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Volume 25, Number 4 — April 2018

Arts Calendar

April Events Introduce Living Creatively with Parkinson’s Disease

April Events Introduce Living Creatively with Parkinson’s Disease

Date(s):  April 04 - 27, 2018
Location:  Knoxville,

KNOXVILLE, TN — " The Arts & Culture Alliance presents a new project, presentation, and exhibition entitled “Living Creatively with Parkinson’s Disease,” which introduce recent research demonstrating that Parkinson’s disease, coupled with intake of dopamine-based medication, is causing some people to be more creative. The project is designed by Knoxville architect David Denton and sponsored by Michelle L. Brewer, M.D. of the Cole Neuroscience Center at UT Medical Center. The public is invited to all activities, which are free and take place at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville.

Numerous people have reported that before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease they had not engaged in any particular creative activity, and after the onset of the disease, they took up creative activities such as poetry, painting, and photography. Likewise, many people who were already creative have reported a surge in their artistic output. The research has concluded that when involved in an intense creative activity, the brain produces more dopamine, and the symptoms of the disease are reduced.

The exhibition at the Emporium Center is entitled “Creativity and Parkinson’s — Their Stories and Their Art” and is displayed April 6-27. The exhibition features the work of several patients of Dr. Brewer who have experienced this phenomenon and includes painting, photography, poetry, furniture making and more. The displays are designed as a traveling show and will be exhibited in the future in locations such as hospital lobbies.

A special presentation to introduce the exhibition takes place at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 4 featuring the project designer, Knoxville architect David Denton. “I am almost glad to have Parkinson’s disease; not quite, but almost,” says Denton, who never imagined he would utter those words when first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 15 years ago. After doing much research, he was astonished to learn about the phenomenon that explained his growing, almost obsessive urge to create art. He has experienced what scientists have discovered: when involved in a creative activity, the brain produces more dopamine and the symptoms are reduced. They also found that as the disease progresses and the medication is increased, the level of creativity increases also. Denton has founded a support group for people with Parkinson’s disease in the virtual world, and the group has met weekly for more than seven years.

Following a reception Wednesday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m., Denton speaks at 6 p.m., about his experience, and the other artists will be on hand to discuss their personal experiences. For more information, visit

For more information, contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543, or visit the Web site at

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