The Walt Disney Family Museum has announced its newest exhibition this fall, Looking Inward: Painting a Journey. The exhibition will present a diverse collection of artwork as part of a rare outreach project centered around art-making activities for underserved seniors. On view from September 28, 2017 to January 8, 2018, the exhibit features art created by the residents of three Bay Area senior care facilities: Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay, Pacifica Senior Living Mission Villa, and The Curry Senior Center.
Looking Inward: Painting a Journey explores the intersection of self reflection and imagination for the senior participants, many of whom live with memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Participating artists are encouraged to draw inspiration from Eyvind Earle’s work on view in a concurrent exhibition, Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle. Earle is best known for work on Disney classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp. When questioned about his art, Earle said, “If I close my eyes, I see the finished painting before I start it.…It’s as though I see it for a second and a half, then it fades and I have just the memory. Once the image is planted, I being to paint.” Like Earle, the contributing artists for Looking Inward use their experiences and emotions to visualize their personal journeys. Museum representatives visited partner facilities regularly to offer ongoing instruction and artistic support.
“We’re honored to be able to partner with these local organizations, and the communities they serve, for our most recent outreach exhibition,” said Antonia Dapena-Tretter, School and Outreach Manager for The Walt Disney Family Museum. “These individuals all have unique life experience and now have the opportunity to share these moments and feelings through their artwork. With both abstract and figurative works, Looking Inward represents various aspects of their collective journey, on view for the museum’s broad audience.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, afflicts an estimated 5.5 million Americans. In California alone, there are over 610,000 individuals with memory disorders, which inspired The Walt Disney Family Museum to partner with local organizations in supporting these individuals.
“The Pacifica Legacies program is designed to support an individual’s feelings of security and belonging with activities, interests and cognitive abilities,” said Karen Nickolai, Executive Director of Pacifica Senior Living. “Our partnership with The Walt Disney Family Museum for Looking Inward is a valuable collaboration to enhance the mission of our core program.”
Looking Inward: Painting a Journey will be on view at The Walt Disney Family Museum in the lower lobby. The exhibition is second in a series taking precedent from the vision of The Walt Disney Family Museum’s founder, Diane Disney Miller, who championed arts access as a vital component of the museum’s commitment to community engagement. In 2016, the museum presented Transformations: Creativity from the Inside Out, celebrating artists with disabilities.