The SPARK! program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has provided creative, stimulating activities for seniors with memory loss while remaining free of charge.

About SPARK!

Since 2010, The SPARK! program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has provided creative, stimulating activities for seniors with memory loss while remaining free of charge. SPARK! programs offer participants an opportunity to enhance their quality of life through social engagement, mental stimulation, and communication in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Each program offers a unique mix of engagement-focused activities, like gallery tours, ballroom dancing, hands-on art-making workshops, attending world-class performances, and culinary therapy. We aim to help shift the focus from the deficiencies that are often associated with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementias to the rich and satisfying experiences that are possible through creative engagement.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a founding member of the SPARK! Alliance, a group of cultural organizations committed to offering quality programming for people with memory loss. The main objective of the program is to provide a creative outlet for those living with Alzheimer’s disease; but one of the other results of the program is a supportive community and resources, not only for those affected by memory loss but for the caregivers as well. Isolation is a common occurrence for those living with memory loss. The Arts Center hopes to bring these secluded folks out and create moments to cherish.

To register for a session or for more information about SPARK!, contact the Arts Center at 920-458-6144 or email Participation is free for individual caregivers and participants.

Upcoming SPARK! Events

The SPARK! program offers monthly experiences for adults with
memory loss to share with a friend, family member, or caregiver at no cost.

To register for a session or for more information about SPARK!, contact Jen Balge at 920-458-6144 or

2019 SPARK! Schedule

Wednesday, February 13
10:00–11:30 a.m.
Board games have been shown to be a great way to stimulate the mind. Join us for this program with The GameBoard; we will play games designed to keep the brain active!
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Wednesday, February 20
10:00–11:30 a.m.
Some say chocolate has health benefits—we’re not sure about that, but we know it’s delicious! Learn the rich history of cocoa and then make some tasty chocolate treats with chef Marilyn Montemayor.
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Wednesday, March 27
10:00–11:30 a.m.
Go on a guided tour of the Mise-en-Scène exhibition series that explores immersive installations and how artists use objects and setting to create a scene. Then, get creative with a hands-on project.
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Wednesday, April 10
9:40–11:30 a.m.
Attend a performance of Ananya Dance Theatre, a contemporary Indian American dance company with a social justice philosophy that creates original compositions about the work and dreams of women around the world. Registration is required for this program as seats are limited.
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Wednesday, May 29
10:00–11:30 a.m.
Work with Exhibitions Artist-In-Residence Beatriz Cortez and the Arts Center’s Preschool to get a closer look at Cortez’s sculpture Lakota Porch: A Time Traveler.
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Wednesday, June 26
10:00–11:30 a.m.
Go on a tour of the James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden and make a one-of-a-kind concrete paver. This program will not take place at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center; the address of the sculpture garden is 5634 Evergreen Drive, Sheboygan.
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Wednesday, July 31
10:00–11:30 a.m.
Explore beautiful and interesting plants during an interactive program with Allissa Montgomery from Bookworm Gardens and then, show off your green thumb by potting plants for our flower bed.
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SPARK! Group Visits

SPARK! programs at the Arts Center offer positive social and creative experiences for people living with memory loss that are not dependent on memory skills that are fading or impaired. Whether building a story, making art together, discussing a work of art in the galleries, singing, or dancing, the atmosphere is warm, welcoming, and stimulating. Conversation-based discussion of works of art encourages interaction and a positive exchange of ideas and observations and do not rely on recall. Art-making sessions encourage experimentation and playfulness and are often collaborative.

The Arts Center’s specially trained education staff and volunteers lead programs that emphasize the joy and creativity that can be found in the present moment, drawing on the strengths of the individuals, irrespective of their diagnosis. Programs are designed for individuals with early- to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and can be adapted to the needs of other types of senior groups.

Visits are available Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and can be customized to meet the needs of the group. Prices vary depending on the options selected.

SPARK! is supported by Mersberger Financial Group, Inc.