Alzheimer's patient's art raising money to fund programs

2009-09-17T19:45:00Z Alzheimer's patient's art raising money to fund programsBy Paul Swiech | pswiech@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com
September 17, 2009 7:45 pm  • 

NORMAL - Elizabeth Jones's paintings depict bright flowers, colorful landscapes and bold sunsets, reflections of photographs and memories.

"It gives me pleasure," Jones, 64, said of her painting and sketching.

Jones's art has taken a larger role in her life since she became a resident of Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center, 505 E. Vernon Ave., in February 2008. Beginning Saturday, her art takes a community role of combating Alzheimer's disease.

Four pieces of her art will go on public display in the form of greeting cards available for sale at the Farmers' Market in downtown Bloomington. A packet of six cards will be $5.

Proceeds will go to the Alzheimer's Association-Greater Illinois Chapter for its programs and services to families dealing with Alzheimer's disease, said Melissa Chrisman, the chapter's special events' manager. Cards also will be sold at the association's Memory Walk in Normal on Oct. 3.

"I'm always glad to do it for them," said Jones, who answered questions with brief, direct answers.

"I think that's a good idea," she said of raising money for the association. "I'm trying to help anybody. I've always tried to be good."

Her longtime friend, Donna Thoma of Bloomington, who has helped to support Jones in recent years, is gratified that other people will appreciate her friend's talent.

"She's sharing her talent and helping other people," Thoma said. "She's thrilled."

Jones was born and reared in Bloomington. While she never married and wasn't employed out of the home, she kept busy taking classes at Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan universities, reading and traveling. After her father, James A. Jones, died, she took care of her mother, Anita.

"I've always been interested in art," she said. She took classes at the McLean County Arts Center in the 1980s.

She began to pursue art seriously after her mother died in 2005 and began to take classes at Heartland Community College. She sketches and paints with watercolors and acrylics but doesn't name any of her pieces.

"I like them all," she said as she glanced at a book with watercolors she painted in 2006-2007. "I prefer landscapes. They're easy for me to do."

Linda Bollivar, program director at Sugar Creek, an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimer's and other dementia, thought of Jones and her art when Chrisman asked whether Sugar Creek had anything that could be sold at the Farmers' Market Artists' Alley as an Alzheimer's Association fundraiser.

"I'm super-excited to have someone of her talent," Chrisman said.

"This is one of the neatest fundraisers we've done."

But the value is beyond making money.

"I hope this provides Elizabeth an opportunity to be a part of something big. A lot of times, people with Alzheimer's and dementia are swept to the side," said Chrisman, who noted that Monday is World Alzheimer's Day.

One in seven women and one in 10 men have Alzheimer's disease or another dementia.

"She is a talented individual who has created art that she's willing to share," Chrisman said. "This is so special."


Memorable messages

Packets of six greeting cards with Elizabeth Jones's art are available for $5:

-- In the Artists' Alley on Main Street during the Farmers' Market in downtown Bloomington from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday.

-- At the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk on Constitution Trail near Vernon Avenue and Grandview Drive, Normal, at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 3.

-- By calling the association office at (309) 662-8392.

Copyright 2015 pantagraph.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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