Research has demonstrated that art and creativity focused activities promote healthy aging. Participation in the arts has been shown to lower the risk of the onset of dementia, decrease perceptions of pain, help to relieve stress, and improve mood. Additionally, participating in the arts decreases social isolation and provides meaning, purpose, and an opportunity to engage in self-expression.
In preparation for the opening of its new Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness in the fall of 2023, Senior Services launched the Creative Connections program which was inspired by the agency’s recent Aging with Purpose pilot initiative, which included in-home dance and visual art lessons. Creative Connections builds upon the pilot’s most successful elements and brings a variety of arts-based classes to our offices on Shorefair Drive. So far, we have hosted 21 creative classes for older adults in the community. Some of the participant’s favorites included creative writing, silk scarf dyeing, chalk pastels, acrylic pour, neo-expressionism, keepsake bag creations, hand drum lessons, and acting classes, to name a few.
The Creative Connections program was honored to have a number of acclaimed professional artists such as Nathan Ross Freeman of Authoring Action, Phoebe Roberts creator of Pheebs Creates, art therapist Talia Scott, local percussionists Aaron Bachelder and Chi Sharpe, and various professionals from The Sawtooth School and the 40+ Stage Company serve as instructors. As the new year begins, Senior Services will continue these partnerships and add new classes such as belly dancing and African dance to bring an even greater variety of opportunities for artistic expression to seniors in our community.
The 2022 classes were funded by Senior Services and a Spark the Arts grant through the North Carolina Arts Council. The funding started in July of 2022 and will run through June 30, 2023, allowing the agency to offer the classes at no cost to participants. Senior Services launched the Creative Connections program to not only bring the arts to the aging population in Forsyth County but to also create an opportunity for older adults living in the area surrounding its campus more aware of the resources available at the agency. Residents should be aware that many additional activities and services will be available once the Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness opens in the fall of 2023Some of these services include the new home of the award-winning Williams Adult Day Center, a senior lunch nutrition site, memory clinic, theatre, opportunities to engage in intergenerational activities, a café, and of course lots of opportunities for artistic and creative expression.
We invite you to get started by being part of the Creative Connections offerings. Learn more about upcoming classes and how to join in the fun. For more information, click here or contact Melissa Smith, Creative Connections Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-721-6954.