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Naples Art Assoc. and Alliance for the Arts screen Alzheimer's film next week

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Southwest Florida will have two opportunities next week to explore how art can provide people challenged with Alzheimer's, their caretakers and loved ones with a more enriching quality of life when the Naples Art Association and Lee County Alliance for the Arts screen the film I Remember Better When I Paint and host associated panel discussions and Q&As.

The Naples Art Association event takes place on Monday, February 17 at The Naples Women's Club, which is located at 570 Park Street in downtown Naples. The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with wine and hors d'oeuvres. The film will run from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m., with the panel discussion beginning immediately thereafter. Panel members include Berna Huebner, Marc Agronin, M.D., Frederick Schaerf M.D., Ph.D., Angel C. Duncan M.A.MFT, ATR, and Bernadette La Paglia BSN, M.Ed. Each is a leader in their respective fields of art therapy, Alzheimer's research and neuropsychiatry. The panel discussion will include opportunities for Q&A and will be moderated by Angel and Bernadette. The event is free thanks to gifts from Peter and Stella Thomas and Jim and Karen Gburek. For more information, please call Shea Lindner at 239-262-6517 ext. 109.

I Remember Better When I Paint airs at 7:00 p.m. the following evening (February 18) at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts, with the film’s co-creator, Berna Huebner, leading a discussion beginning at 8 p.m. along with a panel of experts including Frederick Schaerf, M.D., Ph.D. Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida; Chris Votolato, Psy.D. M.S. Shell Point and Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida; Reina Lombardi, M.A. ATR-B.C.; Angel C. Duncan, M.A. MFT, ATR, Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida, and General Electric (GE Healthcare). The screening is in the Alliance's Foulds Theatre and is open to the public, although a $5 suggested donation is requested at the door. For more information visit ArtInLee.org or call 239-939-2787.

I Remember Better When I Paint is the first international documentary about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies on people with Alzheimer's and how these approaches can change the way we look at the disease. The film examines the way creative arts bypass the limitations of dementia disorders such as Alzheimer's and shows how patients' still-vibrant imaginations are strengthened through therapeutic art.

Co-directed by Eric Ellena and Berna Huebner and narrated by actress Olivia de Havilland (who played Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind), the film is presented by French Connection Films and the Hilgos Foundation. Among those who are featured are noted doctors as well as the president of Alzheimer's Disease International, Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter of Rita Hayworth who suffered from the disease. Running time for the video is 54 minutes.

The film is inspired by the personal experience of Berna Huebner and her mother Hilda Gorentstein, also known as Hilgos. Hilgos was an accomplished artist and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the early 1990s. After reaching a state of near hopelessness, Huebner said to her mother, "Mom! Would you like to paint?" Hilda's face brightened and she seemed to come into herself, then she said "Yes! I remember better when I paint."

Berna G. Huebner is the founder of the Hilgos Foundation in Chicago, Illinois which supports and encourages the ongoing process of artistic creation with people who have different forms of dementia including Alzheimer's. She is the co-director of I Remember Better When I Paint. Huebner also serves on the Boston University School of Medicine Alzheimer's Board and is Director of the Center for the Study of International Communications in Paris, France. She is the former Research Director for Nelson Rockefeller when he was Governor of New York and then Vice President.

Frederick Schaerf, M.D., Ph.D. is certified by American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, General and Forensic Psychiatry. Dr. Schaerf specialized in neuropsychiatry at Johns Hopkins. Currently, Dr. Schaerf specializes in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). He has conducted over 90 trials in dementia and played a part in bringing to market those drugs that are currently FDA approved for the treatment of dementia. Dr. Schaerf maintains a private practice in Fort Myers, Florida where he also dedicates himself to advancing medical science through his involvement in clinical research trials. In 2001, Dr. Schaerf founded The Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida to establish, develop and maintain a high quality clinical research program in Neuropsychiatry. The Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida works with the Alzheimer's Association in their mission to support research and find a cure.

The Naples Art Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It operates The von Liebig Art Center, located at 585 Park Street in downtown Naples. Founded in 1954 by local artists, its mission is to educate and promote visual arts in Southwest Florida. Through its programs, the Naples Art Association is dedicated to serving individual artists of all ages and skill levels, along their creative journeys. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays in season. For more information, please call 239-262-6517 or visit http://naplesart.org.

The Alliance for the Arts proudly supports artists and arts organizations in our area as the state designated Local Arts Agency for Lee County. The Alliance campus and galleries are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Its galleries and campus are located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard, just south of Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. For more information, please call 239-939-2787 or visit http://www.artinlee.org.

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