Feature on Scripps News

Scripps News is a national news network dedicated to objective investigative reporting. Recently, Janine Tursini, Director and CEO of Arts for the Aging, sat down with journalist Clayton Sandell to talk about arts participation’s transformative power as we grow older. Watch the episode here.

Photo credit: scrippsnews.com

Quicksilver Performs “Water Spirit” for the 2021 Global Water Dances Initiative



Arts for the Aging is proud to sponsor Quicksilver, an improvisational dance company for seniors, who recently performed "Water Spirit" as part of the 2021 Global Water Dances initiative.  Choreographed by Quicksilver director Nancy Havlik with an original score from music director Adam Gonzalez, the dance was shot on the Anacostia River at Kingman and Heritage Islands in Washington, D.C. The performance features eight dancers over the age of 65 interpreting water's varied forms, and supports the Anacostia Watershed Society's work to clean up the river. You can learn more about Quicksilver here.

Arts for the Aging receives the 2020 Impact Award from Nonprofit Village

Arts for the Aging is honored to receive the 2020 Impact Award from Nonprofit Village. The Impact Award is presented to nonprofit organizations that demonstrate their ability to enact social change through collaboration and sustainable management practices. Our heartfelt thanks to Nonprofit Village for this wonderful recognition, and congratulations to fellow awardee, the D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center, Safe Shores!

In an interview with philanthropist and Nonprofit Village board member emeritus, Jeffrey Slavin — pictured here with Michele Booth Cole of Safe Shores and Arts for the Aging’s Director & CEO Janine Tursini — hear about how Arts for the Aging builds community, and more.

We are delighted that one of our Quicksilver dance company members could join us for the ceremonial (virtual!) presentation.

It is wonderful to be a member of a team that is innovative and creative, and committed to improving the lives of senior citizens in a way that is so much fun.” –– Judith Bauer, Quicksilver dance company member and volunteer

The award show can be viewed here, and the interviews with more about Arts for the Aging and Safe Shores here .

Arts for the Aging’s family of supporters are part of a vibrant community that makes our work possible. We hope you have been inspired to join us this year in support of the new virtual platforms and heART Kits that are continuing through the pandemic to bring community, connection, and joy to so many older adults and caregivers in Greater Washington D.C.

We cherish this recognition and remain inspired to continue igniting the flames of creativity that lie within us all, leading to better health and wellness in aging.

How to reach seniors without access to technology

Arts for the Aging Teaching Artist Deborah Riley interacting over Zoom with participants from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Senior Program in the District’s Ward 8 during her Joy of Movement workshop.

Last time I wrote about our successes with providing multi-disciplinary arts workshops to seniors via Zoom. This time, I want to tell you about our efforts to connect with seniors who do not have access to reliable internet and technology. These older adults are most likely to be the most social isolated during this pandemic. They can no longer attend the adult day programs, visit senior centers, or gather in the common areas of their buildings. Many do not have a computer or a cell phone with an unlimited data plan – things many of us take for granted and are a lifeline for connection. 

So, what can we do? Arts for the Aging visual art workshops are a core component of our programming. It was a natural idea to have our extremely talented teaching artists create an at-home version of those workshops. We could write clear instructions for what to do and provide all the art-making materials in one easy package. Voila! An instant art experience that will provide inspiration and distraction. 

When I started as Program Director in May, teaching artist Marcie Wolf-Hubbard already had a kit in production. The plan was to provide twenty kits for seniors in a local assisted living home. I quickly jumped in to help with administrative support and branding. I named them heART Kits – a fun play on words I’m still amused by. Marcie put everything together, delivered them to the client partner and then… nothing. No feedback, no comments, no artwork to admire and talk about, just the same silence that the seniors isolated in their rooms were experiencing. 

What now? Staff don’t have time to get feedback from the participants, they are focused on keeping everyone safe and healthy. Because of privacy regulations, I don’t have direct contact with our participants. I must pass communication through the client partners’ staff. I had many discussions with those contacts about how Arts for the Aging can best support their members and how can we re-establish that connection between teaching artist and participant. 

The obvious answer is the telephone. Most of the older adults who received a heART Kit have only a landline. But, remember those privacy issues? We can’t have their phone numbers or call them directly.  Then my brainwave happened. I noticed that for some workshops with one client partner, half the participants were never on video. They were calling in from a phone and listening to the program. They couldn’t see it, but they were still enjoying the interaction. We could do that for people who receive a heART Kit! Everything is still in the pilot phase, but we have had our first two hybrid telephonic Zoom workshops and we had way more than silence – we had singing, laughter, and love. 

Enjoy this poem with accompanying signs and gestures created in our latest hybrid workshop!

A Poem and Dance by participants in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Senior Program in Ward 8 with Arts for the Aging Teaching Artist Deborah Riley

I am 

I am strong (arms out making fists)
I am wise (fingertips touching the temples)
I am victorious (arms in front of the body with elbows with fingers up toward the ceiling)
I am complex (arms swaying and waving in front of the body)
I am so proud of my power (jumping in the air like a champion)
I am beautiful (smile, hands around my face, shake my head)
I am resilient (sign for continuing, thumbs together and fists pushing forward)