To position themselves as a place intended for all ages, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art developed a creative aging program series, “Create with The Carle!” These programs offered adults the opportunity to learn new artmaking skills while using the museum’s collection as inspiration. To better accommodate older adult learners, the museum conducted several assessments to determine their facilities’ ability to serve older adults. The process also helped them identify nearby senior service organizations partners.
Supported wholeheartedly by Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) leadership, creative aging programming has become an integral part of the library’s offerings for their older adults. By leveraging pre-existing resources and infrastructure and dedicating support towards the programs, the Brooklyn Public Library has been offering creative aging programming successfully since 2011.
When the COVID-19 crisis began, the staff at Greenwich House in New York City worked tirelessly to ensure that all of their members had access to the meal services that they absolutely rely on. However, in the midst of this lifesaving work, they also knew that they needed to think about how to keep their social, artistic, and learning programs going strong to fulfill the social and creative needs of their membership.
Greenwich House wasted no time pivoting many of their in-person programs to online delivery. Working with their teaching artists and the communications team, nearly 40 percent of their classes are now available to livestream.
Intergenerational programming is traditionally structured in a model that puts the older adult into a mentor role of the younger person. Often it is the younger person who creates the work inspired by the older adult’s storytelling or mentorship.
School One turned this model on its head and created new paths to learning for both the older adults and the younger students. Intentional planning and working closely with their teaching artists led School One to develop a storytelling and performance curriculum that honored the voices and contributions of both older and younger students. Together, people in all generations explored the art form, took risks, shared their stories, and performed as equal players for a public audience.
The dedicated staff and leadership of Johnson City Public Library (JCPL) conducted extensive community surveys and developed new local partnerships to successfully pilot 15 Creative Aging programs over two years. Programs included, “Afro-Caribbean Drumming & Creative Movement,” “Appalachian Music (Banjo and Mandolin),” “Creative Writing,” “Sculpture,” “Photography,” and “Theater.”
This article focuses on a creative aging playwriting workshop that was offered at the Olana State Historic Site until COVID-19 made it impossible for participants to meet in person. The program was shifted to a virtual format, which resulted in a challenging but successful experience with distinct benefits.
In this interview with Lifetime Arts’ Director of Education, Annie Montgomery, she talks about how her passion for theatre inspired her to become a teaching artist, and how a colleague invited her to co-teach one of Lifetime Arts first pilot program at the New York Public Library. This work opened up opportunities for her to do more work in storytelling, memoir and performance in a more organized capacity. Annie shares her experiences working in this field and with older adult learners.
In this interview with poet and artist, Bill Wertheim, he talks about how he got started as a teaching artist, and how he later met Ed Friedman and Maura O’Malley at the Town of Pelham Public Library while teaching poetry/memoir classes. He connected with the work at Lifetime Arts and his career in the Creative Aging took off. Bill shares his experiences with working with older adults, the most satisfying parts of this work, and more.
In this interview with literary teaching artist, Mary Crescenzo, she talks about her first experience with teaching older adult learners, and how this experience led her to instruct adult education courses in theater, visual, and literary arts at various colleges in New York, Tulsa, and Santa Fe. This also led to her creation of an arts and Alzheimer’s program using watercolor, music and movement, called “An ABC Approach to Alzheimer’s Awareness and Care Through the Arts.”
In this interview with poet and teaching artist, Dave Johnson, he talks about how he got started as a teaching artist at Poets House, a poetry library in New York City. His teaching artist career led him to teaching poetry workshops to older adults in Brooklyn libraries, but mostly in senior centers, day centers, nursing homes and live-in facilities. Dave also shares his experiences working with older adults, along with the skills, challenges, surprises and rewards.