Unforgettable Art New Artist Spotlight: Devan

The health and safety of our volunteers, staff and all of our constituents are our top priority as we continue to pursue our mission. Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and based on the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC, Unforgettable Art originally planned for April 25 will be rescheduled.

Unforgettable Art is an annual event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter. A lively evening filled with creativity, artists convert blank canvases into beautiful works of art in front of your eyes. Featuring live music, appetizers and drinks, there is no shortage of entertainment making this evening truly unforgettable. The artists donate their time and talents for this event, ending with a live auction of all artwork. Proceeds benefit research, advocacy and resources for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. To showcase these wonderful and dedicated creators we are featuring our first NEW Unforgettable Artist Spotlight!

“My name is Devan and I am a self-taught artist who specializes in marker art. My art is inspired by the textures of Van Gogh, the style of Dr. Suess, and the colors of Peter Max. I combine the style of these famous artists to create a unique style of my own. I primarily use Sharpies but also have branched out to using Prisma and Copic markers too. I use the markers in a way that I have yet to see another artist do, I carefully layer and time my creating process to create one of a kind textures. I use these textures to make everything from ethereal nature scenes, beautiful women, and one of a kind cartoons. 

“Void Vixen”

I have been a professional artist for 10 years. My love for markers started when I began my career as an artist. I wanted to do something different based on my favorite artist Van Gogh, so I came up with the idea of creating textures with markers. I started taking commissions at 17 years old, wrote and illustrated a children’s book when I was 20 years old (this book is still not seen by the public), and started my first online store at the age of 21. During this time I spent countless hours practicing with the markers, slowly teaching myself new textures. I also taught myself how to draw 150 different animals; everything from different species of cats, dogs, and birds to exotic animals like alligators, giraffes, and sloths.

I decided to participate in Unforgettable Art: An Affair for Alzheimer’s because I wanted to give back to the community. I decided a few years ago when I first started doing art shows to find a way to use my art to give back to the community at least once or twice a year. My family and friends are always looking out for new opportunities for me to showcase my art. One of my parents found this event and while it specifically asked for painters, I applied anyway. I have a few family members that suffer from this disease so it means a lot to me that I was accepted. 

“Typical Tuesday”

While my art is my main focus I do find time to enjoy some hobbies. I like to consider myself a hippie, so I enjoy going on nature walks when the weather allows, usually I take my cat Punkin. Punkin is my best friend and has been my rock through my ups and downs of dealing with depression and anxiety. I have also been able to deal with my mental illnesses through my love for live music, I’ve seen over 50 bands/musicians, each time dealing with the crowds gets easier. I also love to hang out with my two best friends, we are always finding something fun to do, even if it’s just some good food and great conversation. I live a pretty simple life for the most part – just enjoying all the little things and making beautiful art.”

We are beyond thrilled to have Devan on board as one of our new artists this year. Find more information and images of Devan’s work below: 

Devan’s website

Devan on Facebook and Instagram: @devantheartist

Email: devantheartist@yahoo.com

Tickets to Unforgettable Art

Unforgettable Art Artist Spotlight: Nadja Schutt

The health and safety of our volunteers, staff and all of our constituents are our top priority as we continue to pursue our mission. Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and based on the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC, Unforgettable Art originally planned for April 25 will be rescheduled.

Unforgettable Art is an annual event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter. A lively evening filled with creativity, artists convert blank canvases into beautiful works of art in front of your eyes. Featuring live music, appetizers and drinks, there is no shortage of entertainment making this evening truly unforgettable. The artists donate their time and talents for this event, ending with a live auction of all artwork. Proceeds benefit research, advocacy and resources for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.  To showcase these wonderful and dedicated creators we are featuring another Unforgettable Artist Spotlight – Nadja Schutt. 

A lover of color and texture from an early age, Nadja opened her first shop in 2009. Fresh out of art school, NASchuttDesign took shape and Nadja commenced her journey of creative expression. Featuring handcrafted works of art in the form of brooches, pendants, bracelets and other wearable bead sculptures, Nadja began perfecting her craft. After several years of success in the beading trade, Nadja’s art began to diffuse across mediums. She began to paint on silk, a practice she learned from her Oma (grandmother) in Germany as a child. Her silk work featured intricate floral designs, inspired by her love for her grandmothers. 

“As time progressed and the matriarchs in my family began to move into the next stages of life, the concept of home and memories began to take form in the current Haus and Window Watcher series. Brilliant colors and playful expressions are intimate takes on past and present memories”. Nadja seeks to capture the everpresent drive for exploration that she believes sticks with us from childhood with imagery of joy, playfulness, and happiness. 

Nadja attributes much of her artistic influence to her late grandmother, Bonnie Schutt. A frequenter of her grandmother’s in-home craft room, Nadja discovered her love for colorful creation at a young age. Together they made scrapbooks, decorations, and painted small figurines. As she got older and became an artist, Nadja’s grandmother was her go-to helper when it came to preparing for craft shows. 

The artistic assistance diminished when Bonnie began to show signs of dementia. Nadja remained a dedicated crafting partner and still visited for craft room adventures and brought her grandmother along to the craft store for mini field trips. Eventually moved into a memory care facility, Bonnie continued expressing herself through art by participating in all of the group art projects that she could. A creative and passionate soul was lost when Bonnie passed due to complications of dementia in 2017. 

Later that same year, Nadja discovered Unforgettable Art and became one of our incredible and dedicated artists. “My Grandma was a very creative person, I couldn’t think of a better way to remember and honor her than by taking part in Unforgettable Art”. You can check out her work and learn more about Nadja’s art here, or visit her on Instagram @naschuttdesign. 

Tickets to Unforgettable Art

Unforgettable Art Artist Spotlight: Todd Lorenc

The health and safety of our volunteers, staff and all of our constituents are our top priority as we continue to pursue our mission. Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and based on the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC, Unforgettable Art originally planned for April 25 will be rescheduled.

Unforgettable Art is an annual event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter. A lively evening filled with creativity, artists convert blank canvases into beautiful works of art in front of your eyes. Featuring live music, appetizers and drinks, there is no shortage of entertainment making this evening truly unforgettable. The artists donate their time and talents for this event, ending with a live auction of all artwork. Proceeds benefit research, advocacy and resources for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.  To showcase these wonderful and dedicated creators we are featuring another Unforgettable Artist Spotlight – Todd Lorenc.

Already an avid cartoonist, Todd began painting in high school. He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he received his associate’s degree in commercial art and illustration. As a freelance artist, Todd focuses on music-themed paintings as well as music itself as a form of artistic expression- on his ukulele! Todd uses Instagram to showcase his work and Youtube for all things musical. You can check out his work here

A veteran Unforgettable Artist since its inception year, Todd has been making live art for the event dating back to 2003, as well as providing ukulele performances to open the night. He originally learned of the event through Hobby Lobby, and after little convincing decided to participate in honor of his late grandmother Emma Paluzzi Lorenc who had Alzheimer’s disease. 

To see more of Todd’s work, follow him on Instagram @toddlorencukulelemusic

Tickets to Unforgettable Art

Alone With Myself: A Tribute to Those Affected By Memory Loss

On February 28th and March 1st, Chicago-based professional vocal ensembles La Caccina and Constellation Men’s Ensemble combine forces to confront themes of memory, loss, and aging. A portion of the proceeds from all tickets sold will go to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter for the advancement of care, support and research for those affected by the disease. One of the co-founders of Constellation Men’s Ensemble, Ryan Townsend Strand, shares his connection to the cause. 

“I’m originally from Minnetonka, MN and am a graduate of Hopkins High School. I received my Bachelor’s degree in music from California Lutheran University and my Master’s of Music degree from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. I currently live in Edgewater here in Chicago. When I’m not singing, I enjoy running and being outside, experimenting with recipes in the kitchen, playing with my kitten Charlie and listening to Podcasts. My favorite vacation spot is Grand Marais, MN, a beautiful town on Lake Superior that prides itself on art, food and natural beauty. Northern Minnesota is always the place that I feel the most myself.

I’m a founding member of Constellation Men’s ensemble. In 2013, I was asked by co-founders Lennie Cottrell and Derek Boemler to join them for what then was simply getting together Saturday mornings to sing and then share a beer. The organization was incorporated as a non-profit in 2015 and I was appointed as its executive director in 2016. Since then, I’ve founded our NOVA new music series, produced over a dozen concerts, and sung each season with CME. It is a highlight of my musical career.

The inspiration for Alone With Myself comes from my experience with Alzheimer’s disease. Both of my grandparents, Jone & Charles Gedge, or Nana and Papa as I knew them, were huge supporters of me and music even from a young age. Some of my first memories of them include being asked to play piano at their house. They lived on the North Shore of Chicagoland for many years and we would often take family road trips to visit them. When they retired to Naples, Florida our visits were even more iconic with mini-golf, dinner theater, and endless games of cards. Our bond was special. I learned etiquette, respect, passion and family values. By the time my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, I was in college in California. I began to take up writing postcards when I could, following in my Uncle Skip’s path who wrote his father, my Papa, one postcard per day for years until the day he died. 

Visits were far more erratic, with his behavior often landing him in trouble with the assisted living staff. He was always a jokester, but there was an unrecognizable person making jokes at the expense of others rather than inviting people to laugh with him. My Nana began to experience innocent visions, often telling us of a little girl who would appear. Over the summers after my grandfather’s death, I often would make time to be with my Nana,  but she was far more fragile, unsure of herself, and much time was spent explaining situations to her to keep her from being confused. So much of their life consisted of gifting me experiences and teaching me things that it felt like a closing of the circle to be the one giving experiences to them and explaining things to them. I’m forever grateful for my relationship with both of them before they passed, but the loss of self was never easy to swallow.

When we came together over a year ago to discuss the second collaboration between La Caccina and Constellation Men’s Ensemble, the energy was palpable (not only thanks to the coffee). I had been part of the world premiere of Rob Maggio’s The Woman Where We Are Living in 2014 with The Crossing in Philadelphia and knew that I wanted to perform the work again in Chicago. After our last collaboration with La Caccina, I knew that our combined forces would be perfect for bringing to life this complex and impassioned work. The concerts promise to be beautiful and hopeful, with powerful music at its core. Losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s or dementia is often an isolating and lonely experience. My hope for these concerts is to see people of all ages coming together in community for an experience to grieve, to pay tribute, to honor, and to process all of the many facets of memory loss. Through our ticket sales, a portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, and I would love to see us make an impactful gift thanks to our supporters.”

Tickets to Alone With Myself 

Ryan’s professional website  

Constellation Men’s Ensemble Website

La Caccina’s Website

“The Support Goes On and On”

By: Pastor Jeanette Jordan

I married the love of my life, Robert Andrew Jordan, on July 29, 1962. He was twenty and I was seventeen. Fifty-five years later our story of love and happiness, good times and bad, ups and downs, twists and turns, from poverty to prosperity had enough guiding light that it was turned into a published book “From Suspenders to Stethoscope…the Dr. Jordan Story.” This story was released June 30, 2017, the day which was the last day of work for my husband, Robert A. Jordan, M.D., the pediatrician, a graduate from Rush Medical College,the first African American Chief Resident at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, a well known and respected physician who was known for the quality of patient care he gave to thousands of children during his time in practice. He believed that no matter what one’s socioeconomic orientation may be, or ethnicity or gender or religious affiliation – everyone deserved the best of healthcare. Yet this dedicated clinician had been diagnosed with dementia.

It was in January of 2014 that I finally came out of denial and came to terms with what was going on with my husband. I shared with our five children as well as Bob’smother and sisters my fear of what was later confirmed – he had dementia. I became more observant of the changes in his behavior. He would call me from his office two or three times a day to ask how my day was going and I would share with him I was doing or had done but a few minutes later he would call again, and ask the exact same question. When I would say you just called me and asked me that, he would laugh and say, ‘“Oh I was just kidding.” He was an avid golfer and would golf at least two to three times per week with his buddies or on his off days and special occasions. However, I began to notice his buddies stopped calling to include him in their golf outings. I eventually realized it was probably because he would interrupt the game when he couldn’t find his phone or misplaced his keys, everyone would have to go on the hunt only to find that his keys were in his pocket and/or his phone in the compartment of the golf cart. He stopped being excited about our golfing together. His interest in reading the bible, which he loved to do, diminished.

We were a physician pastor team and our dialogue with one another about our passions was slowly coming to a halt. I would ask him to stop by the store on his way home from the office to get a loaf of bread, or pick salad fixings and would come with everything but. Around late 2015 his staff started calling me to ask if Dr. Jordan had come home for lunch because it was way past his lunch hour and he had not returned. He once called me to say he had gone to pick up lunch for the staff but he was confused and couldn’t find his way back to the office. He seemed scared and panicky, but I was able to direct him home using landmarks and street signs after about 30 minutes. 

I was taking care of my 86 year old sister who was a double amputee, and he would ask the same questions about her condition over and over. In early 2016 I finally convinced him to let me make him an appointment to see our Primary Care Physician to be evaluated for possible memory loss- he wasn’t happy with the suggestion and went hesitantly. My husband was so crafty that he convinced our doctor that nothing was wrong with him, but rather he was preoccupied. When the doctor suggested that he could do a memory loss assessment just to rule out what we suspected, Bob refused. I can remember leaving the office in dismay, frustrated not knowing what to do.

I began to watch his behavior even more closely. His routine of getting up at 7 am, showering, getting dressed, making and drinking a cup of coffee, stopping by McDonald’s to get some oatmeal before going to the office began to change. He started sleeping later and later. His impeccable dress was a little off and it would take him forever to complete the dressing task; he was constantly misplacing his wallet or his phone or his keys. Every morning was a search for something that he had misplaced. When I located the item he would fuss and say “who put it there?”. I notice that his demeanor was changing and he would get irritated often. He started to get up earlier to get ready for work, sometimes as early as 6 am when office hours weren’t until 9 a.m, leaving him to pace back and forth until it was time to leave. He stopped calling his mother, I would have to remind him. He forgot that our daughter’s fiance had flown in from California to ask him for our daughter’s hand in marriage. They had a long wonderful conversation and he gave his blessing. When the day came that she called to say they were on their way to get married, he became angry and claimed he’d never met the man. He began to take longer and longer to come home. As things got progressively worse, my children and I started preparing for Dr. Jordan’s retirement. We found a psychiatrist who convinced him to do a memory loss test and diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s. A second opinion confirmed this diagnosis. He was placed on medication, which he initially refused to take. We reduced his hours at his office, my oldest daughter immediately pitched in by becoming the office administrator to help prepare for his retirement. He was resistant to retiring but we finally convinced him it was time to enjoy life outside of medicine, he was now 75 years old and God had given him the ability to practice 10 years beyond retirement age.


July 3, 2017 was the first day of retirement for Dr. Jordan. On that day he got up early,got dressed in his suit and tie, put on his lab jacket, and began searching high and low for his stethoscope and car keys. On that day my duties as a caregiver began. Trying to get him to understand that he no longer had to go to work was a daily struggle. He was concerned with how we were going to survive, eat, and pay bills. This question went on all day practically every day. I eventually had to go write out our income sources and put it in his wallet so that he could visually see the numbers and understand for a short period of time that we were going to be alright. We had to move from our home which was now much to big for me to handle and seemed to be a trigger for his unhappiness. Not being able to drive the car that sat in the garage made him angry, not being able to go to the office to care for the children confused him. I was becoming frustrated, angry and confused. I hadn’t experienced or know anyone suffering from this disease and had no point of reference. I cried daily. My children insisted that I connect with a support group, so I started with the support group at South Suburban Hospital in Hazelcrest, IL, I then reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association of Illinois. After having attended an Alzheimer’s Association forum at Palos Hospital in Palos, Illinois where I shared my story I was asked if I would be interested in volunteering as a caregiver speaker for the Association and I gladly did so. I also- signed up to become a participant in the Emory University Tele-Savvy Caregiver Program which is a training program for caregivers. I needed to know all there was to know about being an informed caregiver, I knew how to be a wife but now I needed to know as a wife how to be a good caregiver for my husband. I’ve learned that I’m more than a caregiver, I am a clinician for my husband.

This journey has touched my heart so deeply that I now have a need and calling to be an advocate, not just for my husband, but for all who are affected by this disease. My husband as well as all who suffer deserve to be cared for with respect, dignity, honor and a deeper kind of love. Even though my plans were to care for him at home till death would separate us, my children and I had to make the dreaded decision in October of 2019 to place Dr. Robert A. Jordan in a long term care facility. He had begun to wander off, once having to be found by the police and brought back home. That was the most frightening day of my life. Then he was becoming aggressive toward me, my daughter and nephew; he was extremely agitated and depressed. In his new community he has become very calm and more social with the other residents. I find solace in sharing what I’m learning and experiencing every day. 

One key I have learned is that self-care is most important. If I’m not healthy, I can’t see to it that my husband is cared for properly. During the time I was caring for my husband at home I was anxious, tired, short-fused, crying daily and suffering sleepless nights. I needed to share my feelings with someone who wouldn’t judge or criticize how I was feeling, so my children encouraged me to see a therapist. This was the best decision I could have made because she help me to work through my feelings of fear and frustrations by focusing on self-care. I gave myself permission to enjoy my life through spiritual disciplines, outings with friends, or enjoying free time with recreational activities.  I have been blessed with an awesome support team, my daughters, my church family, my Nephew, my God Son together with his daughter and Dr Jordan’s colleagues who visit him often. My two children who live out of state come to surprise their Dad and I as often as they can, but with today’s technology we FaceTime them when we visit.

This support team allows me the flexibility to take trips to see my children and grandchildren who live out of state or to just do a getaway! I’m thankful for my support groups, the friends who have not abandoned us, my children who are the best, my colleagues, Bob’s colleagues, Bob’s agency caregiver, who still visits him, my church family and the support goes on and on. The vows we took 57 years ago have even more meaning to me now, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health we’ll be one till death parts us!”