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Artist Doug Wagner displaying in our Meeting Room

March 2023

Doug Wagner is a painter who specializes in abstract acrylic paintings. The artist, who was diagnosed with early-onset atypical Alzheimer's disease in 2019, paints on horizontal surfaces, enabling him to view and drip paint on the canvas from as many angles as possible. This extreme form of abstraction—combined with his changing skillsets with movement, language, memory, and spatial perception—bring a sense of emotion and immediacy to his work.

Science has come a long way, but there are still many aspects of the brain we do not understand. To say the least, day-to-day life can be overwhelming for anyone with or impacted by changing cognitive functioning. After his diagnosis, Doug chose to concentrate on what he can still do—to express himself and to give back.

Doug is a retired social worker. His 30-year career with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families was fueled by his lifelong desire to enhance human wellbeing and help meet the needs—both basic and complex—of all people with a particular focus on those who are systemically underserved.

This exhibit aims to generate positive discussion about the critical role art and community play in navigating aging, life changes, and dementia.