It’s an exercise helping people in the middle of a very difficult time. That’s exactly what the Frye Art Museum intended when they created a program for people living with dementia to come out and make art.

Mary Jane Knecht created the program in 2010 while her mom lived with dementia. She knew the art effort could be a place where people get away from the problems they experience in their medical journey and even for a minutes, just smile.

“The program meant a lot to me that Seattle can offer this to the Seattle dementia community,” Knecht said. “All the worries concerns about dementia go away and it’s so beautiful that they are really celebrating live in the moment, which living with dementia is all about.”

Rafe Schwimmer is battling early onset alzheimer’s after being diagnosed two years ago and recently became a participant in the program at the Frye.

“I’m somebody that’s trying to have some fun and do something that looks pleasurable to me,” Rafe Schwimmer said.

When he takes part in the effort it does it alongside his wife and care partner, Paula.

“I see how it feeds his soul,” Paula said. “I think for the longest time, for a very long time after his diagnosis, he didn’t want to get out and do things, and I think having done this I think he wants to get out and participate.”

“The community is really wrapping its arms around people with dementia, and making this place a safe and comfortable place for people to live,” Paula added.

The Frye Art Museum wants you to contact them if you are interested in the program. Annually, they also hold a conference where they teach care partners and other professionals how to bring this exercise to their home or facility. If you would like more information or you can call Mary Jane Knecht, the Manager of the Creative Aging program at 206-432-8265.