Athens Laurels Partners With Ohio Arts Council For “Artful Aging Ohio”

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There is a direct link between the development of the creative mind and the quality of one’s life. Students who receive training in the arts have been shown to excel in other subject areas, and, yet, the benefit is not limited to school-aged children.

Men and women who have raised families, held positions in the work place, and retired from meaningful careers have discovered a new and renewed purpose for their lives as they’ve pursued painting, ceramics, quilting, photography or creative writing.

Adults have been known to realize health and wellness benefits from pouring energy into creative expression.

The Ohio Arts Council is committed to supporting life-long learning in the arts. Artful Aging Ohio is a new initiative dedicated to giving senior adults the opportunity to learn about the arts and engage in hands-on art making.

The National Center for Creative Aging, founded in 2001, recently reached out to 13 states including Ohio for the purpose of forming a community of practice to explore ways to strengthen the presence of the arts in the lives of senior adults. This initiative has been a catalyst for work moving forward in Ohio.

The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA), an organization located in Cleveland and dedicated to addressing the important issues of aging, has received a grant from the OAC’s Office of Arts Learning to support BRIA’s efforts to train teaching artists.

Photo courtesy of Honey for the Heart

An Artful Aging Ohio team has been assembled, with each team member possessing artistic and education skills and passion for working with senior populations. Team members include Stacia Davis-Moore who will conduct research on the effectiveness of art making by seniors, Goldean Gibbs who has extensive experience in education, and OAC roster artist Patty Mitchell, who brings a wealth of artistic talent and experience as a resident artist in diverse settings, including those serving senior adults.

Artful Aging Ohio’s priorities include creating a network of senior service agencies, training OAC roster artists to work with senior adults, and developing artist residencies at senior centers in five regions of Ohio. The initiative promises to maintain an intergenerational component that will connect Ohioans of all ages through the power of the arts in everyday life.

The first facility to engage in the AAO pilot senior residency program is The Laurels in Athens, Ohio. Patty Mitchell is at work during a two-week residency to create a “Winter Wonderland” at the Laurels. This exciting project promises great outcomes from seniors using their creativity to make works of art.

A community open house has been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Laurels of Athens is located at 70 Columbus Circle. Call 740-592-1000 for information.