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Memory Project Unites Philadelphians, Young and Old, in Battle Against Alzheimer’s

Philadelphia, PA -- Throughout the month of August, Philadelphians are documenting and archiving summer memories as part of the symbolic battle against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A new project invites residents, to draw, write or paint a favorite summer memory to be included in the William B. McNamee Memory Library at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The project is a partnership between the Cultural Alliance’s GroundSwell campaign; Spaces Between Your Fingers, an organization dedicated to raising awareness in the battle against Alzheimer’s and dementia; and Art Holding Hands and Hearts, an arts organization that uses yoga, meditation and creative visualization as a form of therapy and to increase mindfulness.

The SBYF Postcard project is not just for people with dementia. Everyone, young and old is invited to share a summer memory. It could be a happy memory, a turning point memory, a memory that makes you sigh or a memory that touched the heart.

“Memories and stories are important,” says Jan Mitchner, founder of AH HAH. “Together our stories tell the true history of our communities, our towns, our cities, our country. The more the stories are shared and preserved, the more we are connected.”

Residents both young and old are invited to submit a postcard with their favorite memory of a summer experience in the Greater Philadelphia region. To download and submit a postcard template, visit:

  • Memory Exhibit and Workshop at the Free Library of Philadelphia
    Thursday, August 29 from 4:30 - 6:30 PM

    Submitted memories will be on display at the Free Library. There will also be a workshop where Matthew Smith of SBYF will help participants "unlock" and document lost memories. After the workshop, memories will be added to the rest of the postcards we're collecting and archiving in the library. For more information about the library event, click here.

From August 21-28 AH HAH will be hosting a series of Spaces Between Your Fingers postcard events in Philadelphia and Chester County. Finished cards will be added to the Library Memory exhibit at the Free Library.


  • Philadelphia Senior Centers - August 21, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
    The Center’s seniors will be joined by students from the World Communications Charter School and will take part in memory writing and drawing activities.
  • West Chester Senior Center - August 26, 12:45 PM to 2:00 PM
    Seniors are joined by Students at the Hood.
  • Kennett Area Senior Center - August 27, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    Seniors are joined by students from the Garage.
  • Coatesville SBYF event and Art Night Out - August 28, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
    An event held in collaboration with CYWA, Yes And Playback Theatre, Arts Partners Studio, Coatesville Library, and the Coatesville Senior Center.

About GroundSwell
GroundSwell is a grassroots movement to make Philadelphia a better place to live, work and play. Powered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, GroundSwell unites residents and organizations in order to leverage arts and culture, libraries, parks and public space to enhance the quality of life in our region. GroundSwell invites residents to Do Something Good for a Change and to become a part of a growing community that’s taking action for a greater Greater Philadelphia. For more information on GroundSwell, visit:

About Spaces Between Your Fingers
The Spaces Between Your Fingers (SBYF) Project was created four years ago by Matthew Ross Smith, a writing professor at Drexel and Temple University. SBYF is a team of volunteer writers and artists who interview seniors (primarily those with Alzheimer’s and dementia), inscribe their most cherished memories on postcards (each capturing a single moment in time), then mail those postcards to their kids and grandkids. A copy is also archived in the vault at The Free Library of Philadelphia so that they will never be lost. Since 2009 SBYF has archived over 10,000 unique memories via their workshops, Memory Stations, cross-country tours, and school programs.

About AH HAH
AH HAH (Arts Holding Hands and Hearts, Inc.) utilizes yoga, meditation and creative visualization to increase mindfulness and focus and to reduce stress and anxiety. Through the sharing of stories facilitated by skilled teaching artists experienced in the expressive art forms of writing, music, dance, theatre and the visual arts, participants collaborate to share their combined voices regarding issues relevant to them and the community.

The culmination of each program is a presentation for the community which will include theatre, creative movement, music, poetry, and/or art. Our goal is to create a new community dialogue among diverse groups.