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Screenshot of a 3-D, augmented art exhibition.

Careful Planning, Continuous Refinement, Innovative Solutions for Online Programming in San Juan, PR

In September and October 2020, Museo de Historia, Antropología, y Arte in San Juan delivered a new, fully-online visual arts program, La Vida es un Arte 2.0, (Life is an Art Form 2.0) during strict COVID-19 quarantine and lockdown measures. The program drew in raves from 40 participants who learned how to draw with materials found in the home during 4 two-hour sessions last fall. Through careful planning and continuous refinement, the hands-on museum staff worked through the challenges of remote delivery format, internet access stability, technical support, and delivering an engaging culminating event online. Their innovative thinking led to a unique culminating event that showcased participant work in a 3-D, augmented reality display.

Learn more about this program in our latest case study, “Careful Planning and Continuous Refinement: Online Programming Success for Museo de Historia, Antropología, y Arte.”

The Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico is part of the 2019-2020 Seeding Vitality Arts (SVA) in Museums Initiative cohort funded by Aroha Philanthropies with training and technical assistance provided by Lifetime Arts.

 

 

Collaborative project by participants at The Field Library in Peekskill, NY

Art Made By Older Adults Looks Like ART

Creative Aging Participants Create Memorable and Impressive Artwork. Period.

“Mural Memories” at The Field Library in Peekskill, NY

Bringing older adults together with experienced, mature local artists, “Mural Memories” at The Field Library in Peekskill, NY engaged participants in creating a large public mural entitled “Scrambled Flowers” a re-envisioning of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” in celebration of Peekskill’s Dutch background.

This is a photo of Maura O'Malley. Maura has short, red, curly hair, and is wearing a magenta topi. Credit: Jeremy Amar
Maura O’Malley, co-founder and CEO of Lifetime Arts. Credit: Jeremy Amar

Students each painted 12″X12″ canvases when combined, resulted in a 5′ X 7′ permanent mural which was installed on the exterior of the Field Library. I loved many things about this project:

  • “Mature local artists” working side-by-side with the participants
  • The methodology: teaching painting skills to build toward a communal product
  • The thematic connection: bringing in local history and sense of place
  • The permanent installation: celebrating the work and creativity of older adults in the public space
Write Out!: A Senior Memoir Writing Course at The LOFT LGBT Center, White Plains, NY
Fingerprints: An Anthology from Write Out! at The LOFT LGBT Center in White Plains, NY, supported by The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation
Fingerprints: An Anthology from Write Out! at The LOFT LGBT Center in White Plains, NY, supported by The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

We’re used to hearing coming out stories from young people, but hearing these stories told from the point of view of people who came out as older adults is doubly poignant.

This is a photo of Ed Friedman. Ed is wearing a suit and tie. He has short hair and a goatee. He is wearing glasses. Credit: Jeremy Amar
Ed Friedman, co-founder and Executive Director, Lifetime Arts. Credit: Jeremy Amar

The Q &A session that followed led to many in the audience expressing regrets that they hadn’t taken this class and would be sure to do so should the opportunity arise. The anthology produced featured a sampling of the stories told at the culminating event.

Selected Examples of Student Work from Other Creative Aging Programs

Participant work from a sculpture program at Johnson City Public Library in TN, part of Aroha Philanthropies' Seeding Vitality Arts US initiative
Participant work from a sculpture program at Johnson City Public Library in TN, part of Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts US initiative
Audio Extra

Listen to Johnson City Public Library participant, Richard Hood’s thoughts about his surprising experience in this bird sculpture workshop, and how registering for this creative aging workshop changed his life for the better at a critical moment. Richard’s letter is read by Ed Friedman.

 

Flamenco at Diana H. Jones Innovative Senior Center taught by Glenda Sol Koeraus for SU-CASA. Credit: Jeremy Amar
Flamenco at Diana H. Jones Innovative Senior Center taught by Glenda Sol Koeraus for SU-CASA, a program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department for the Aging. Credit: Jeremy Amar

 

Participant work from Beading with the Big Chief Darryl Montana, part of Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums at the Louisiana State Museum
Participant work from Beading with the Big Chief Darryl Montana at the Louisiana State Museum, part of Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums

 

Participant signing his digital photograph, Miami-Dade Library System, Arcola Lakes Branch, part of Creative Aging in America's Libraries, , funded by the IMLS
Participant signing his digital photograph, Miami-Dade Library System, Arcola Lakes Branch, part of Creative Aging in America’s Libraries, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services

 

LAAN/Phoenix Public Library participant displaying finished watercolor works.
LAAN/Phoenix Public Library participant displaying finished watercolor works

 

Participant work from Union County Heritage Museum, part of Aroha Philanthropies' Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums
Participant work from Union County Heritage Museum, part of Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums
A live creative aging training in New York City, delivered by Lifetime Arts' Annie Montgomery and Antonia Perez.

As Programming Goes, So Does Training (Online)

Below are links to free, online creative aging training recordings, as well as highlights of upcoming training opportunities in the U.S.

The pandemic has not only impaired the ability to offer in-person programming to older adults, but it has impacted capacity-building efforts related to professional development and training.

From “Blended” to All Online (All the Time)

Traditionally, creative aging training is best delivered in person where teaching artists, community educators, and programmers can participate in immersive, experiential lessons and mock workshops.

Annie Montgomery, Director of Education at Lifetime Arts, has redesigned training delivery to incorporate synchronous online sessions, supported by asynchronous learning via digital materials and reference. Two of Lifetime Arts’ current statewide, cross-sector initiatives: a partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), and the Creative Aging in Wyoming Public Libraries Initiative in partnership with the Wyoming Arts Council and Wyoming State Library, will employ this approach.

Recent Training Recordings Available to All

Creative Aging 101,” is an abridged version of Lifetime Arts’ in-person curriculum designed as a primer for anyone looking for an introduction to creative aging programming delivery. Adapting Creative Aging Course Design for Remote Program Delivery” (PDF), is a set of guidelines designed to help teaching artists and programmers adapt their curricula for remote delivery.

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

From August to September, the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies (NASAA) hosted the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Teaching Artists Virtual Retreat, a virtual series of online conferences that brought together arts education professionals from across the Mid-Atlantic region to build and strengthen a regional network of highly qualified teaching artists. Lifetime Arts’ Julie Kline delivered the session, “Creative Aging During COVID-19.” (All presentations are available to watch in the video playlist above.)

Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge

In September, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge hosted the 2020 Louisiana Arts Summit in partnership with the Louisiana Division of the Arts, which offered teaching artists, arts organizations, educators, and community members opportunities for discussion, networking, and professional development. Annie Montgomery and Julie Kline delivered another virtual session on the topic of creative aging programming during COVID-19.

Fall 2020 Training Opportunities

New York City

From October through December, the Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) is seeking Brooklyn-based teaching artists to facilitate a series of virtual creative salons for teaching artists. Each session will focus on facilitating a creative exercise/process for participants around the theme of “2020.”

State of Maryland

In November, as part of Maryland State Department of Education’s Micro-Credentials for Creative Classrooms courses, Lifetime Arts will facilitate a professional development series in creative aging for up to 25 independent, community-based teaching artists. This three-day remote training will give teaching artists the opportunity to learn about the history, supporting research, and exemplary programming happening in the creative aging field, experience a demonstration of andragogical approaches, learn about the best practices for both in-person and remote programming, with a focus on online delivery, and more.

National Guild for Community Arts Education

From December 2020 through January 2021, the National Guild for Community Arts Education will present Rootwork: Grounding Community Arts Education Beyond the Pandemic, a virtual online learning series designed specifically for cultural workers on creating programming informed by, and supportive of, the many, varied lived experiences of our communities in the unique context of this moment. The series will feature the session, “Combating Ageism in a Socially Distanced World,” presented by Montgomery and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, Mary Moore Easter.

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