JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Now is your chance to get involved with a project that has to do with a disease you may know someone impacted by.
A new art exhibit about Alzheimer's disease opens Tuesday at the University of North Florida's Lufrano Intercultural Gallery in their student union building. When you visit you can also learn how to get involved in a study they need volunteers for.
"We hope that this exhibit will touch people and inspire them to get involved," said Jody Nicholson, UNF psychology professor and PACT study director.
PACT stands for Preventing Alzheimer's with Cognitive Training and Nicholson says they just got the largest competitive grant in UNF history to do their study.
"We are asking people to do about 45 hours of brain training through this computerized cognitive training program or across two years," she said.
They need 1300 volunteers over age 65.
"Both of my grandmothers had Alzheimer's and dementia," said Jenny Hager, UNF sculpture professor. "It's a really hard thing to watch people cope with. A lot of my work is about my grandmothers also. I have a whole series of work about them, not necessarily about Alzheimer's, but just about who they were as people."
Six and a half million people in the U.S., or one in nine people, are living with Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
"My friend Ellie is one of the artists in this exhibition," Hager said. "She just lost her father two weeks ago and he had early onset Alzheimer's and has struggled with it for over 15 years."
The exhibition is a bridge for you to get involved in research; it's also a bridge from art to science to community.
"This exhibition can be difficult at times and that's okay," said Jessica Borusky, UNF art galleries director. "But hopefully that difficulty leads us to reflection and leads us to perhaps action of some kind so that we continue to build shared and collective resilience around issues such as these."
The exhibition opens Tuesday as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “The Longest Day” campaign. It runs through November 11 and will have an artist discussion at the end. Artists Ellie Brown and Rosemarie Oakman are the featured artists and another exhibition is planned for next year.