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?