'Alzheimer's Illustrated' on display
Their names are printed on the "wrong" side of the fabric, where the color is muted, the pattern faded.
It's not an accident. The faded, muted colors of the patches comprising the "Name Quilts" in the traveling art quilt exhibit, "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" is very symbolic of the effects of Alzheimer's disease on the human body and spirit.
The exhibit will be coming to Detroit Lakes next week, courtesy of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative -- a national, grassroots charity aimed at raising awareness and funding research for this devastating disease, which currently affects about 5.4 million people in the United States alone.
The 236 quilts that comprise the exhibit will be on display in the Forest Conference Center at Emmanuel Nursing Home, 1415 Madison Ave., Detroit Lakes, from Friday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 7.
The project to bring this exhibit to Detroit Lakes was spearheaded by Emmanuel's Corinna Honer, who saw the first Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) exhibit when it was on display at the Minnesota State Quilt Show in 2010.
"I was very moved by it," she said of that first quilt exhibit. "I thought it would be awesome to bring it here and share it with this community."
But the timing for bringing that first exhibit to Detroit Lakes didn't work out, so when a second one was announced, Honer again proposed the idea of bringing the traveling exhibit to Emmanuel -- and this time, it all came together.
In fact, those who stroll through this exhibit during its stint in Detroit Lakes may notice some familiar names. That's because some of the panels in the "name quilts" were inscribed with the names of Emmanuel Community residents.
"The families could write down the names of their loved ones who have, or have been affected by Alzheimer's," Honer said. "Our people's names are incorporated into an exhibit that's traveling all over the U.S. -- that's really exciting."
The problem is going to be in finding which quilts contain those familiar names.
"There are over 10,000 names on the quilts in this exhibit," said Emmanuel fund development director Sandy Lia, who has also been involved in coordinating the exhibit's visit to Detroit Lakes. "We'll be looking for them (the local names), trying to find which ones they are on."
Part of what makes this exhibit so moving for those who have experienced it, Lia said, is the use of the aforementioned "wrong side" of the fabric to record the names of those affected by Alzheimer's.
"It's parallel to how life fades for one who's living with Alzheimer's," she added. Their physical body may be strong long after the mind has started to wither, but eventually, the disease will sap that physical strength as well.
"It's a very moving exhibit," said Honer, cautioning that those who attend might want to make sure they have plenty of tissues on hand.
Though there is no admission fee, donations will be gratefully accepted on behalf of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, which uses the funds raised "to raise awareness, and to educate people about the disease," Honer said.
"So far, they have raised over $700,000 (nationwide)," she added.
Hours for the exhibit Will be Friday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 7, from 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information, please contact Emmanuel Community at 218-847-4486, or visit the website, alzquilts.org.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.