Some people are born with the God given talent to be an artist. e.g. a painter, sculptor or a musician. The remarkable gift, can be embraced, nurtured and enhanced with learning. Sadly the gift can be discarded too.

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to visit some of the world’s most historic art venues and stood entranced gazing at the works of the Renaissance Masters such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto and Botticelli. The works of Constable and Turner come easily to mind in my native England, as do those of Picasso and van Gogh. There are so many others and the list is almost endless. These Masters left a legacy for the world to enjoy, but there are many more artists today who may not be quite as well known as Picasso, but they too have been celebrated for their achievements.

One such artist is Art Cornell who has become the Memory Matters “Artist in Residence”.

Art Cornell is an acclaimed photographer, published poet and painter of abstract art. His works reside in private and corporate collections throughout the United States. Art is also an art instructor at The Art Academy on Hilton Head, SC. In addition, he has given a number of presentations on being an abstract artist in today’s world. He has also judged numerous art and photography shows throughout the Lowcountry and has won awards for both his art work and photography. Art continues to be recognized as a national Concours automotive judge.

Art has had a busy 2017. He received the honor of First Place-Peoples’ Choice Awards in the January Members’ Show of the Art League of Hilton Head. Then three of his abstract students at the Art Academy received awards in a Judged Show, including First and Second Place and on Honorable Mention. His painting “Steps In A Journey” was just accepted into the Biannual National Juried Exhibition 2017 that will be presented in May at the Art League Of Hilton Head Gallery


I was really pleased to hear that Art had consented to be our Artist in Residence. He is now with us two days per month and I cannot easily find the appropriate words to express my gratitude to him. “Thank you Art” is the least we can say!

Our Memory Care Specialist, Cathee Stegall is also an accomplished artist but Cathee is a very busy person Directing our Connections Class, and she really needed an extra pair of hands. Art’s hands are indeed God given. He told me that he felt grateful and blessed to have been given the ability to paint but his greatest joy is in sharing his gift and empowering others.

When Art first started at Memory Matters he felt a little apprehensive. He was not sure how the participants would respond to his teaching. He told me that he carefully observed their reaction. To him they were acutely aware of their surroundings and also perhaps they were apprehensive too. Art decided to treat them in the same manner as he   treats everyone he meets. He tries to engage, empower and help them smile! Art explained that his joy arrives when they smile and feel comfortable. So as the days went by, Art noticed that the smiles grew broader and the participants were more at ease with him. His Memory Matters “students” have now moved on to an eager anticipation and the artistic results are simply amazing.

Art Cornell has an enormous capacity for compassion and he genuinely wants to help his  students express themselves through artistic painting. To speak with him you know for sure that this is for real.

Three weeks ago I wrote about an amazing mission moment when one of the Connections Class members painted for the first time in 8 years. The gentleman and his lovely wife were thrilled. I described the person’s excitement when leaving the class and included the painting in the blog entitled “The Quangle Wangle’s Hat”. For reasons of confidentiality I called the gentleman “Jim” and his wife “Brenda”.

Now fast forward to this week and Art Cornell has described Jim’s progress. Here I quote from Art himself:

“Jim painted a flower and I asked Jim if he was satisfied”. The answer was “yes”, so I then asked “would you like to paint something else”? Art gave Jim another sheet of paper and in only five minutes Jim had painted a brilliant abstract of a palm tree! To continue to quote Art……..”I was staggered at the speed and ability of this beautiful abstract representation”!



When you read Art Cornell’s website you find these words written about himself:

In its simplest terms, my work is raw emotion expressed in color, line and texture on different background materials. I do not believe in limiting that expression or its representation.

My obligation as an artist is to have each piece engage the viewer over a continuing time frame…then I have succeeded in my work.

Let me add my own words. Art is a wonderful human being who has embraced his gift and is sharing it with those less fortunate than himself. He is empowering and nurturing some amazing brains and enhancing their feeling of wellbeing.

Memory Matters is thrilled and proud to call Art our “Artist in Residence”.


Please share this if you believe it would help someone. Call 1 843 842 6688 Memory Matters office for more information. It’s always confidential. Consider joining our next Brain Boosters program or finding our more about our Connections program. We are a phone call away, here in your local community.

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