The Building Bridges: Breaking Barriers exhibition is a call for attention and an attempt to address the profound issue of ageism engrained in our society. The pandemic era has not only helped unmask, but negatively fueled the already existing ageist sentiment, promoting the troubling narrative about the value of older adults in our society. Drawing artists from a range of disciplines, the exhibition reveals that curiosity, unbound imagination, and inventiveness are defining characteristics that only come with age. This exhibition is presented by Ruth’s Table, an arts nonprofit committed to increasing access to creative opportunities for older adults and adults with disabilities, providing an inclusive and inspiring environment for creative expression and intergenerational connections. It is curated by Hanna Regev.
From the summary:
A renowned psychiatrist and gerontologist draws from more than thirty years of research to show that surprising positive changes in our brains have the powerful potential to enhance, not diminish, our lives after fifty.
From the overview:
In 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts developed a cooperative agreement with The George Washington University to conduct a multisite national study with the aim of measuring the impact of professionally conducted community based cultural programs on the general health, mental health, and social activities of older persons, age 65 and older. Referred to as the Creativity and Aging Study, the project’s formal title is “The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults”. No previous study of this nature using an experimental design and a control group had been carried out. Results reveal strikingly positive differences in the intervention group (those involved in intensive participatory art programs) as compared to a control group not involved
in intensive cultural programs.
From the introduction:
A new picture of human development and aging is emerging, and with it, a new understanding of humans’ ongoing capacity for change.”” So begins Gene Cohen, former acting director of the National Institute on Aging and pioneer in the field of creativity in aging, in the lecture transcribed in this booklet.
From the abstract:
Increasingly, practices of collective arts-based learning are being used by adult educators and community organizations as creative and participatory ways to respond to contemporary social or environmental issues. Investigating the potential contributions of arts-based learning to cross-cultural and antiracisms adult education was the aim of this qualitative comparative study in Ontario and British Columbia. Through the lens of antiracisms theories and from data obtained through open-ended interviews with project participants and artist-educators in three diverse arts projects, this article highlights some of the characteristics that make arts-based learning a culturally appropriate and effective, imaginative tool. But it also draws attention to the risks involved in creating public art and tacking difficult issues such as racism in contemporary Canadian society.
From the article:
A major cultural and geographic divide is emerging between Americans under age 35 and over 50, according to University of Michigan demographer William Frey.
From the Center on Health, Aging, and Disability site:
The Center on Health, Aging, and Disability provides leadership in interdisciplinary research and engagement to support health and well-being across the lifespan, livable communities, and optimal living with disabilities. We work to promote discoveries addressing critical health and societal issues and facilitate collaboration between campus researchers and external partners.
From the summary:
This policy brief is a modern day version of the “it takes a village to raise a child” philosophy stressing how elders in a community can be part of the fabric of childcare, civic engagement and family financial health. It focuses on policy issues facing all community members regardless of age: healthcare, education, safety, inclusion, social connectedness and how the “community for all ages” approach transforms the way community change choices are made from state level planning to local family relationships.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site:
CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.
From the George Washington University Center for Aging, Health and Humanities site:
The George Washington University Center for Aging, Health and Humanities, is the interdisciplinary home for GW faculty to collaborate on research, education, scholarship and clinical innovations to improve the care of older adults and their families. The center works with faculty and organizations to incorporate skills, benefits and lessons learned from the humanities in the fields of aging and health. This unique approach provides practitioners insight into the intersection of the human experience and the rapidly changing landscape of science, technology and public policy in health care.