"I discovered that I had something to say and that people would listen to me"
-- John Lawrence, at a creative writing program at Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care Center, led by AFTA teaching artist Joan Fraser
Just the other day, Elsa, from one of AFTA's improv dance and music workshops said to teaching artist Anthony Hyatt, "I lived 95 years just to hear you sing!" She pointed to her legs, both amputated from the knees down, and said she couldn't help but wiggle what she has left. Even in the most prosaic and impulsive ways that we may dance or sing, write, paint or act, it is self-expression that brings to light our most extraordinary selves.
Arts for the Aging will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year--three decades combating isolation and spreading joy and better health to older adults, especially those living with aging-related health impairments. As we welcome autumn, I share with you in this newsletter some moments from a sparkling year to date.
To AFTA Gala goers and newcomers alike, stay tuned. We are readying to launch 30th Anniversary Gala celebrations next year. Partnerships are developing with the Embassy of Switzerland, and The Phillips Collection with its forthcoming Paul Klee exhibition in early 2018.
This fall, the Board of Trustees of Arts for the Aging will host artful parties and salons featuring special guests, and to support our good works.
Thank you, as ever, for your care, friendship and support for AFTA,
for the Aging, Inc.
Photo: Leadership Greater Washington
A Night Out with AFTA
Arts & the Brain at The Mansion at Strathmore
We brought AFTA's first arts engagement to a broader public of adults, families and care partners through Strathmore's Arts & the Brain series recently. Admittedly, we weren't quite sure just how responsive or for how long everyone would want to make music together, and we also wanted to give it the intellectual bend that the series intends. I talked about AFTA's expertise in group settings with older people living with physical and cognitive impairments, and where AFTA fits in with local and national initiatives on Age-Friendly communities and creative, healthy aging. National Advisory Council member Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi talked about the neuroscience and health research behind exposure to music and music-making. Then AFTA teaching artist Wall Matthews led a rousing music engagement with all 60 of us. We passed around drums, maracas, and percussion instruments. We abandoned our Q&A, so moved by the rhythms we made together in that beautiful old mansion! -- banging drums and buckets, shaking tambourines and soda cans taped up with rocks inside (my personal favorite), chiming triangles, shouting and singing with Wall's Haitian call and response until the end. One man, who just lost his wife to complications of Alzheimer's after a long haul caring for her, stood up and gave us all "More cowbell!" ... community arts programming at its best. Thanks to Lauren Campbell, The Mansion at Strathmore, and Interplay for their support of this program.
|"Go West," Quicksilver!
danced all the way to San Francisco on a first-year arts and humanities track for
the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress Conference. Quicksilver, AFTA's dance improvisation company made up of older adults, was competitively selected to dance on the IAGG conference's Age Stage. There we demonstrated and talked about how AFTA uses dance to improve the health and wellness of older adults, and how we measure impact with our unique evaluation methodology. We found many like minds and audience members eager to dance and move with us! This year, Quicksilver celebrates its 20 year anniversary.
Thank you to IAGG World Congress for making the arts a part of the conversation, and to the generosity of these funders that made our conference participation and trip to California possible: The Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, The Louis H. Shaman Charitable Foundation, The Gerontological Society of America, Phyllis and James Madachy.
L-R: Brandi Rose, Nancy Havlik, Anthony Hyatt, Janine Tursini, Peg Schaefer, Jaya Adiga and Judith Bauer;
conference attendees dance with us
Music-making for Stress Relief
We joined with Age-Friendly Montgomery County at Rockville Senior Center for the 7th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. In a live demonstration for attendees, armed with percussion instruments and a violin, AFTA teaching artists Anthony Hyatt and Wall Matthews covered repertoire of call and response, spirituals, even China's national song, the latter bringing one gentleman to tears as he sang out his heart honoring his homeland. Many thanks to the County's Department of Health and Human Services Aging & Disability Services and the Family Justice Center Foundation for funding this singularly fun workshop.
Seeing Is Believing
You are invited to visit and participate in AFTA programs. Contact us at
or (301) 255-0103 to schedule a time to see program and for more details-we have nearly 600 workshops each year.
"Nothing beats seeing it in person and the engagement and happiness the music brought to that group of seniors."
Tom Di Genno, Program Officer with the Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, after music-making with AFTA and seniors at Iona Adult Day Center
Conversations at The Kreeger Museum with participants from new senior center partner Genevieve N. Johnson Senior Day Care Center, and teaching artists Peter Burroughs and Nancy Havlik. Stephanie Williams Images
Intergenerational Digital Storytelling with adults from Walter Reed Day Health Care Center with teaching artists, photographer Jason Horowitz and Jackie Stevens of Arlington Independent Media in partnership with Arlington Career Center
|2017 Top Grantors
Thank you to these top grant funders for providing major support with increased or new gifts this year,
"Addressing the importance of expanding your audience and building a more compelling case for engaging in the Arts at all stages of aging"
Kathy Freshley, of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation):
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County
Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation
Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation
Maryland State Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation
27th Annual AFTA Cup
Team Tennis Tournament
Our tournament this past May took place at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, home to the Citi Open tournament and members of Washington Tennis and Education Foundation. Players enjoyed friendly competition, fantastic exhibition play, and on the stadium's center court with local tennis celebrities and junior tennis players from JTCC. A fun and scrumptious awards party buffet in the hospitality suites followed and we were joined by NBC News 4 Anchor Jim Handly. Much gratitude to AFTA Trustee and event chair Don Wright, and to these top sponsors of the AFTA Cup: Gold - LafargeHolcim; Silver - SunTrust Bank; Ace - ADS Corporation, Creig Northrop Long & Foster, Fidelity Engineering, Gingles LLC, KONTERRA/Gould, Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation. Proceeds support AFTA's award-winning participatory arts workshops for older adults living with health impairments - using creativity to turn isolation, loneliness, and loss into community, access, and joy.
for event photos.
From top: Tennis committee member Rob Arner, AFTA Trustee Joan Ronnenberg; NBC 4's Jim Handly with tournament finalists and exhibition players. Stephanie Williams Images
In Creative Aging News
Journal Publication on Why Creativity Matters
The online international e-journal, Creativity & Human Development, has assembled a rich and thought-provoking collection of insights from innovators in the US field of creative aging, including yours truly, Arts for the Aging. Click here
for more about how professional artists' kinship with the use of imagination and improvisation is used as an antidote
for better health and wellness despite changing abilities associated with aging. Special thanks to guest-editor and our National Advisory Council member Dr. Raquel Chapin Stephenson.
Literature Review on Arts in Medicine
An extensive review (available
) tells us the various ways in which artists, healthcare institutions, nonprofits and funders work together to support patient and community health. Produced for Grantmakers in Aging's Funder Forum on Arts in Medicine earlier this year, it was sponsored by the Barr Foundation. Hats off to co-authors, AFTA National Advisory Council member Dr. Judy Rollins and Dr. Gay Merrill Hanna. AFTA's funding partnership with The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is highlighted on pages 17-18.
Washington Jewish Week
features creative aging, AFTA and Quicksilver
"When I am dancing, I don't care ... It makes me feel very relaxed. The whole day, I just let go. I just feel very comfortable, calm." (Quicksilver's Sachiko Chang). Click here for the article.
|Make a Gift to the Annual Fund
help us continue to infuse creativity into caregiving relationships. Click
to donate to Arts for the Aging. And, consider the convenience of monthly giving - join our Sustained Giving Circle.