A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO WORKING WITH THE ARTS AND THE AGING
Exploring the impact the arts have on the elderly is a valuable way to discover
contributions seniors are still making within their communities and the arts world at
large. As I confront my own intrigue of aging, I am drawn not only to elders in my
immediate family, but to elders in my community and ultimately back to myself.
Through this examination I am forced to see human performance in a new infinite and
I began looking for answers about this concept of Creative Aging with my maternal
grandmother. An inspiration to me my whole life, my grandmother assisted me in
gaining a deeper understanding about the creative wants, needs and desires of seniors.
My Creative Pulse field project focused on her artistic achievements with over seventy
five years of performance experience and captured many autobiographical moments from
her life. This inquiry posed other questions I desired to explore are adults over the age
of sixty five still creative thinkers and doers? Do they still practice an artistic craft they
may have practiced when they were younger? Are those that were never encouraged to
be creative in their younger years brave enough to try something new?
My questions and research lead me to the Woodside Village Senior Community in Fort
Washington, Maryland where my maternal grandmother and many other active and
vibrant seniors lived. I met with the community manager of Woodside and began
volunteering and holding weekly workshops with the seniors in movement, music, poetry
and drama. My eight week partnership with Woodside would foster my belief in the
creative potential of older adults and the importance of their creative contributions to
society. My visits to Woodside to speak with instructors, staff and seniors helped me get
a closer look at this special population. My fieldwork at Woodside culminated in a
performance by the elder participants and other guest artists, and proved to be a moving
experience for the audience and the cast.
The overall intent of this paper is to bring public awareness to the importance of aging
and the arts and to provide a platform for elders in the community to openly perform
works of art. In a culture so dominated by the adage only the young have fun, it
becomes important to embrace the idea of creative and holistic aging for future
generations to model. I will be an aging artist some day, and I hope I can recall the
wisdom, love and creativity the elders have bestowed upon me in order that I may still be
a vibrant contributor to my own community no matter my age.
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:the creative pulse
Date of Publication:01/15/2009