“My seventies were interesting and fairly serene, but my eighties are passionate. I grow more intense as I age.” Florida Scott-Maxwell (author and Jungian Analyst)
Artist Slater Barron, famous as The Lint Lady, <slaterbarron.com> embodies the passionate eighties.
Slater is an Arts Advisor to the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony and is currently collaborating with another Advisor, Kimberley Hocking of the Greenly Art Space in the Long Beach area.
They are preparing a show of Slater’s work about the experience of Alzheimer’s patients. The exhibit, My Mothers Garden II is an installation and opens on February 21st.
Slater recently read that, although there are 5 million people in the U.S. suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, funding for research is a fraction of that budgeted for other major diseases (see footnote). She is intensely determined to publicize this dismaying fact and she is urging us all to do something about it!
Slater knows what it is like for the 15.5 million friends and family members who are affected, because both her parents suffered from AD. She watched the changes in her mother over 15 years, from the first signs appearing in her mid 70s until she died.
This is not the first time Slater has put her art in the service of the community and it is by no means her first art exploration into this difficult area.
In 2007 Slater wrote and published a book called “Remembering the Forgetting” and I asked her reasons for writing this book. They were personal at first. She wanted to tell the younger people in her family her parents’ romantic love story that blossomed from when they first met. She wanted to convey how much they loved each other, how courageous, and what good parents they were to Slater and her sister. She wanted her mother and father to be remembered for all that they were and not only for the last years of their lives. Slater felt that her grandchildren deserved to understand where they came from — from a large, close family who all cared for each other.
When her parents were in the early stages of the disease Slater moved to Long Beach to be close to them. She tells how she was stuck in the rush hour commute from work when suddenly the installation called “The Six O’Clock News” appeared to her in its completed form showing her parents watching TV in their living room. “It was,” she says “all there!” (see slaterbarron.com)
In the middle of its construction, a visitor from Loyola Marymount University saw the work and immediately decided to show it when it was completed. Slater remembers with great satisfaction how all who passed by the ground-floor gallery could look in the large window and clearly see “The Six O’Clock News”.
Slater is an impassioned woman, a gifted assemblage artist (popularly known as The Lint Lady), a mentor to many artists and friend to even more. She pursues even difficult subjects with passion and, she says, she has always been unusual! For an art performance piece earlier in this series, Slater donned her sequins and, with top hat, cane, and tap shoes, danced in front of a piece called “Fly Pie“. She believes “if you can’t look at life in unusual ways, it would be unbearable!”
Now Slater wants to inform a wider group about the effects of Alzheimers Disease and the need for more research. She will not be dancing at Greenly this month, but come to meet her anyway, and enjoy her sparkle, energy and compassion.
My Mother’s Garden II will open at Greenly Art Space, 2698 Junipero Serra Ave., Unit 113, Signal Hill (Long Beach) on February 21st, 2015 at 6pm.
We hope the experience of this powerful and evocative work as well as the information from The Alzheimers Society, and the Creative Caregiving project of the National Centers for Creative Aging will inspire you to write to your political representatives and request much more funding.
Slater herself will be writing to California Senators Boxer and Feinstein.
Cancer = 5.4 billion dollars
Heart Disease = 1.2 billion dollars
Alzheimers Disease = 666 million dollars!!