Aging Creatively in the Arctic
We’re launching free older adult programming this Spring
March 25, 2019
by Molissa Udevitz, Anchorage Museum Educator
The balance between personal vitality and overall well-being is particularly delicate for individuals aging in the North where climate and remoteness can present social and other barriers to fully engaging in community and lifelong learning.
Studies show that older adults benefit psychologically, physically and emotionally when participating in creative activities in a social environment. As a museum, we’re positioned to offer imaginative and innovative opportunities for older adults to continue to learn, grow and create with others.
Aging well in Anchorage
Providing opportunities like this is especially important in Anchorage, a city with an older population that is growing four times faster than the rest of the U.S. A 2017 Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development study projects there will be nearly 74,000 seniors residing in Anchorage by 2020. This growing segment of our city’s population presents museums with some meaningful opportunities to inspire lifelong learning.
These are just a few reasons the Anchorage Museum is launching a new eight-week art workshop series starting this spring – Vital & Creative – geared to adults ages 55 and older who want to develop art skills, make an artwork to take home and connect with others.
A focus on Northern and Arctic art
Northern traditional knowledge and lifeways infuse these three eight-week workshops. The first is Vital & Creative: Textile Arts for Ages 55+, which runs April 3 through May 22. Each week focuses on different textile techniques, including hand felting and hand sewing, and materials, such as fish skins and calico. Time for reflection and sharing with other participants are included. Contemporary Alaska textile artist Amy Meissner is among the instructors confirmed for this initial workshop. Each series meets weekly for eight consecutive weeks, Local, professional artists lead each class, incorporating objects in the museum’s extensive collection of Northern and Arctic art and cultural material.
Removing barriers to participation
The museum is committed to reducing barriers – like cost – that may prevent older adults from participating in programs such as these, and thanks to generous funding from Aroha Philanthropies, we can make these workshops free of charge. The museum is also working with local organizations, including the Anchorage Pioneer Home, to welcome a diverse group of people and address challenges, such as transportation.
We are able to deliver this series with generous support from a $25,000 Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums grant from Aroha Philanthropies. Aroha Philanthropies Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums initiative addresses the urgent need to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism and promote a healthy change in attitudes toward aging as senior populations grow. The Anchorage Museum was one of 20 museums across the country to receive the grant, and we are eager for our community to participate this spring.
Programs Especially for Seniors
Elders Share Knowledge of Ahtna Material Traditions
Viewing Art with Your Ears and Objects with Your Hands
Anonymous No More: The Effort to Identify Archival Photographs of Rural Alaska