The doors of Senior Action’s new, 35,000-square-foot headquarters on East North Street are open. Inside is a Fine Arts Center unlike anything that’s come before it with music, movement and art studios solely for seniors. This new space creates countless opportunities for us to engage with seniors in our community and a chance to reimagine what a fine arts program for seniors can look like.
We often celebrate creativity in young people, overlooking the fact that many of the artists who’ve shaped history created some of their best works after the age of 55. Take, for example, Claude Monet, the “Father of Impressionism,” who completed his most notable works in his 70s. “Grandma Moses” painted for the first time at age 78. And John Williams, the most prolific composer of cinematic music in history, produced most of his work after age 60.
Those artists were not exceptions or novelties. They weren’t seniors who just happened to make it in a world full of young people. They were gifted artists with decades of practice, who honed in on a technical skill to master an art form. There’s also the inherent knowledge that comes from a certain amount of life experience, which may have played a role.
The bottom line is, seniors are not just capable of creating fine art — they are the best at it. A famed psychologist and leading theorist in the positive mental state once said, “Most of the things that are interesting, important and human are the results of creativity … [and] when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”
We can and should do a better job of recognizing the incredible talent, wisdom and creativity that abounds within our senior community. Our new Fine Arts Center is a place where people will be celebrated as artists first and seniors second, and encouraged to discover untapped potential or dust-off old skills to restart what we hope will become a lifelong practice.
Registration is now open for a variety of 12-week dance, music and visual arts classes that will start in the fall — including ballet, improvisation, pottery, fiber art, and vocal and instrument instruction. Whether you’re a lover of art, a consumer of art, or a talented artist yourself, we invite you to join us and support this new endeavor.
Andrea Smith is CEO & Executive Director of Senior Action, a nonprofit organization devoted to keeping adults over 55 healthy, active, and engaged in meaningful activities. Under her direction, the organization has grown from 900 members to more than 5,000. She is also responsible for the 35,000-square-foot building renovation that now houses Senior Action’s new headquarters.