ARTZ Philadelphia               610-721-1606



ARTZ Philadelphia is an organization that links artists and cultural institutions to people living with dementia and their care partners. Influenced by science and sociology, ARTZ uses artistic and cultural experiences as keys to unlock creativity, create new memories, strengthen relationships, and replace fear with hope. ARTZ recognizes the wholeness that is inherent in each person, regardless of a diagnosis. We celebrate each person's capacity to fully participate in the journey of life. We believe that access to creative expression is essential to our human experience.

Susan Shifrin, Ph.D., Director, ARTZ Philadelphia

Susan Shifrin is a teaching art historian, museum educator and curator, and arts accessibility advocate. She received her PhD from Bryn Mawr College and has worked on the curatorial and education staffs of a number of large and small museums. She is the founding director of ARTZ Philadelphia, a new “It Takes a Village” and I’m Still Here Foundation affiliate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“In the course of my professional life, I have worked as a curator, a director of museum education, and as a teacher in higher education. My art historical scholarship and my work as a museum professional and academic have always revolved around the interactions of objects and viewers within a social context. As a curator and museum educator, my primary passion has always led me toward facilitating viewer inclusion, engagement, and participation. And as a teacher of college students, my approach is discussion-centered, inquiry-centered, and student-centered. Over the past several years, my arts-based outreach efforts have turned to serving and engaging community members living with disabilities, including those living with the diagnosis and experiences of Alzheimer's disease. Again, viewer inclusion, engagement, and participation are the keys. Even as I continue to work as a scholar and educator, I have been privileged to expand my own horizons through civic and social engagement with these new stakeholders, learning from them and from the colleagues who work with me in this process.”


If you are interested in learning more about ARTZ Philadelphia’s programs, including partnerships, or if you would like to volunteer with us, please contact Susan Shifrin at or at 610 721-1606.

Erin Beck, volunteer, ARTZ Philadelphia

Erin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's class of 2013. She majored in Visual Studies with a concentration in the Science and Philosophy of Vision and minors in Art History and Chemistry. During her senior year, she used her thesis as an opportunity to study the intersection of her interests in medical science and visual arts. Under the guidance of Dr. Murray Grossman and Dr. Jason Karlawish of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania she studied the stylistic changes of a trained artist suffering from early onset semantic dementia as her disease progressed. The experience not only embodied Erin’s passion for interdisciplinary clinical research, but also introduced her to the fascinating opportunity of producing and viewing artwork as a nonpharmacological approach to dementia treatment.

After reading I’m Still Here, Erin says, her “desire to become involved in the initiatives of the ARTz program was undeniable. The empathetic and compassionate approach to dealing with Alzheimer’s, especially using art as a means of emphasizing capabilities rather than disabilities, has largely inspired the ambitions of my own career of advocacy for this topic. I am excited about the creation of the ARTZ Philadelphia affiliate in a community with a medical field committed to Alzheimer's research and also with a rich artistic pulse!”


 ARTZ Philadelphia         610-721-1606