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A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO WORKING WITH THE ARTS AND THE AGING

by Scott, Jamila Andaiye

Abstract (Summary)
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 creative way. 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.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Karen Kaufmann

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:the creative pulse

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/15/2009

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