Community-Engaged Arts Opportunities for Seniors / Activités artistiques communautaires pour les personnes âgées
    January / janvier 2016
Community-engaged arts opportunities for seniors and older adults are on the rise across Canada! For the first time in Canada’s history, there are more people age 65 and older than people under age 15. Here is a sampling of inspiring arts initiatives that engage seniors that are on ArtBridges' radar.

Les activités artistiques communautaires pour les personnes du troisième âge sont de plus en plus nombreuses, d’un océan à l’autre. Pour la première fois de son histoire, le Canada compte plus de personnes âgées de 65 ans et plus que de jeunes de moins de 15 ans. Voici quelques exemples d’activités inspirantes qui s’adressent aux aînés.
Arts and Health Project [BC]

The Arts and Health Project: Healthy Aging Through The Arts provides community-engaged arts programming for targeted communities of vulnerable seniors across the metro Vancouver area.

The project strives to maintain and improve the health and well-being of vulnerable seniors through active, ongoing participation in community-based arts practices facilitated by professional artists, and provide capacity building opportunities for professional artists working with older adults within this focused community-based practice. Read more
Quirk-e: The Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders [BC]

Quirk-e provides a vibrant entertaining voice for the senior queer citizens of Vancouver. We have experienced discrimination in our youth and may face old age single, disabled and isolated. But we are a "discordant and unruly choir, insisting, despite the odds, on showing the height, depth and breadth of experiences." Read more
Reel Youth [BC]

Ageism is Canada's most widely tolerated form of social discrimination, and the Age Is More Film Program was designed to shed light on ageism, challenge the assumptions that younger women have of aging, and recognize the valuable wisdom of older women.

These films were produced in Reel Youth and Revera's Age Is More Film Program, at The Kensington Residence in Saanich, BC. The program brought together young and older women in a creative collaboration to celebrate older Canadian women through story-telling and film, with the added benefit of fostering new inter-generational relationships. Read more
Victoria Target Theatre Group [BC]

Target uses drama to address seniors’ issues because theatre stimulates and moves people in a way that is different from ideas learned through lectures or books. Target plays cover a variety of topics: dementia, safety, abuse, quality of life, death and dying. Read more
L.E.A.P. (Learning Elders Arts Program) [PEI]

Funding enables local seniors' groups, organizations or facilities to hire professional and semi-professional artists to teach various artistic disciplines such as visual and media arts, dance, instrumental or vocal music, theatre or musical theatre, literary arts, and folk arts and crafts to seniors. The group making the application locates a partner artist and together they complete the application. Read more
Le Réseau des Ruches d’Art [QC]

La Ruche d’Art St Henri ouvre son studio particulièrement aux seniors tous les mercredis et la Ruche d’Art NDG reçoit tous les jours essentiellement des ainés. Pour en savoir plus sur la mission des ruches d’art, vous pouvez consulter l’article paru sur notre blog au printemps dernier et la page profil.
Le Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orleans [QC]

Le MIFO est le plus grand centre culturel francophone de l'Ontario. Il vise a promouvoir la culture francophone et à répondre aux besoins culturels, artistiques, socio-communautaires et éducatifs de la communauté francophone de la région d'Orléans. Le MIFO propose des ateliers éducatifs artistiques destinés aux personnes de 50 ans et plus. Ces ateliers ont un prix, mais sont relativement abordables. Parmi ceux-ci on peut citer les ateliers de théâtre, le patchwork et la broderie qui sont très bon marché. Pour en savoir d'avantage sur le MIFO et l'ensemble de ses ateliers, consultez le profil sur notre site.
In-Definite Arts Society [AB]

In-Definite Arts supports adults of all ages to access a wide variety of arts experiences, including specialized art classes for seniors and residents of southeast Calgary. In-Definite Arts operates a multidisciplinary venue that comprises an affordable and versatile studio and exhibition space. Monday to Thursday, In-Definite Arts offers a combination of disability art and community classes that promote artistic engagement at both the amateur and professional levels. Read more
Common Weal Community Arts [SK]

Hello In There / Hello Out There is an interactive art project engaging senior citizens, most of whom live in permanent care facilities, through artist-led workshops. Participants are invited to share their personal narratives, life stories, and memories, and are then assisted in making a selected story or memory accessible to others through the creation of an assemblage or diorama memory box, using miniatures, images, photographs, and other ephemera arranged inside of decorated cigar boxes and other small wooden boxes. In addition, each participant is given the opportunity to tell their story in their own voice in an audio recording. The project will culminate in a province-wide touring exhibition of the memory boxes, each one paired with an audio recording of the artist’s narrative, through Saskatchewan in 2015-2016. Read more
ArtHeart Community Art Centre: Seniors' Arts [ON]

As a result of the recent Regent Park revitalization in Toronto and to accommodate new senior residents that have moved into the community, ArtHeart has launched a Seniors’ Arts Program for individuals ages 55 and older. The weekly program consists of one three-hour workshop with 20 – 25 participants attending each workshop. Art classes will focus on diverse creative techniques including sewing, crocheting, painting, drawing, lino-printing, bead work, and more. Seniors’ Arts will provide seniors with opportunities to feel welcome and included in their community while being creative and active. Read more
Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services [ON]

Dixon Hall's Wellness Programs allow seniors to live an enriched, active and independent life by encouraging participation in social, recreational and educational activities that enhance abilities and leadership skills, increase social awareness and promote wellness among seniors. Activities include arts and crafts, jewelry making, exercises, sewing, outings and health and wellness workshops. Read more
Eglinton Hill Centre [ON]

Eglinton Hill Centre (EHC) has various arts programs including painting, photography and Afro-Caribbean dance for older adults and seniors. One of EHC’s amazing community programs is their photography club. Members learn how to use digital cameras to document local businesses and feature them on Facebook. The project called Community Clicks is profiled in this video. EHC also partnered with Seneca College Information Technology Students to develop a digital memoir that they can share on Facebook Read more
Health Action Theatre by Seniors (HATS) [ON]

HATS is an innovative, community-based health promotion program for seniors. HATS uses a form of educational theatre to raise awareness about difficult issues facing seniors. At the same time, this educational theatre (performed by volunteer seniors) also promotes a positive problem-solving forum for both audience and participants. The program is unique in a number of ways. It is community-based, culturally sensitive, educational, participatory, targeted to seniors, and has far-ranging impact ("ripple effects"). It is based on the Action Theatre community education model. This award-winning program is administered by West Neighbourhood House, formerly St. Christopher House, a United Way Agency in Toronto. Read more
VIBE Arts (formerly Arts for Children and Youth) [ON]

Youth and seniors collaborate on artworks that are placed with the meals seniors receive through Meals on Wheels programs. Erin from VIBE Arts describes the program here.
Mixed Company Theatre [ON]

Mixed Company Theatre (MCT) produces innovative, socially relevant drama as a tool for positive change. Founded as an artist-run collective in 1983, Mixed Company Theatre develops Forum Theatre and interactive arts in collaboration with schools, communities, and workplaces.

Two of their projects are:
Mixed Company Theatre, in partnership with Scadding Court Community Centre, will begin working with the First Nation’s Senior Community. Through interactive theatre and community arts activities, participants will explore multicultural and intergenerational stories, issues and concerns culminating into a public presentation.

INTER-GEN PROJECTS : SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT (Winter/Spring 2016) Continuing their work within two separate communities in Toronto, they will host a series of in-depth workshops with teens and seniors to create two full-length productions in a Toronto Theatre venue in December 2016. In late spring 2016, MCT will look for the community’s input by hosting public readings of the script in development. Read more
This summary was compiled by Sonya Young, ArtBridges Outreach Coordinator. To learn more or let us know about a community arts initiative for seniors that you know aboutreach Sonya at

Compilation réalisée par Sonya Young, agente de liaison communautaire pour ArtBridges/ToileDesArts. Vous voulez en savoir plus sur les activités artistiques communautaires pour les aînés ou vous avez des renseignements à nous transmettre à ce sujet? Communiquez avec Sonya!
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