"Art reveals to us the essence of thing, the essence of our existence." - Rudlolf Arnheim

ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimer's is a 501© (3) initiative of the I'm Still Here Foundation, founded in 2002, with the purpose of enhancing the cultural and creative life of people living with Alzheimer's disease. ARTZ draws on the support and collaboration of artists and cultural institutions, both nationally and internationally, as a collective resource, to share, educate and inspire.

As the video below informs us, the emotional memory in the presence of art eases some of the symptoms. 

ARTZ Museum Programs  -

•           Peabody Essex Museum - Salem, MA

•           Museum of Science - Boston, MA

•           Fuller-Craft Museum - Brockton, MA

•           Institute of Contemporary Art - Boston, MA

•           deCordova Museum & Sculpture Park - Lincoln, MA

•           Museum of Natural History, Harvard University - Cambridge, MA

•           Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University - Cambridge, MA

•           Sackler Museum, Harvard University - Cambridge, MA

•           Larz Anderson Auto Museum - Brookline, MA

•           American Textile Museum - Lowell, MA

•           Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA

                    Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts


                  Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts

A side note: In 2015 the NAA joined forces with Atria Merrimack Senior Living in Newburyport - NAA artist member Paula Estey led a workshop for seniors (experiencing varying stages of dementia) entitled Life & Legacy … the result was a powerful and emotional and so very positive experience for all, students and organizers.  Both Atria & the NAA have agreed such programming needs to continue!

Vermeer: Master of Light

Master of Light, Color and Perspective


Vermeer: Master of Light is a visual pilgrimage in search of what makes a Vermeer a Vermeer. It is a journey of discovery, guiding the viewer through an examination of three of Johannes Vermeer's paintings and exploring the secrets of his technique. Utilizing the potential of x-ray analysis and infrared reflectography as well as the power of computer technology, the program delves beneath the surface of the paintings to unveil fascinating insights into Vermeer's work. This film celebrates one of the most extraordinary painters in the history of art. Narrated by Meryl Streep, with commentary by Arthur Wheelock, curator of northern baroque paintings, National Gallery of Art, and David Bull, conservator. This segment uses computer technology to deconstruct The Music Lesson and demonstrate to the viewer how Vermeer has painstakingly placed every object in the painting to achieve his desired result.

Copyright © 2012 Indianapolis Museum of Art. All rights reserved

Nathalie Miebach at the NAA!

The local Newburyport chapter of Storm Surge hosted Nathalie Miebach at the NAA yesterday afternoon.  I was present in my role as ED at the NAA,  I had no idea what I was in for.  As you know from following this blog, here at the NAA we are interested in and passionate about the connection among art and other disciplines.  Well, here you have it.  It is genius and magic, and not.  I leave it for you to decide.

Quick view of how Nathalie thinks about and creates her work ...

Arts and Education

Guggenheim Study Suggests Arts Education Benefits Literacy Skills 

In an era of widespread cuts in public-school art programs, the question has become increasingly relevant: does learning about paintings and sculpture help children become better students in other areas?

A study to be released today by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum suggests that it does, citing improvements in a range of literacy skills among students who took part in a program in which the Guggenheim sends artists into schools. The study, now in its second year, interviewed hundreds of New York City third graders, some of whom had participated in the Guggenheim program, called Learning Through Art, and others who did not.

The study found that students in the program performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills — including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning — than did students who were not in the program. The children were assessed as they discussed a passage in a children’s book, Cynthia Kadohata’s “Kira-Kira,” and a painting by Arshile Gorky, “The Artist and His Mother.”

The results of the study, which are to be presented today and tomorrow at a conference at the Guggenheim, are likely to stimulate debate at a time when the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind has led schools to increase class time spent on math and reading significantly, often at the expense of other subjects, including art.

Yet the study also found that the program did not help improve students’ scores on the city’s standardized English language arts test, a result that the study’s creators said they could not fully explain. They suggested that the disparity might be related to the fact that the standardized test is written while the study’s interviews were oral.

“We purposely chose to have students talk to us instead of writing because we thought they would show language skills, not purely reading and writing skills,” said Johanna Jones, a senior associate with Randi Korn and Associates, a museum research company conducting the study over three years with a $640,000 grant from the federal Department of Education.

Ms. Jones said that the study, which graded students’ responses as they talked about the painting and the passage from the book, found essentially the same results during the 2005-6 school year as it did during the 2004-5 school year. “We really held our breath waiting for this year’s results, and they turned out to almost exactly the same — which means that last year’s don’t seem to have been an anomaly,” she said. “That’s a big deal in this world.”

While it is unknown exactly how learning about art helps literacy skills, she said, “the hypothesis is that the use of both talking about art and using inquiry to help students tease apart the meaning of paintings helps them learn how to tease apart the meanings of texts, too. They apply those skills to reading.”

The categories of literacy and critical thinking skills were devised by the research company with the help of a group of advisers from Columbia UniversityNew York University and the city’s Department of Education, among other institutions.

The Guggenheim program, originally called Learning to Read Through the Arts, was created by a museum trustee in 1970, when New York schools were cutting art and music programs. Since it began, it has involved more than 130,000 students in dozens of public schools. The museum dispatches artists who spend one day a week at schools over a 10- or 20-week period helping students and teachers learn about and make art. Groups of students are also taken to the Guggenheim to see exhibitions.

Officials at the Guggenheim said they hoped the study would give ammunition to educators in schools and museums around the country who are seeking more money and classroom time for arts education.

“Basically, this study is a major contribution to the field of art and museum education,” said Kim Kanatani, the Guggenheim’s director of education. “We think it confirms what we as museum education professionals have intuitively known but haven’t ever had the resources to prove.”