Since March 2020, the San Francisco Community Music Center (CMC) has developed several new ways to adapt their Older Adult Choir Program (OACP), which serves nearly 400 older adults in senior centers throughout San Francisco, to a successful online learning platform. To keep their dynamic choir communities connected during COVID-19, the CMC worked with their senior center partners, where brick and mortar choirs take place, to create instructional videos on their YouTube Channel, which led to implementing sessions on Zoom.
Stagebridge is the nation’s oldest and most renowned theatre company for older adults. Founded in Oakland, CA in 1978 by Dr. Stuart Kendall, the organization’s mission is to enrich the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts.
When COVID-19 forced teachers and students at Stagebridge to shelter in place, their programming was between sessions. Staff took time to decide how to proceed with their popular Performing Arts Institute, which offers classes in acting, musical theater, tap and modern dance, devised and playback theater, storytelling, and stand-up comedy.
Lifetime Arts Roster Teaching Artist, Greacian Goeke, has taught her signature class, “Free to Move: Expressive Movement & Rhythm for Brain & Body Health,” at the Albany Senior Center outside of Oakland, CA for the last 10 years. The class is an opportunity to, “…interact and explore the expressive language of movement, sharpening both physical and mental agility.”
Greacian and her students were devastated when COVID-19 forced the Albany Senior Center to shut down. However, she immediately reached out to her students to propose continuing online via Zoom.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has a long history of offering art-making classes for all ages, and the museum staff has witnessed the transformative power of the creative process.
LACMA used an intentional process to actively integrate their creative aging programming into the overall mission of the museum. By designing a studio class with goals specific to an older audience, LACMA recognized an opportunity to increase its value as a resource for adults to build confidence, self-worth, and community.
The Museum developed evaluation tools across the course of the program to measure artistic, social, and emotional outcomes. The whole staff worked together to develop language about why this program was important and why it would serve older adults, in order to successfully incorporate it into their list of services, and ensure its sustainability. The organization integrated the assessments and program evaluation into the everyday practice of the program on an ongoing basis. The resulting collection of quantitative and qualitative data adds scope and breadth to their evaluation over time and allows comparison from year to year for annual progress to sustain the program model.
Create+Collaborate was supported by Aroha Philanthropies.
From the engAGE website:
“EngAGE is a nonprofit that takes a whole-person approach to community and creative, healthy aging by providing arts, wellness, lifelong learning, community building and intergenerational programs to thousands of seniors and families living in affordable senior and multi-generational apartment communities in California, Oregon, and Minnesota.”
Creative Aging Focus:
EngAGE in Creativity is a community-based multi-disciplinary arts program led by professional artists who provide college-level arts classes, programs, and events to older adults in affordable senior and multigenerational apartment communities.
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.”
Debra Pasquerette, teaching artist and Manager of Community Engagement at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CA, has worked with people of all generations across the community. As part of GRoW @ The Wallis, the center’s lifelong learning initiative, Debra teaches, “Staged Stories,” a Creative Aging workshop series made possible through the National Guild for Community Arts Education and Lifetime Arts. The Wallis was selected as one of 10 nonprofit arts organizations across the country to receive seed grants toward the launch of these innovative arts education programs for older adults in their communities, as part of the Catalyzing Creative Aging 2019-2020 Program.
Since the fall of 2018, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, part of the National Guild for Community Art Education’s Catalyzing Creative Aging Initiative, has continued to see an enrollment increase due to its adult 55+ programs, with offerings like Ukulele Jam, Adult Musical Theater Stage Presence Workshop, Glee Club and more. At the Conservatory, the Creative Aging programming is rolled into the Adult Department, fostering intergenerational learning and performance. The photo gallery includes Conservatory’s recital from spring of 2019 and features their growing student body of 55+ Creative Aging learners.
Debra Pasquerette, teaching artist and Manager of Community Engagement at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills CA, teaches “Staged Stories,” a storytelling/memoir program part of GRoW @ The Wallis, the Center’s lifelong learning initiative. Her and her students were preparing for their culminating event when the COVID-19 crisis forced them to cancel. Feeling compelled to find a way to stay connected, Debra extended the curriculum beyond the original 8 weeks to allow for additional meetings via Zoom.