Welcome to SPARK!

SPARK! is a creative engagement program for people with early to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners. Programs are designed to keep participants actively engaged in their communities by providing experiences that stimulate conversations, provide peer support and inspire creativity through creative engagement, workshops and programs. SPARK! programs are FREE for families to attend together in a comfortable environment led by specially trained staff and volunteers.

SPARK! programs typically last 60-90 minutes and group sizes are limited, so please pre-register for the programs you plan to attend. Each program is unique and include topics such as cooking, art-making, drama/dance, music/song, poetry and storytelling. SPARK! programs are designed to be offered on various days and times to encourage attendance at multiple locations in your region.

All SPARK! facilitators have been trained by Alzheimer’s professionals and collaborate with community partners to continually enhance programming.

What does SPARK! stand for? SPARK! is not an acronym, it’s something that happens between care partners when engaged in a stimulating and engaging experience – SPARKing a moment together – living in the moment.

Oh behalf of all SPARK! organizations, we look forward to meeting you soon!

(SPARK! programs are designed for families and care partners. If you are from a facility and are interested in bringing a group, please contact the location nearest you for more information.)

Cultural Programs that Engage and Inspire!

SPARK! is a creative engagement program for people with early- to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners. SPARK! is located in museums, galleries, nature centers and cultural venues across the United States and continues to expand into new communities.

SPARK! programs welcome care partners to stay actively engaged in their communities while joining peers to experience art, culture, the arts and nature in a comfortable environment with specially trained staff and volunteers.

SPARK! programs typically last 60-90 minutes and group sizes average 10-25 participants. Attending a SPARK! program provides care partners an opportunity to be together IN THE MOMENT. The programs are not reminiscent nor do they rely on recalling memories, but rather focus on observations, conversations and creative experiences. There are a variety of programs to fit every interest and comfort level. From art-making, singing and drama to museum discussions, performances and cooking – SPARK! offers something for everyone.

We look forward to seeing you at a SPARK! program soon!

Our History

The SPARK! Program

SPARK! Is a creative engagement program for people with memory loss and their partners. The inception of SPARK! began with a grant from The Helen Bader Foundation (now Bader Philanthropies Inc.) in 2009. The Bader Foundation’s Alzheimer’s and Aging program aims to make Wisconsin a leader, not just in how challenges posed by this disease are addressed, but in how growing older and the later stages of life are viewed. Through an emphasis on program development, applied research, and public policy, the Foundation strives to offer hope to families affected with Alzheimer’s.

SPARK! continues to grow and foster engagement activities using sensory stimulants combined with visual art conversations, music, poetry,  hands-on art making, movement and creative performances.

The SPARK! Alliance

The SPARK! Alliance is a foundation of museums, nature centers and cultural centers committed to the inception, development, facilitation and sustainability of cultural programs for people with memory loss and their care partners.

In 2009, the founding 10 institutions chosen by the Helen Bader Foundation (now, Bader Philanthropies, Inc.) established a forward thinking program of collaboration and cross connected policies and procedures that help new institutions and organizations begin engagement programs that are accessible to families living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory loss. These programs focus on life-long learning, providing quality of life experiences while living in the moment and inspiring creative expression through engaging the senses.

The SPARK! Alliance has continued to develop and grow as individual organizations and through collaborative trainings and program development. Hosting an annual engagement training and conference, the SPARK! Alliance works together to cultivate, strengthen and multiply programs centered on the art of memory loss engagement. By providing the infrastructure, tools and resources, this implementation model can be easily adjusted and tailored to organizations of all sizes and designs throughout multiple districts.

The SPARK! Alliance institutions are situated regionally in Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee. If you are interested in bringing SPARK! to your community, please contact Tricia Blasko tblasko@ramart.org.

Find a SPARK! Program

A group of women are seated at a table with trays of art supplies. The women in the front is smiling and choosing objects from a tray.A man in a purple shirt is looking at a butterfly that has landed on his hand while other people are in the background.

SPARK! programs are located throughout Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee and Colorado. Click on the links below to find details on a SPARK! program near you. All SPARK! programs offer unique experiences and schedules, so please consider attending multiple locations.


Dane County

ARTS for ALL Wisconsin

Dodge County

SPARK! of Dodge County

Door County

Door County Maritime Museum, call (920) 743-5958

Kenosha County

The Civil War Museum, Kenosha

La Crosse County

Clearwater Farm, Onalaska

Manitowoc County

Manitowoc County Historical Society

Marathon County

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau

Milwaukee County

Jewish Museum Milwaukee, Milwaukee

Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee

MItchell Park Domes, call 414-708-5265

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Bayside

Wehr Nature Center, Franklin

Oneida County

Art Start Rhinelander

Outagamie County

The Trout Museum of Art, Appleton

Racine County

Racine Art Museum & RAM’s Wustum Museum, Racine

Sheboygan County

John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan

Washington County

Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend

Winnebago County

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass

Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh


Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn –  Call 712.764.7001


Hennepin County

Three Rivers Park District

Winona County

Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona


Muskegon County

Muskego Art Museum


Denver Area


Alzheimer’s Tennessee