The SPARK! program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has provided creative, stimulating activities for seniors with memory loss while remaining free of charge.

About SPARK!

Since 2010, The SPARK! program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has provided creative, stimulating activities for seniors with memory loss while remaining free of charge. SPARK! programs offer participants an opportunity to enhance their quality of life through social engagement, mental stimulation, and communication in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Each program offers a unique mix of engagement-focused activities, like gallery tours, ballroom dancing, hands-on art making workshops, attending world-class performances, and culinary therapy. We aim to help shift the focus from the deficiencies that are often associated with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementias to the rich and satisfying experiences that are possible through creative engagement.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a founding member of the SPARK! Alliance, a group of cultural organizations committed to offering quality programming for people with memory loss. The main objective of the program is to provide a creative outlet for those living with Alzheimer’s disease; but one of the other results of the program is a supportive community and resources, not only to those effected by memory loss but to the caregivers as well. Isolation is a common occurrence for those living with memory loss. The Arts Center hopes to bring these secluded folks out and create moments to cherish.

To register for a session or for more information about SPARK!, contact the Arts Center at 920-458-6144 or email Participation is free for individual caregivers and participants.

Upcoming SPARK! Events

Wednesday, April 26
10:00–11:30 a.m.

Learn about Loy Bowlin, the self-proclaimed “Original Rhinestone Cowboy.” who transformed his small home into a fitting backdrop for this illustrious persona. Then, create poetry inspired by music with Gary Glazner from the Alzheimer's Poetry Project.

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Wednesday, May 24
10:00–11:30 a.m.

This one’s for the birds! Celebrate spring and create bird seed cakes to hang outside.

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Wednesday, June 28
10:00–11:30 a.m.

Explore the beautiful gardens with an interactive tour and show off your green thumb by potting plants for our flower bed.

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SPARK! Group Visits

SPARK! programs at the Arts Center offer positive social and creative experiences for people living with memory loss that are not dependent on memory skills that are fading or impaired. Whether building a story, making art together, discussing a work of art in the galleries, singing, or dancing, the atmosphere is warm, welcoming, and stimulating. Conversation-based discussion of works of art encourages interaction and a positive exchange of ideas and observations and do not rely on recall. Art-making sessions encourage experimentation and playfulness and are often collaborative.

The Arts Center’s specially trained education staff and volunteers lead programs that emphasize the joy and creativity that can be found in the present moment, drawing on the strengths of the individuals, irrespective of their diagnosis. Programs are designed for individuals with early- to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and can be adapted to the needs of other types of senior groups.

Visits are available Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and can be customized to meet the needs of the group. Prices vary depending on the options selected.