Research: Art contributes to healthy aging

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times

ALAMO, N.M. and NEW ORLEANS, La., Dec. 12, 2013

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(Special to the Times – Colleen Keane)

GSA President Larry Rubenstein tells a crowded room of scientists and researchers that their work will help improve aging outcomes for the better.

Carefully dragging out a large, clear plastic container from her bedroom closet, Marlene Herrera, a member of the Alamo Navajo community said, "I'm glad I saved these."

Opening the lid, she pulls out a red, brown and black saddle blanket her great aunt Minnie Martine weaved.

Then, she pulls out several woven by her mother, Isabelle Pino-Thomas.

Altogether, there are 12 weavings mostly of the distinctive and colorful eye-dazzler design.

Thomas, 78, grew up in Alamo, N.M., a satellite community of the Navajo Nation located about 200 miles from Window Rock.

From Albuquerque, Alamo is a two-hour drive southwest through Socorro, then to Magdalena. From there, it's another 28 miles north on a road that winds uphill into high desert canyons, hills and mountains.

Looking more closely at the rugs and blankets, Herrera wonders how she can help her mother document and archive her work, which she said is spread across the country in different museums.

Some she knows about. But, there could be others.

At the same time, Herrera wants to do all she can to help her mother maintain good health as she gets older.

Herrera is not alone in these concerns.

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