Portraits of Dementia

In 2022, over fifty million people are living with dementia globally. In the United States, one in three seniors suffers with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at the time of their death. And yet despite the millions of individuals and families affected, dementia is often a taboo subject with limited public awareness or discourse. A diagnosis can become a mechanism for segregating those affected from society, making it easy to see only the label instead of the individual.

“…be joyful in every moment, because you might not have another one. If you just go to the grocery store, you can be kind to anybody you meet, and that could change their day.” – Bama Bradley, diagnosed with dementia

The typical narrative about dementia tends to focus on the clinical diagnosis or medical status of an individual, and is all too often depicted using fear, despair, and vulnerability. This narrow and incomplete view of dementia quickly becomes a powerful means to distance oneself from their humanity. Portraits of Dementia destigmatizes those living with dementia through moving portraits and stories of lives well lived.

“It is my hope that my story and the stories of others just like me will start a conversation and end the stigma that comes along with this disease. Just maybe I can bring a new face to Alzheimer’s so people know that it can happen to anybody, not just the elderly.” – Carrie Salter-Richardson, diagnosed with dementia

Trained as a journalist, artist Joe Wallace has been a portrait photographer and storyteller for twenty years. Like many, Wallace has a deeply personal connection with dementia. His maternal grandfather and hero, Joe Jenkins, had Alzheimer’s. His maternal grandmother had vascular dementia. And in recent years, his mother has begun her journey with the disease. Wallace was frustrated by the common, one-dimensional narrative of dementia—futility, despair, and loss. These are real and important elements of the dementia journey, but focusing only on the narrowest of views, very little is done to change the stigma of those living with the disease. Wallace feels strongly that to give the audience courage to act in ways large and small, you must show the whole story.

Wallace shows not only the fear, loss, and despair, but also the love, connection, dignity, and powerful humanity that always remain—in the subjects, in the care- partners, and in the families and communities. That is the only path to evolve the narrative and have a positive social change.

People living with dementia must be seen as people first, not as their disease. Public recognition of the enduring humanity of those who live with disabilities, including cognitive disabilities, will decrease fear and stigma. … Joe’s vivid photographs remind us of our shared humanity as well as the uniqueness of each person. -Beth Soltzberg, Director, Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program, Jewish Family & Children’s Service

This exhibition provides opportunities for rich programming and community engagement. Dementia impacts the lives of many people and this exhibition serves as a catalyst for community storytelling, learning, and healing. Artist Joe Wallace continues to add to this project and upon hosting Portraits of Dementia, could be contacted to collect more stories and portraits from your community. Additionally, this exhibition provides each hosting venue with the opportunity to foster new community partnerships. Special tours could be held for those with dementia and their caregivers. There is a powerful opportunity for local connection and collaboration with Alzheimer’s support groups, caregiver support and training, and councils on aging. Wallace has presented the work at university programs for social work and gerontology. Local libraries and agencies could work to archive community stories and photographs. Each booking will come with contact information for the artist, as well as a guide with ample programming resources.


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Tour Schedule

Portraits of Dementia is touring March 2023 through March 2028. The dates below reflect five-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact MoreArt@maaa.org or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • October 21, 2023–January 19, 2024 The Nicolaysen Art Museum
    Casper, WY
  • February 3–April 30, 2024 Littleton Museum
    Littleton, CO
  • May 15–June 20, 2024 Oklahoma City Community College
    Oklahoma City, OK
  • July 5–August 16, 2024 Charles H. MacNider Art Museum
    Mason City, IA
  • September 1–October 5, 2024 Chandler Museum
    Chandler, AZ
  • October 21–November 30, 2024 Collier County Museum
    Naples, FL
  • December 15, 2024–January 19, 2025 30% OFF
  • February 3–March 10, 2025 EKU Center for the Arts
    Richmond, KY
  • March 25–August 16, 2025 Irving Arts Center
    Irving, TX
  • May 15–June 20, 2025
  • July 5–August 16, 2025
  • September 1–October 5, 2025 Refurbishment
    Kansas City, MO
  • October 21–November 30, 2025
  • December 15, 2025–January 19, 2026
  • February 3–March 10, 2026
  • March 25–April 30, 2026
  • May 15–June 20, 2026
  • July 5–August 16, 2026
  • September 1–October 5, 2026
  • October 21–November 30, 2026
  • December 15, 2026–January 19, 2027
  • February 3–March 10, 2027
  • March 25–April 30, 2027
  • May 15–June 20, 2027
  • July 5–August 16, 2027
  • September 1–October 5, 2027
  • October 21–November 30, 2027
  • December 15, 2027–January 19, 2028
  • February 3–March 10, 2028
  • March 25-April 30, 2028
  • May 15-June 20, 2028
  • July 5-August 16, 2028
  • September 1-October 5, 2028 Chelsea District Library
    Chelsea, MI

Exhibition Details

  • Content

    35 framed photographs

  • Curated By


  • Organized By


  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee


  • In-Region Rental Fee


  • Duration

    5-week display

  • Shipping

    Common Carrier

  • Running Feet


  • Square Feet

  • Security


  • Number of Crates/Total Weight


  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.

Downloads & Resources

Click HERE to view and download the Factsheet for Portraits of Dementia.