Creative Aging Track Schedule

Three Tuesdays (10/19, 10,26, 11/2)

This track focuses on promoting art making, social connection, and joy for older adults in our communities through grounding practices that dismantle ageism and ableism in our programs, organizations, and collective efforts.

View the full schedule, including the other three learning tracks, here.


Graphic of the Groundwork Creative Aging track schedule. Session info for this track can also be found below.


View all presenter bios and headshots on the People page.

Learn more about the Session Formats—Grounding Practices, Make/Think/Share Studios, Real Talk Salons, and Armchair Travel Tours.

Week 1: Healing for Self (Monday, October 18–Thursday, October 21, 2021)

Tuesday, October 19—Creative Aging Track

1–2:30pm ET—Real Talk Salon

Title: Ageism: The Last "Acceptable" Prejudice

Description: By 2035, there will be more Americans over the age of 65 than under the age of 18 for the first time in US history. Yet the majority of community arts education programs available in our communities are for people under the age of 18. Persistent ageism that sidelines and silences older adults is one of the biggest barriers to creative aging programs, partnerships, and funding—and often goes unaddressed. Join this intimate conversation between teaching artists, administrators, and older adults from Fleisher Art Memorial and Dance & Bmore.  Together, we will reflect on our own prejudices and beliefs about age and aging and the influence of different cultural values and histories on these aging attitudes;  and talk openly about ways we are undoing ageism in ourselves and our creative aging work. 

Presenters: Kukuli Velarde (Artist/Teacher, Fleisher Art Memorial), CJay Philip (Artistic Director, Dance & BMore), Maxine Hodge (Older adult student, Elder Arts Ensemble, Dance & Bmore), Vita Litvak (Director of Education, Fleisher Art Memorial)

5–6:30pm ET—Make/Think/Share Studio

Title: Adventures in Visual Storytelling: Unlocking Older Adults' Personal Power

Description: This Make/Think/Share workshop will be an interactive adventure into using memory, visual tools, and personal storytelling to unlock perception of resiliency, community, and personal power with older adult students. The adventure will include conversations, media making and presentations. This evocative process will allow you to develop unusual and cross media techniques to bring into any work with adults 55+ for creative aging programs.

Presenters: Barbara Sharon Wiener (Filmmaker, mentor, BarbaraWienerMedia and TVbyGIRLS), Leah Elizabeth Gross (Associate Mentor, TVbyGIRLS)

Armchair Travel Tour (asynchronous session—registrants watch in their own time)

Title: Igniting Joy

Description: Apply a creative, joyful lens to the work you do! Why explore joy? Research shows the significant benefits of joy to us as individuals - to our minds and bodies. Collectively, joy has helped us develop resiliency during a stressful period of life. We can learn a lot about joy from our elders and in turn, tap into creative aging techniques to enhance our engagement with older adults and colleagues. Join us to experience a boost of joy and creativity in your day!

Presenters: Jessica McCracken (Director, Creative Spark, Front Porch), Katie Wade (Director, Social Call /Creative Spark, Front Porch)

Week 2: Healing for Collective (Monday, October 25–Thursday, October 28, 2021)

Tuesday, October 26—Creative Aging Track

1–2:30pm ET—Real Talk Salon

Title: Pathways to Creative Aging: Building Community Alliances through Artmaking

Description: Creative aging programs—when rooted in authentic collaboration—can be paths for older adults to feel fully seen and heard as vital contributors to our communities. In this Real Talk Session, representatives of creative aging programs at Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and Ping Chong + Company talk openly about how they are using dance and storytelling to deepen connections among local elders. Join us to discuss how these kinds of transparent and human-centered approaches to creative aging can build alliances among your older adult students, your staff and teaching artists, and your community partners and spark broader advocacy. 

Presenters: Leslie Roybal (Program Director, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana), Elisabet Torras Aguilera (Teaching Artist, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana), Carly McCollow (Teaching Artist, Ping Chong + Company), Cory Michael Herman (Director, Alliance Stage Company), Sarie Teichman (Older Adult Student, Ping Chong + Company), Courtney Surmanek (Cultural Organizer, Educator, Joker, and Multidisciplinary Artist, Ping Chong + Company)

5–6:00pm ET—Make/Think/Share Studio

Title: Joyful Singing, Healthy Living

Description: Experience and reflect on the power of choir participation for older adults. In this hands-on studio, faculty and older adults from Community Music Center's nationally renowned, multilingual, Older Adult Choir will lead you through exercises from their program and discuss the potential impact similar programs can have on older adults' well being, health, and connection to community. 

Presenters: Martha Rodríguez-Salazar (Founding Director, Older Adult Choir, Community Music Center), Jennifer Peringer (Faculty, Community Music Center), Students from CMC's Older Adult Choir: Claudia Anderson, Audrey Groomes, Estela Moreno, and  Carmen Wong

Week 3: Healing for Movement Building (Monday, November 1–Friday, November 5, 2021)

Tuesday, November 2—Creative Aging Track

1–2:30pm ET—Real Talk Salon

Title: Cross Movement Solidarity in Creative Aging: Anti-Ageism + Anti-Ableism + Anti-Racism

Description: To restore a society where older adults are realized as essential culture bearers and creatives with full opportunities to thrive, the creative aging movement requires cross-movement solidarity. Join us as we talk honestly about the overlapping systemic issues of ageism, ableism, and racism and how these issues can show up in creative aging practice and movement building work. This session is a call for unlearning and collective activism to create language and models for creative aging that support elder's diverse experiences and creativity, build trust, and amplify the voices and stories of older adults, especially those who have been historically marginalized. 

Presenters: Elizabeth Merritt (VP Strategic Foresight & Founding Director Center for the Future of Museums, American Alliance of Museums), Toya Northington (Community Engagement Strategist, Speed Art Museum), Erin Perry (Executive Director, Legacy Arts Project), Cynthia Edmondson (Older Adult Artist/Student, Healing Art Program)

5–6:30pm ET—Make/Think/Share Studio

Title: Life’s Narratives: Creating Personal and Cultural Legacies

Description: The art of storytelling can provide closure, help clarify values established throughout life, and provide a personal and cultural legacy for future generations. Storytelling also helps to measure the effect and longevity of a culture. In this hands-on workshop, you will experience some of the practices that S-Ankh Rasa facilitated with older adults and young people in Bishop Arts Theater Center’s  intergenerational program, “My Life’s Narratives on Canvas,” a collaboration between students at an adult daycare center and high school in Dallas, TX. Join us to co-create music and reflect on the power of storytelling to connect generations, foster a greater sense of empathy and humanity, and carry on legacies within our communities.

Presenter: S-Ankh Rasa

7–8pm ET—Creative Aging Track Reflection Space

Description: Join in on a collective reflection space to share takeaways and insights from all Creative Aging track sessions. What have we learned to deepen our practices and commitment to the work? What affirmations have we seen reflected in the stories we've heard and the dialogues we've shared? What calls to action do we wish to make as we look to the future?