Arts and Health Project: Healthy Aging through the Arts
The Arts and Health Project: Healthy Aging through the Arts offers seniors weekly arts workshops with a professional artist, an intern artist, and a seniors' worker.
The project facilitates seniors' creative contributions to their communities, while improving their health and strengthening their sense of well-being.
The program also builds expertise among seniors' workers and artists working with elders.
Artists from a variety of disciplines are currently working with seniors in the development of work in the visual arts, the written word, multidisciplinary performance, and digital storytelling.
Benefits of the project
- Maintain or improve seniors' health and well-being through participation in community engaged arts practices
- Create a supportive environment for community engaged arts practices, and increase their use within health environments and centres for community programming
- Demonstrate the positive impact of participation in arts-based activities on the health and well-being of seniors
- Redefine and enhance perception of senior's role in their communities
Community-engaged arts practice
A community-engaged arts practice is a working collaboration between professional artists and community members who might not have previously thought of themselves as artists.Artists work with seniors to help them explore and develop work that is important to them. It recognizes all participants as important contributors to the collaborative group work.
This collaboration develops the skills, community spirit, and artistic sensibilities of those ho participate as producers and as audience.
Throughout the project, artists organize arts experiences — from attending performances and exhibitions, to viewing films and discussions with visiting artists — that will connect the work the seniors are creating with the larger creative community.
These experiences connect the work the seniors are creating with the larger creative community.
A year-end showcase of all the seniors' work takes place each year. The project sites also organize local exhibition and performance opportunities for the seniors throughout the program year.
Community of practice
This initiative supports the development of new knowledge and expertise in the fields of seniors' wellness, and community-engaged arts.
The Arts, Health, and Seniors and Project addresses many current issues for seniors and artists:
- Health practitioners across North America are recognizing the need for new models of care.
- Our populations is aging and marginalization is increasing amongst the elderly.
- Current approaches to recreation are being expanded and enriched to support seniors' wellness.
- Community-engaged artists and those working with seniors seek support for their work in community partnership towards wellness through the arts.
- Research is needed to demonstrate the link between participation in the arts and health in the Canadian context.
- To maintain or improve the health and well-being of vulnerable seniors through their participation in community-engaged arts practices.
- To create a supportive environment for community-engaged arts practices and increase their use within health environments and centres for community programming.
- To demonstrate the positive impact of participation in arts-based activities on the health and well-being of seniors in Vancouver and the North Shore.