KENT, Wash. — Things are getting a little rowdy at this assisted living care facility, thanks to a kindle of six-week-old kittens. Inspiration for a dozen budding artists here.
“Aegis of Kent is memory care,” says Life Enrichment director Brian Kohler, “so we're working with residents that all have a diagnosis of dementia.”
The pet portraits painted today will be sold to raise money and awareness for rescue animal programs. They will be showcased in a studio at the Everett Mall and in nine Fred Meyer stores, among other places.
It's all part of Paws With Cause, founded by Alix Frazier in 2016, and supported in part by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission.
“This is so easy,” says Frazier. “We take away all of the scary parts so anybody can paint.”
No talent required. Though Frazier sees talent everywhere.
“Have you ever heard of Picasso?” Frazier asks one resident. “He paints like you do.”
Frazier started the non-profit as a tribute to her mother who had Alzheimer's in the final years of her life.
“Every day I miss her,” she says. “I'm filling a hole in my heart right now by being here and these guys are doing me a wonderful service.”
“You could hear all the chattering going on in the room,” says Kohler, “ and they were talking to each other and socializing.”
Kohler says these are the kind of activities that can bring back memories.
“I saw residents today doing art like I have not seen them do before, so something really clicked and opened the door for them,” he says.
The artists receive two rewards for their work. They get to meet the kittens from Community Cat Coalition, and know they're helping others.
“I saw some of those kitty cuddles,” says Frazier. “ It was pretty sweet.”
Sometimes Frazier sees her mother in the faces of the artists she meets.
It happened again today.
“Yeah,” she says. “With about seven of them in there. Just those kind smiles. That endearing quality that they just want to be there for other people. Their charm is just flowing through.”
Doing so much good for so many can really make for a long day but such a rewarding one.
“More of this please,” says Frazier.