Part of the Vitality Arts Special Report
There’s a movement afoot. Growing awareness that arts participation helps improve lives for older adults has led to a growing number of programs aimed at teaching the arts to the 55-plus set. We’re profiling a number of these programs on Next Avenue as part of our Artful Aging special report. A few examples:
- Lifetime Arts is tapping into libraries around the nation to offer classes on everything from poetry to tango
- EngAge is changing the idea of affordable senior apartments by building senior artists colonies that offer a full slate of creative courses, such as drumming and theater
- A dance company recruits older non-dancers to stage professional performances
The list could go on, and the programs couldn’t be more different, but they all share one thing: At the heart of them are teaching artists — professional working artists who also have the chops to teach older adults the tools and techniques of their trade.
On the extensive “Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit” website — an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to start or advocate for an artful aging program — a big chunk of real estate is dedicated to the importance of recruiting, training and retaining effective teaching artists. These are artists/teachers who understand the issues surrounding aging and know how to work with adults who bring decades of experience to the table.
Check out the video, Mastering the Art of Teaching Adults, produced by Aroha Philanthropies, for a quick look at how the work of these teaching artists differs from that of the art teachers who taught us the joys of tempera paints in kindergarten.