Through Access Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art, visitors of all ages with special needs and their families can experience the Museum and spend time together. For instance, we host Art Beyond Sight programs in October that celebrate visual awareness, and four times a year we have Autism Awareness Family Celebrations.
Meaningful Moments is a monthly program at the DMA designed for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and a care partner–a devoted wife bringing her husband, a loving daughter attending with her mother, or an admiring husband bringing his wife, like John Rath, who brings his wife, Sue.
John and Sue attend the DMA program every month, including last week’s Storytelling in Art Meaningful Moments event. At every visit, they enjoy the gallery discussion and the opportunity to reminisce and share stories about their lives. Sue had a career with Susan Crane Packaging, where she designed wrapping paper that was sold at many stores, including Neiman Marcus, and John worked for thirty-seven years at Texas Instruments. Sue collects pins (always wearing a different one when she visits the Museum) and loves taking care of her plants in a back porch greenroom that her handyman husband John built just for her.
When the program moves to the studio for art-making, Sue’s artistic abilities shine as she is usually one of the last to finish her work of art. Many couples create art together during the studio time, but John prefers to admire Sue’s creations while providing support and encouragement. Clearly best friends, John and Sue have a love for one another that many dream about having.
I have been lucky to get to know this wonderful couple during Meaningful Moments throughout the year, and here is a bit more insight into the lives of John and Sue:
John and Sue, what three words would you use to describe one another?
Sue is loving, considerate, and creative. John is kind, friendly, and multitalented.
John, you and Sue have known each other for a long time (since childhood!). Will you share some favorite moments that you have had together over the years?
Riding our bicycles to Confirmation class at church together, our first date (a Boy Scout Christmas party), our wedding day, and honeymoon. Living in a number of different states and countries, some of them more than once, when I was traveling on military/government contracts for Texas Instruments. The birth of our daughter and son and their development through the years; both were achievers and kept us extremely busy with their activities. Everywhere we have lived, we’ve enjoyed the people we met and have taken advantage of the–if I may borrow a phrase–meaningful moments that were available.
What types of things do the two of you enjoy doing together?
We enjoy the Meaningful Moments program at the Dallas Museum of Art; spending quality time with family, extended family, and friends; camping, fishing, and most outdoor activities; playing games (cards, dominoes, Yahtzee, etc., especially with grandchildren); and working on creative projects together.
Why do you attend the Meaningful Moments program?
The Meaningful Moments program is an excellent extension of the informational and learning opportunities we have always enjoyed and try to take advantage of when possible. We always look forward to the monthly programs.
Amanda Blake is Manager of Family Experiences and Access Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.