Wallace State student embarking on special project for area families affected by Alzheimer’s, dementia 

Wallace State Community College student Aaron Holder created an 18-by-24-inch graphite portrait of his wife Danielle and her grandmother, sparking an idea for a future exhibit he’s calling “A Memory That Never Fades.” He is looking for submissions of photographs he can use to create more drawings for the exhibition.  

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — When Aaron Holder gave his wife Danielle a hand-drawn portrait of her and her “Granny” for Christmas, he didn’t know at the time that it would spark the idea for a special art exhibit project. But that sketch done in pencil was the impetus for “A Memory That Never Fades,” an exhibit he hopes to show at The Evelyn Burrow Museum at Wallace State and elsewhere in the future.

Holder, a 2019 graduate of Wallace State Community College’s Visual Communications Program, is currently taking classes at WSCC in preparation to transfer to Athens State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, with a minor in Marketing.

The goal of his exhibit project is to collect photos of a family member with a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, from which Holder can sketch a portrait, and help to preserve a memory.

When Holder gave his wife the large-scale portrait of her and her grandmother, he said she was very excited about it and very emotional. “I got to thinking that I could do this for other people and develop a project that would touch more people’s lives,” Holder said.

Holder is currently looking for subjects who would be willing to let him create a sketch from a photograph or image they submit. He said he’s hoping to complete 25 to 30 drawings for a future exhibit. He said he has a few already.

“I’ve got images from early stage to end stage,” he said. “There’s a big difference in the aesthetic of what’s going on in the picture.”

The only restriction for submissions, Holder said, is to limit the number of subjects in each picture to two. Otherwise, submitters can send the image they prefer. “Just any memory that they want to hold on to,” he said, adding families are encouraged to provide a background story to go with the image.

Those featured in the exhibit won’t be able to keep the original artwork, which will be designated for exhibition, but they will receive a free 8-by-10 art paper copy. Holder said he hopes to make the exhibit an annual event and build onto it each year. Should he receive more submissions than the 25 to 30 he’s seeking initially, Holder said he may save the extra for future exhibitions.

“I’m really hoping that when this exhibit gets put on, that the community gets to share the moments that these families are having,” Holder said.

Burrow Museum staff are already looking forward to hosting what promises to be a moving, engaging exhibition by a talented alumnus.

“I think it’s a great concept,” said Adrian Scott, head of the Art Department at Wallace State. “I love it in terms of working with clientele and something so emotional and involved with the people he would be doing the portraits of.”

Scott said he’s not surprised at Holder’s ambition. “He’s always shown great initiative,” he said. “He’s always had big ideas and has a heart for things like that.”

Anyone interested in submitting an image for the project can contact Holder via email at designdenal@gmail.com.

Wallace State celebrates the stories of students and alumni in April, which is designated as Community College Month, and all year long. If you would be willing to share your Wallace State story please email communications@wallacestate.edu.   Registration for Summer also begins this month on April 14.  Visit www.wallacestate.edu to learn more.