she served tea, she shared her story of how this project began and why tea is important to her.  NYMC Program Assistant Mei Yu brought in Japanese and Chinese cookies and cakes and set up a beautiful display (until everyone started eating!).  Poetry maestro Gary Glazner had a supply of haiku to teach us, and then everyone wrote their own tea story on the tea filters that are part of Michele’s art project. Thanks to Michele and everyone for another great Memory Arts Café. Click here for more photos.

February 2013 Valentine’s Dance 

The dance floor was full and the February 13 Valentine Dance was great fun. Thanks to Stine Moen and Hooba from Rhythm Break Cares (RBC) for their performance and for getting everyone on their feet. Poet and MC Gary Glazner (he dances too, in the green shirt below), Percussionist-in-Residence David Azarch, and Musician-in-Residence Ismail Butera added their skills and kept us all laughing. See more photos from the Valentine Dance.


December 2012 Holiday Party

Click here for photos and a report from the evening

October 13, 2012 – Jellyfish Poetry

Check out the slide show from our special trip to the New York Aquarium.

October 10, 2012 – Jazzing It Up

We had an excellent turnout for the October program, which  featured Jesse Neuman, trumpet and cornet player. Jesse played favorite jazz tunes and helped the audience create an original song.  Jesse Neuman has been an active member of New York City’s creative music scene since 1998. He has performed at venues including Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Birdland, Blue Note, Knitting Factory, Celebrate Brooklyn, Highline Ballroom, Bowery Ballroom, and presented seminars in Ecuador and Guatemala. Mr. Neuman developed the MusicWorks program to bring interactive arts experiences to people of all ages and ability levels, from pre-schoolers to at-risk teenagers to older people living with dementia.

September 12, 2012 – Art Education and Creation

Laurel Humble, Assistant Educator for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) Alzheimer’s Project, brought a stimulating arts presentation to the September Memory Arts Cafe. With her guidance we analyzed a Picasso painting and created our own artwork based on a technique of different artists adding a new section to create a final piece of art. Our “characters” were done in two sections. At right, Board President Allan Kramer II and Executive Director Christopher Nadeau display two finished pieces. 

Ms. Humble teaches MoMA’s programs for individuals with dementia and their caregivers and leads trainings for museum and care professionals, as well as individual caregivers. She is co-author of the award-winning publication Meet Me: Making Art Accessible to People with Dementia and has presented nationally and internationally on issues related to developing and implementing programs for individuals with dementia.

August 8, 2012 -  NYMC Artists Put on a Show!

Click for more photos from the August Café

What talented artists we have leading programs at the New York Memory Center. Gary Glazner, poet and founder of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, organized a disparate group of artists into a great show. After each artist introduced themselves and gave a sample of their talent to the packed room, they joined one-by-one into a performance that eventually involved everyone in the room. Our talented artists (l to r above) are: David Azarch, Percussionist in Residence, who leads very popular percussion workshops each week; Ismail Butera, who plays the accordion and is an NYMC Musician in Residence; Jennie Smith-Peers with Elders Share the Arts, who makes it part of her job to come into the community and lead Improv workshops; Gary Glazner; three members of Rhythm Break Cares dance program; Tara Kacak, NYMC Multimedia Artist in Residence; and, Pamela Lawton a visual artist with the Making Art Everywhere program at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tara talked about her background working with special needs children, “but then I realized we all have special needs” she says. Tara uses art to help everyone find a way to express and enjoy themselves and find fulfillment.

Jenny warmed up the group with some Improv exercises, and Gary started off the unique evening’s performance by reciting a poem by one of his early influences, beat poet Lew Welch’s “Raid Kills Bugs Dead.” That short reading was followed by Gary’s presentation of a poem called “Love,” created when he collected a statement about love from everyone in the room earlier in the evening and put all the lines together. (Hear the poem on YouTube.) The artists began to draw, the drummers began to drum, the accordion came in, the dancers began to move, and the audience members who were not drumming or shaking their maracas and tamborines were clapping and smiling and having a wonderful time. (Watch a short video on YouTube.) Join us for the next cafe—second Wednesday of each month at 6 pm.

June 13, 2012 – New York State’s First Memory Arts Café

Performers pose at Memory Arts CafeJazz singer Louise Rogers and pianist Mark Kross performed well-known jazz standards and led the audience in the creation of a new song at the first Memory Arts Café to be held in New York State. The event was held at the New York Memory Center on June 13, and was hosted by Gary Glazner (left in photo), poet and founder of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, co-sponsor of the Café project.

More than 60 people attended the special evening, including those with memory loss and their family members and caregivers. Nan Blackshear attended from the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, along with Charise K. Lawrence, Director, Brooklyn Community Outreach from the City’s Department for the Aging, and a representative from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America which is helping to fund the series.

Memory Arts Café builds on the Alzheimer’s Cafe movement that was started in Europe in 1997 by Dr. Bère Miesen. The Café offers residents of Brooklyn living with memory loss and their caregivers a place for personal enrichment, but it is also an arts event open to the general public. The next program, on Wednesday, July 11 at 6 pm, will feature dancer Heidi Latsky. Click on the link at right for details.

Guests, performers, and staff at Memory Arts Cafe

In the photo: Nan Blackshear, Gary Glazner, Louise Rogers, Mark Kross, Christopher Nadeau (NYMC Executive Director), Mary Brennan (NYMC Board), Allan Kramer II (NYMC Board President), Josephine Brown (NYMC Program Director), and Charise K. Lawrence. Photos by Ruth Benn.