Teaching Artist, Susan Willerman, has been teaching “Writing From Life” at Morningside Retirement and Health Services in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC for 26 consecutive years. The class started as a program of Elders Share the Arts in 1994, and now continues as part of the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. When COVID-19 forced members to shelter at home, Susan and Tiana, one of the members, worked together to develop the most effective ways to continue the program online.
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.
The Peru Free Library (PFL), a member of the Clinton Essex Franklin Library System, is located in New York’s North Country, near the U.S.-Canadian Border. PFL found great success in offering their first creative aging program: “Radio Theater!” by building consensus on the art form among 55+ community members, and then identifying a qualified teaching artist.
In this blog post, Rosenberg talks in-depth about the Meet Me at MoMA program, an interactive gallery tour for people with dementia and their care partners, part of their Access Programs. The ninety-minute sessions allow MoMA’s educators to lead the individuals in the group in sharing their thoughts and interpretations of artworks from MoMA’s collection or special exhibitions.
In this blog post, Rosenberg introduces PrimeTime at MoMA, an outreach and programming initiative aimed to increase participation of New York City residents ages 65 and up. She also shares positive feedback from participants who attended the program, and who she knows personally through MoMA’s Access Programs.
From the blog post:
“MoMA’s commitment to access for all is embedded in the history of the institution itself, beginning with one of the Museum’s earliest innovations in art education: the establishment of the War Veterans Art Center for soldiers returning from the Second World War. It has been an honor and a pleasure to build upon this tradition in my work on Access Programs at MoMA for the last 20 years.”
The New York Times’ John Leland reports:
“People age 70 and up account for two-thirds of all coronavirus deaths in New York, though they make up less than 10 percent of the population. Yet many New Yorkers in this age group are thriving during this catastrophe — skilled at being alone, not fearful about their career prospects, emotionally more experienced at managing the great disruption of everyday life that is affecting everyone.”