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Art project focusing on outlet to share stories of dementia

Godfrey Dean Gallery undertaking multi-year project
Art can help those with dementia tell their stories.
YORKTON - The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery is launching a major project to provide people with dementia an avenue to sharing their stories through art. 

Unveiled Sunday the project; ‘Belong Where You Find Yourself’ will put 12 people with dementia together with two professional artists who will guide the participants for a year of art creation, explained Jeff Morton, Gallery director and curator. 

The two artists are Alana Moore of Saskatoon and Amber Phelps Bondaroff of Regina. The project will see both artists visit Yorkton often to work with the 12 local-area participants. 

The idea is for the two visiting artists to help the local participants “express themselves and tell their stories,” explained Morton. 

The project will continue through most of 2022, with the work created planned for a show at the Godfrey Dean from March through May in 2023, and then be taken to smaller area communities later in 2023, said Morton, adding the 12 participants will be paid artist fees, and for supplies. 

The exhibition will be one to amplify the voices of the artists in telling their stories associated with dementia. 

Morton said they are currently looking for 12 people to participate. Those interested, or knowing someone who might be, can contact the Gallery. 

Calling the initiative “a community engaged art project,” Morton said it is hoped the effort would “reduce the stigma associated with dementia.” 

The project was initiated around “the idea of belonging,” said Morton, adding it is about “how other people see us. Do they see us as belonging?” 

It is hoped through the project the public will reflect on belonging where you find yourself, he added. 

“We may not be able to change the course of any one person’s diagnosis,” said Morton. “What we can do is address the marginalizing effect.”