The fastest growing segment of our society, the over 65 crowd, are discovering art. Art programs for seniors offer great value to the individuals involved and to society as a whole. Research has shown that art increases awareness of self and others and helps cope with stress, and traumatic experiences. The art making process is creative. It can serve as a way to explore and express your past and your present experiences. And skill doesn’t matter! Seniors may still benefit from art even if they feel they have no artistic talent. Studies have shown that regardless of specific skills levels, practicing all forms of art can benefit social abilities as well as physical and mental health.
Art enriches relationships and encourages socialization. It activates the senses, inspires spontaneity and encourages playfulness and a sense of humor. Art encourages the mind to continually see the world in new ways. The creative activity in art can give a person a sense of accomplishment and happiness. Art therapy can help improve the quality of life for people as they get older. Depression vanishes. The feeling of control comes back, the ability to make choices… there are infinite choices in art.A 10-year study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found that a positive outlook in life can have health benefits. Another study 300 seniors over a two year period found those who attended the arts program had better health while those who did not attend saw their health deteriorate. In addition, the arts group used fewer medications, felt less depressed, was less lonely, had higher morale and was more socially active.
It’s no wonder then that many communities from New York, to Atlanta, to Chicago to L.A. are reaching out to seniors helping them discover the rewards of finding a new hobby in art. New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs is inviting artists to join Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide, an initiative that links creators and senior citizens in a seven-month residency program. Mather’s-More Than a Café locations across Chicagoland offers art and painting classes for seniors. Older adults In Los Angeles are invited to enter paintings in Art Festivals held periodically throughout the city. And Parks and Recreation department Senior Centers in Atlanta offer art classes to seniors to help “grow new brain cells and make you feel young and energized”.
Art also helps younger generations look at seniors differently. Younger adults find themselves more appreciative of seniors. Older adults become creators, mentors, teachers, tutors and advisors, sharing the wisdom that they have gained through a lifetime of experience.
One interesting entrepreneur in the Village of Stone Mountain, Georgia has come up with a way to help senior artist monetize their craft. Les Scarborough met a group of budding artist at a local retirement community. Hearing one say that when they finished a project they just hid it away under a bed or in a closet, Les decided to come up with a way to show and sell their artwork from a gallery in the village. Les, himself a photographer, features their artwork, as well as his own photography at the Clothesline Art and Fine Art Treasures gallery in downtown Stone Mountain, Ga. Their work has been reproduced as greeting cards, DVDs, Calendars, coffee table books, post cards, etc. The copies are available on canvas and fine art papers using Giclee, the ultimate method for copying fine art paintings.
Source by David F Lloyd