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Exploring a Link Between Cultural Institutions and Wellbeing

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Janette Ballard

Feature  •
seniors working on masks

In June, folks from the Alzheimer's Association got hands-on experience in art making for an exhibit at the DU Museum of Anthropology (DUMA) gallery entitled, Spirited: Stories of Wellbeing. Participants in the workshop examined nine ethnographic masks from around the world, participated in a group discussion, and created an original artwork inspired by one of the masks. Artworks were then installed with the masks that inspired them, along with stories from participants about their creation.

The exhibit is part of a master's project for anthropology grad student Lindsey Miller who is studying the connection between ethnographic objects and creativity in people with memory loss. "Ultimately, I hope to show that museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions can play a significant role in wellbeing," said Miller, who is concentrating in Museum and Heritage Studies.

As an intern with the Denver Art Museum (DAM), Miller helped facilitate art programs for people with memory loss and their care partners. She invited Danielle Schultz, coordinator of Adult and Access Programs at the DAM to talk about the masks and facilitate group discussion during the workshop.

The exhibit will be on display July 31 to September 22, 2017. The gallery is free and open to the public. Call ahead to confirm times, 303-871-2687.