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Creative Aging in Our Communities


In recent decades, much has been said about the demographic changes that New York City shares with the rest of the world. Yes, we are getting older! 

One widespread response has been a surge of programs to promote creativity in mid- and later life. NYPL has happily participated in these efforts, especially since 2010 when we started partnering with Lifetime Arts Inc. to offer our first Creative Aging courses, which took place in six branch libraries. Each course was taught by a professional teaching artist and lasted a minimum of eight 90-minute classes so that the two goals of the project — mastery of the basics of the art, and social engagement of the participants — would be met.

In 2012, Lifetime Arts once again secured private funding and offered NYPL, as well as our sister library system the Brooklyn Public Library, the opportunity to host additional courses as part of Creative Aging in our Communities: The NYC Libraries Project. This allowed us to provide 15 courses, each now consisting of a minimum of eight two-hour classes, and each with a culminating event celebrating the accomplishments of the student artists who took part. Courses included: a continuation of the popular Roaring Chorus at the Richmondtown Library; A Village Vision: Watercolor Painting from Experience at the Jefferson Market Library; Exploring Your Life: A Class in Memoir Writing at Morris Park Library; Memoir and Performanceat the Kingsbridge Library; Memoirs, Penned and Spoken at the St. George Library Center; and, Drawing from Life Experience at the Mulberry Street Library.

How do we select which branches offer Creative Aging courses? As Lifetime Arts secures a limited amount of private funding for these courses, those branch libraries which would like to host a creative aging course are given the opportunity to apply in conjunction with a professional teaching artist. Lifetime Arts then convenes a panel of experts which selects the courses to be funded. 

The success of all of these classes, and the enthusiastic response of library staff witnessing them, has spurred us on to again join with Lifetime Arts—this time withseveral library systems throughout New York State—to participate in Creative Aging in New York State Libraries in 2012-2013. This will enable us to offer about 18 Creative Aging courses in 2013. Branches hosting the classes will be announced in January 2013.

How can you find out where and when upcoming courses will be offered? Do any — or preferably all — of the below:

One way or another, stay tuned! 

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