Spiva Arts Center

(Photo: KSMU/Randy Stewart)

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are utterly devastating to both the person diagnosed with the condition, and to their family and loved ones.  One of the most heartbreaking aspects of Alzheimer’s in particular is not just the memory loss, but that the individual is robbed of language ability and skills, the tools necessary for a person to express him- or herself.

KSMU/Randy Stewart

RANDY: Jo Mueller is the Executive Director of the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in downtown Joplin, the city’s principal visual-arts venue.  With its location on 3rd Street, it was well north of the devastation of the EF-5 tornado that flattened so much of Joplin on May 22, 2011.  But Jo, who is a working artist in media like clay, wire, and watercolor and ink, sustained heavy damage to her own home.  I had talked with her a few years ago, and recently she recounted for me what happened to her home—and a good portion of her artwork.