2018 Catalyzing Creative Aging Grantees

Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Bronx, NY (Bomba/Plena)

Casita Maria will work with an Afro-Puerto Rican artist to provide a series of 12 Bomba workshops to 15 older adults in the Hunts Point community. Bomba is one of the traditional musical styles of Puerto Rico, drawing from the island's three cultures: African, Spanish, and Taino. Each workshop will include several elements: drum meditation; storytelling dialogue (interactive); song listening exercises (with traditional Bomba and Plena songs); explanations of Bomba rhythm and Paseo (synchronized dance movements); explanations of Bomba dance and language; and guidance for creating Bomba in a specific space. A culminating performance will be held during Puerto Rican Heritage month, in partnership with Comite Noviembre.

The Music Settlement, Cleveland, OH (Choral Music)

TMS Settlement Singers Active Adult Choir will be an ensemble for up to 40 older adults interested in expressing themselves through music. Designed to foster a creative and social experience for older learners, TMS Settlement Singers participants will practice breathing and vocal techniques, gain performance skills, learn to read rhythms and pitch patterns, and memorize text and music. These skills will lead up to a celebratory performance for family, friends, and community members at The Music Settlement’s Glick Recital Hall. The program will be provided in partnership with several senior housing and community centers; free or low-cost transportation will be provided.

Community Music School of Springfield, Springfield, MA (Choral Music)

CMSS Community Chorus program engage groups of 10-12 older adults at three senior living facilities throughout the city and will culminate in a public concert at each site. At each site, the chorus program will begin with warmups and simple rounds, and then continue to more complicated songs, teaching lyric and tune memorization and harmony. Participants will learn a variety of genres, including folk, contemporary, jazz, and Broadway and will practice and share their progress with one another in social engagement activities at the beginning and end of each class. Ultimately, participants will learn breath and vocal control, learn how to sing in harmony, learn new songs, and gain confidence in their voices.

Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA (Ceramics)

Through Ceramics: Stories for the Ages, Fleisher will partner with Puentes de Salud to extend the reach of the arts to older adults living in South Philadelphia’s immigrant Latino communities. 15 individuals will participate in a 12-week workshop in ceramics and hand-building. The program, centered on folk and traditional arts, is designed to reduce isolation and improve quality of life through socially-engaged and skill-building activities. They will learn fundamental hand-building skills and methods for working in clay, while exploring expressive possibilities of the medium and its potential for narrative storytelling. The program will culminate in a public exhibition of student’s work in Fleisher’s free gallery and a community celebration which will include a talk with the artists and teaching artist, and interactive art- making stations for children and adults.

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ (Drawing)

Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) will provide a 12-week program that introduces foundational skills in drawing to 15 older adults. Works featured in GFS’s Masayuki Koorida: Sculpture exhibition will serve as the grounding inspiration for this series. The exhibition features large-scale drawings made with graphite and abstract stone sculptures which, in part, are inspired by the natural world. Participants will work with graphite, charcoal, ink, and black and white watercolor washes during the program, discovering the unique characteristics of each media, and exploring the relationship between representation and abstraction. Their drawings will also take inspiration from the wide array of horticultural specimens found on the GFS site. The program will culminate in a public exhibition.

Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Pasadena, CA (Ukulele)

PCM’s new program, Ukulele Jam: The Great American Songbook, will promote active learning and incorporate structured social engagement for 10 adults age 55+. Over the course of 12 weeks, participants will develop ukulele playing techniques through exposure to repertoire in a relaxed and fun group setting. They will become versed in ukulele history, music terminology, music theory, and accompanying while singing. Repertoire for Ukulele Jam will include selections from American musical theater and other familiar songs. Students will work with the instructor to select pieces they will prepare and later perform at the end-of-semester recital.

Pullen Arts Center, Raleigh, NC (Portraiture)

Pullen Arts Center will partner with Parks and Recreation and Cultural Resources facilities in each quadrant of Raleigh, NC, to explore stories of Raleigh’s people through a new portraiture program for older adults. In this 12-week program, groups of 10-16 participants, ages 55+, will teach techniques for creating images of the human face using drawing, painting, collage, and mixed media. Classes will focus on hands-on art making and include artist demonstrations, discussions of portraiture through history, and group discussion and storytelling. Participants will create a self-portrait that will be displayed in a singular exhibition at the Borden Building in Fletcher Park. The culminating event intends to demonstrate that art, especially portraiture, can be an entry point for sharing stories and having discussions among community members throughout the city.

Rocky Ridge Music Center, Denver, CO (Ukulele)

Rocky Ridge Music Center will launch a ukulele group program at Balfour-Riverfront Park senior residence in Denver, CO. This program is designed to provide a non-intimidating opportunity for older adults to learn the foundational skills of ukulele playing and self-accompanied singing, with the goal of building the skills needed for participants to develop repertoire and engage in solo and ensemble playing in both informal and performance settings. Over a sequence of 12 weekly classes, 10 participants will progress from introductory material such as instrument mechanics and tuning, basic strumming techniques, simple chords, and unison singing, to more advanced skills including playing from tab chord charts, ear training, and part singing. Class time will be devoted to teaching and practicing individual technique, and ensemble playing and singing. At the end of the program, students will take part in a concert for family and friends held in the historic performance hall at the Highland Events Center and will leave the program with a foundation in basics of ukulele playing and arranging simple ukulele repertoire.

West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, Grand Rapids, MI (Fiber Arts)

The West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT) will engage 10-12 residents of senior living community Samaritas in a 6-week, 12-session fiber arts studio experience. Shibori is a Japanese resist dyeing method that creates patterns by binding, stitching, folding, tying, and twisting fabric during the dyeing process. The program will begin with an introduction to shibori and its historical and cultural context, and students will practice dyeing techniques on small-scale projects. They will then learn and apply skills in pattern construction and basic sewing by creating a piece of wearable art (a yukata, a light cotton kimono, with an obi, a belt). Participants will plan a fashion show for their culminating event and create individual artist statements to share with their final projects.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Berkeley Heights, NJ (Choral Music)

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will launch a 12-week choral program for up to 60 older adults that explores musical themes (e.g., Jazz, Rock, Great American Songbook, Classical) chosen by the participants. The program will also provide opportunities for intergenerational arts engagement and exchange with members of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Chorus members will perform 4-6 songs in a final concert along with members of the youth symphony.