The past six months have been a creative and miraculous experience for me, working with Seniors for my SU CASA Artist Residency, from a Grant funded by the Queens Council of the Arts, New York City Council, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of the Aging and Materials for the Arts. The Seniors well into their 7th and 8th decade, met the challenges of creative artistic and written expression with such joy and passion. The vaulted over language, physical and cultural barriers with alacrity and spirit!
Initially I was intimidated by the language barrier, but I found out quickly- that the “language of the heart” transcends all. Also, there were some bilingual Seniors that eased the transition into the creative activities. I learned all my colors in Spanish and many phrases. As a bride building activity, I had my brother and his family from Mexico, come visit the Senior Center and speak in Spanish and share their adventures as a family in Mexico. There was much laughter and hugs and kisses to go around amongst them!
The Seniors began to get more adventurous with their spoken and English phrases. Community was built with our laughter and forays into painting, writing poetry and personal narratives, making handcrafted jewelry, tee shirts and totes. They were feisty despite some fine motor or mobility issues as well. Some of the most interesting art and narratives emerged from these Seniors who came from countries all around the globe!
The most transformative part of the Residency was when they made their Frida Kahlo crowns and put them on. Their faces glowed with such beauty and vitality. I captured these images on camera, and created a “Glamour Shoot Photo Gallery” at their public performance “Young at Heart Performance.” They we’re so delighted and deeply touched at their own visages. I was totally moved. Also, watching the Seniors strut on stage with a microphone and sing or recite a personal narrative or poem – was a wonder to behold.
My life has changed forever with this Residency. It has concurred my beliefs that “creativity marches through the decades and transforms lives.” This is also the mission statement of my “The Enchanted Goddess Project” practice. I saw Seniors regenerating right before my eyes. They worked well collaboratively and weren’t afraid to try new projects. We even did a creative writing unit with “positive affirmations.”
I have been a teacher, big sister and a mother for decades working with creativity. Now I give creative workshops to midlife women and to young artist women, who want to collaborate in their artistic practices. Now I have worked with vital Senior women who are transforming on e creative project at a time! Creativity has always been an active part in my life – is it in yours?
Celebrating Queens Women Artists | Queens Council on the Arts
— Read on www.queenscouncilarts.org/blog/2018/3/30/rc9656wg0jy8j1bq7ca1n3m6bzoqzt
It is very exciting to see a dream come to fruition! I had my “The Enchanted Goddess” logo created by a renowned Graffiti Artist legend and author Louie Gasparro! I am pictured here with Queens Council on the Arts Projects Director Molaundo Jones. It captures the essence of the “rebel spirit of the divine feminine!”
I created Teeshirts from soft cotton with a longer length. The black and white palate gives versatility to any badass goddess’ wardrobe. You can “modify” the design by cutting off the collar for an off the shoulder looks cut the sleeves off or make it a crop top. More designs to come!
*10% of the proceeds will be donated to “Hour Children” an organization that houses/educates homeless previously incarcerated women and their children.
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Let’s talk creativity, sisterhood and uproarious laughter, marching through the decades. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are the epitome of that – on and off the screen!
Watch this TED talk – it is hilarious!
Our friendships are our lifeblood. They sustain us and nurture us. We build families of belong and communities with them. We share trials and triumphs with our friends.
We celebrate love, traditions and honor losses with our friends by our side. Friends go where family can’t. Friends go where husbands and lover’s can’t. They stand by us through the storm. Sisters by another mother.
When the going gets tough, our friends are there. We consult, cook, evaluate, create and learn to fly with our friends. We see the best versions of ourselves through their eyes. Unconditional love through the decades is their greatest gift. They chronicle all the stages of our lives and help us to be our authentic selves.
I am so blessed with so many gorgeous friends of all decades. I can grow and create in the safe space of their hearts and home. They help me remember what a brace soul I am. My friends are a built in cheering section, into this next adventurous stage of my life.
Our friendships are our greatest resource in life, along with family! So go out there and hug a friend, send an uplifting text or photo, make a call and get together and dish on all your future adventures to come!
About two years ago, I stumbled upon a free “Gentle Yoga” class. I parked my car and headed into the building with my Yoga mat. Unbeknownst to me, it was in a Senior Center. These elders kicked my butt in their practice! I was in awe and I continue to take classes there. I walked away with renewed hope for a fabulous active future in my cards.
My Dad is 90 and can walk faster than me, ghosts me on Facebook, loves his computer and bosses around Alexa, his virtual assistant. He drives from NY to Florida, dances, and babysits his great grand children. Dad leads a family of eight children, twenty grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. I see a very long, active and creative life in the genetic roulette wheel for me.
Then there are the lovely ladies of 87. Irene traveled across country on a plane alone, with striking palazzo pants and a vintage handbag to die for. Lila is a feisty fashion plate that sports a spiky short hair cut, large movie star sunglasses and sporting sleek NYC black attire. She is the doyenne of Astoria and whatever shops or cafes she frequents – the royal treatment ensues.
Urban Shaman Mama Donna Henes is in her 70’s and is running her own business, counseling and marrying couples and leading outdoor ceremonies and parades for hundreds of people. She is an accomplished author, blesses animals and a spiritual advisor. There is a joy and power that emanates from Mama Donna – she is unstoppable! She truly inspires me!
My dear friend Chris at 90 years of age and his recently departed wife Florence at 85 were great friends. Trips to Costco, doctor’s office or a restaurant became adventures. Florence had an irreverent sense of humor, razor sharp sense of humor, chain smoked and could out dish anyone. I sorely miss her.
Chris now solo at 90, shops, cooks, does laundry, goes on the subway to doctor’s appointments and eats out with friends and family. He is up on all the news and local events. For the past few months, I’ve been going to another Senior Center for lunch a few times a week. We watch the ladies and gentlemen get up and dance after. We laugh, go shopping and share current events. My life is greatly enriched by this treasure trove of “seasoned” friends. I feel truly inspired about my future!