ITA’s 2021 Lamplighter Award recognizes Berna Huebner and Hilgos’ Life Changing Team for shining a light on the benefits of Creative Arts Therapy for those living with dementia.
ITA is honored to recognize Berna Huebner and Hilgos’ life changing team with the Lamplighter Award. The group illuminates the benefits of Creative Arts Therapy for those living with dementia through the production of the international documentary I Remember Better When I Paint.
Music, art, dance/movement, and drama therapy improve lives in tangible, measurable ways. As a provider of these therapies for more than 2,500 people each year, ITA honors individuals and organizations who shine a light on the impact of Creative Arts Therapy through the artful wielding of their own flame and use their fire to become a Lamplighter, fueling the lights of others. Berna shares the 2021 Lamplighter Award with the art students who supported and accompanied her mother, Hilgos, on her journey with Alzheimer’s.
ITA Board member, drama therapist, and long-time friend of Berna, Judy Holstein, recalls how “Berna’s mother, Hilgos, succumbed to despair in the nursing home as dementia diminished her world. Many people would have seen only the limitations imposed by the disease, but Berna searched for a spark that might ignite possibilities for her mother.”
Berna asked her mother if she would like to paint and then found students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to work with Hilgos.
“The students were steadfast. They ignited a spark that turned into a flame. Hilgos painted for several years, finding her own inner light, regaining much of her true self,” says Holstein.
Inspired by her mother’s experience, Berna created the brilliant documentary film I Remember Better When I Paint and created a scholarship fund to connect more art students to people with dementia. The film, narrated by Olivia de Havilland, is the first international documentary about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies on people with Alzheimer’s and how these approaches can change the way we look at the disease. Among those who are featured are noted doctors and Yasmin Aga Khan, president of Alzheimer’s Disease International and daughter of Rita Hayworth, who had Alzheimer’s. The film is co-directed by Eric Ellena and Berna Huebner and presented by French Connection Films and the Hilgos Foundation.
The Lamplighter Award will be presented at the Institute for Therapy through the Arts annual Healing Arts Celebration, an evening dedicated to the transformative impact of Creative Arts Therapy.