Session Descriptions

Participants ideally should register for all three sessions of the series, and register with a colleague from their organization or with an external partner whom they’ll be working with to produce creative aging programming.


Part 1 | Social Isolation: The Silent Pandemic
April 15, 4:30–6:30pm ET

This introductory session is intended to provide fundamental context for the creative aging movement and its proven impact on counteracting social isolation among older adults. As a participant, you will learn about how social isolation affects elders over time and the associated health risks from a notable in aging services, Shireen McSpadden. You also will better understand current practices in creative aging that specifically address social isolation and the research that underscores the beneficial outcomes of social engagement for older adults. You’ll then be invited to participate in more intimate break-out discussion groups to reflect on how the pandemic has heightened social isolation more broadly and what this means for engaging older adults as creatives in your community. Registrants for this session will also be provided with a recommended reading prior to the session.

Guest Speaker: Shireen McSpadden 

Break-out Group Facilitators: Eepi Chaad, Russ Grazier, and Eliza Kiser 

Part 2 | Breaking Down Barriers to Artful Aging
April 22, 4:30–6:30pm ET

Learn about the common barriers to participation for older adults and how to build creative aging programs in collaboration with local partners that address your community’s needs. As a participant, you will gain inspiration and practical advice from leaders at two, distinct programs: Community Music Center’s San Francisco based Older Adult Choir Program in partnership with the Department of Disability and Aging Services and 12 senior centers and Creative Action’s multi-year partnership with the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department. You also will be provided with a self-assessment framework to help you and your collaborators meet your older adults where they’re at and identify potential partnerships and strategies to overcome barriers to their participation. 

Guest Speakers: Sylvia Sherman, Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, Melissa Bravo, Christie Jean-Jacques, and Benjamin Rustenhaven  

Part 3 | Cultivating Collective Support for Creative Aging Programming
April 29, 4:30–6:30pm ET

Collective advocacy for creative aging work must come from our deep connection with each other and understanding of our shared experience. We are all aging. In this session, you will have the opportunity to build relationships with fellow participants and share strategies for making the case for creative aging work to multiple stakeholders, including older adults, teaching artists, administrators within your organization, community partners, and potential funders. You’ll also join an intimate discussion between Tiffany Jackson, Director of Education at Bishop Arts Theatre Center in Dallas, and Aljosie Aldrich Harding, an elder of the Civil Rights Movement, social justice advocate, and spiritual guide who currently serves on the National Council of Elders. Together, they will provide insights into the importance of advocacy work in cultivating creative aging and community wellness throughout one’s life.

Guest Speakers: Aljosie Aldrich Harding & Tiffany Jackson 

Break-out Group Facilitators: Gavin Farrell, Vita Litvak, and Maura O’Malley