The Alzheimer's Art Garden Benefit Silent Auction

World Alzheimer's Month 2018 is September. In Colorado, over 71,000 families are faced with Alzheimer’s disease. At Fall Fest presented by The Lake Dillon Arts Festival, we are participating in bringing awareness and raising money to fight this awful disease with a very special collection of art called "The Alzheimer’s Art Garden" .

The Alzheimer's Art Garden will be open from 10 am Friday Aug. 31st to 2 pm Sept. 2nd.

The Alzheimer's Art Garden will be next to the music tent at the festival and will be filled with donations from artists at the show plus art from other national artists who have previously done shows with CCM Events (our list is extensive).

Each piece donated will have a paragraph or two written by the donating artist about how Alzheimer’s has affected them or their family or friends.

All the art in The Alzheimer's Art Garden will be available for purchase via a silent auction. Auction forms and a place to put in your bid will be in the tent at the show. Auction winners will announced Sunday at 2 pm.  You must be present at 2 pm to win the auction of your favorite piece, pay for the work, and take it home with you. Help us make a difference.


How did this idea start?

Pencil artist Leslie Schafer brought her artist mother's Alzheimer story to Darren, owner or CCM Events and promoter of Fall Fest. Moved by Leslie's story, Darren donated a free 2nd booth to Leslie so she could show her mother's work along side her own. In addition, Darren and Leslie decided to "silent auction" of one of Leslie's mother's pieces to benefit Alzheimer's research.  Shortly after Darren and Leslie's conversation, Darren was contacted by Fall Fest participating artist Chuck Adams whose wife Sharon also has Alzheimer’s. He expressed how he wanted to be part of the Alzheimer’s awareness/fundraiser, too. Read Chuck & Sharon's story - click here!

After Darren hung up the phone, the brainstorm hit him. The Alzheimer's Art Garden. It was this idea that blossomed into something bigger than any one of us at Fall Fest could have ever imagined. We hope you help us fight this ugly disease by buying something beautiful at The Alzheimer's Art Garden.

Here is Leslie's story about her mom.

Judith K. Otte is a Wyoming artist currently undergoing treatment for the management of Alzheimers Disease and subsequent symptoms.  She is also my mom.

Judith met and married my dad Jim Schafer at a young age (19) and they moved all over the United States.  Dad made his living as a horse trader buying and selling horses at sale barns. Mom & Dad would buy unbroke horses, train them for 30 days and sell them. On his way home from a sale in a twin engine plane,  my dad, Jim, was in a wreck that left my mom, Judith, a widow with their two small children, Jim Jr. and myself Leslie Schafer.

Through the years, Judith managed to provide a living for herself and us by producing art of all kinds; leather craft (chaps for rodeo cowboys), oil paintings, sculpture, drawing, commercial illustrations, etc. She had no formal art training but a lot of “God Given” talent and hard work allowed her to not only provide for her family but also buy and develop a horse ranch in the Lander valley.

In 2008 Mom began to show symptoms of the early onset of Alzheimers and Dementia. In time she began to struggle with the intricacies of art that had never been a challenge for her before. Things like proportion and perspective became more daunting. She would often meticulously paint a picture with the perspective reversed and then paint it out and repaint it exactly as she had before. Eventually the frustration of trying to achieve her acceptable level of visual delight became too frustrating and she began to avoid drawing, painting, and sculpting.  During this time, Mom was not only losing her capacity for art, but also language, and functional skills.  

By the winter of 2017, mom’s art efforts could not be recognized as her own. She had slowly lost her ability to produce the masterpieces that had captured her viewers and won the hearts of so many. She was no longer able to drive, care for her livestock, or even recognize situations that were not safe. In January, we had to move her to a skilled nursing facility that specializes in the care of Alzheimers patients to ensure her safety. Mom’s caregivers and our family still encourage her to draw but she generally doesn’t recognize herself as an artist. She is now in a stage of Alzheimers now that often prevents her from recognizing her family and friends.

In honor of her talents and life long efforts, I continue to show her work and raise awareness for Alzheimers Disease. This is not something our family could have ever conceived, but in the spirit of the true west, we won’t run from this fight, we will continue to do everything we can to support research and support families and victims who have had their loved ones taken with only the shell of who they used to be left behind.

Throughout her life Mom took time to impart what she knew of art to us, her children. I produced my first marketable piece at the age of 6 years old from the kitchen of a single-wide trailer house on a road aptly named, Deadman’s Gulch (the historic site of an indian masacre).  As her family, we will be offering up one piece of Mom’s work to be donated toward Alzheimers research or awareness.

The drawing below are actually the last few things Mom drew before the ability completely escaped her. While they look like somewhat rudimentary drawings, they are actually those of an incredible artist doing everything she could to try to hold on to something she was once able to do as a simplistic ‘doodle’. You can see some of her notes where she was trying to remind herself of proportion, shoulder height, deer studies, horse studies, perspective, etc…

In honor of my mother Judith K. Otte, come to Fall Fest presented by The Lake Dillon Arts Festival, enjoy my mother’s work, and help us find a cure for this awful disease by purchasing a piece.

Leslie Schafer
Loving Daughter and Participating Artist