An Afternoon with a Music Legend

Celebrated American composer and singer Dr. Ysaye Barnwell presented to a full house of Arts for the Aging Teaching Artists, Quicksilver senior improv dancers, and guests at this year's final workshop in our Teaching Artist Institute.  Known for her 34 years singing and recording with Sweet Honey in the Rock, Dr. Barnwell has, for nearly as long, spent time off stage working as a master teacher and choral clinician in African American cultural performance. Her workshop "Building a Vocal Community®: Singing in the African American Tradition" has been conducted on three continents. Her work in the field is a significant source of inspiration for both singers and non-singers alike, and is a model of pedagogy for educators, cultural activists, and historians. During the workshop, Dr. Barnwell sang spirituals and gospel music and instructed on these pillars of African American tradition.  The oral tradition of music-sharing lends itself well to older practitioners who may not be able to read or recall music and lyrics.  Mixing singing exercises and Q&A during the afternoon, Dr. Barnwell elevated our wisdom and inspired us to take forward Spirituals, "they are the art song," into Arts for the Aging's community-wide programs. Not to be relegated to a singular musical interest she quipped, "Rap is our newspaper," as she stays relevant to the changing voices of our times. We express heartfelt thanks to Levine Music for hosting our workshop.

The Washington Chorus Trains with Us

In sharing our thought leadership and best practices more and more, we are partnering with The Washington Chorus (TWC) to teach a cadre of chorus members the skills needed so that the organization can deepen its Connections Program. Through the training, they will be able to conduct participatory arts programs, using Arts for the Aging's best practices, that contribute to better health and quality of life outcomes for older adults living with aging-related health impairments. As TWC artistic director Christopher so memorably put it, their goal is, "Not singing at; but with, in, and around." Recently we spent a full day together with a leadership group from the chorus, modeling our practices in consort with one of our dearest client partners that hosted us, Downtown Clusters Geriatric Day Care Center in Washington, D.C.-we are grateful. Stay tuned for news about TWC's pilot workshops in 2020 ... our Year in Music.

Opening Exhibition at The Phillips Collection

It was an honor to participate for a second year in a museum exhibition celebrating creative aging at the Phillips Collection, honoring older adult artists participating in community-based arts workshops with Arts for the Aging and other partners like Iona Senior Center. Museum Educator Donna Jonte designed exhibition tours that brought works of art to life. These museum visits were followed by hands-on art-making workshops with Arts for the Aging teaching artists back at the senior center. You can find more images from the exhibition reception here. Below, teaching artist Annetta Dexter Sawyers admires a collaborative mural made by seniors at Alexandria Adult Day Services Center. The mural was inspired by "Marking Our Time: Aboriginal Woman Artists and Contemporary Art" at the Phillips. The exhibition runs through December 15, 2019 and we invite you to visit the show. Photo credit: Stephanie Williams Images.

Creative Aging conversation with Quicksilver Senior Improv Dance Company at Dance Exchange

Join us at Dance Exchange (DX) on Friday, October 25, 2019 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. for a conversation about creativity and aging, featuring Quicksilver, Arts for the Aging's senior improv dance company. DX has convened leaders and practitioners in the field of creative aging and related fields for a lively discussion, sharing of best practices, and celebration of creativity in adults along the aging spectrum. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this free event, with a suggested donation of $20 to DX, located at 7117 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912.