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First Annual Creative Aging Festival Celebrates Seniors' Art

The Commission on Aging was founded in 2009, to promote awareness of and to celebrate Bloomington's growing community of seniors. The biggest of the celebrations this year is the first annual Creative Aging Festival, which launched May 1 and continues throughout this month.

Three Festival Objectives

Julie Hill is a member of the Bloomington Commission on Aging, which is sponsoring the festival in conjunction with the Center on Aging and Community at Indiana University. She described the reasons for this year's festival:

We have three objectives with the festival. One is to showcase the talents of the elders living in our community, whether they're established artists or first-time artists. The second objective is to cultivate intergenerational understanding through dialogue and storytelling and passing on traditions, and the third is to highlight the value of creative engagement for adult health and well-being.

Making Memories From Art

27 organizations have come together to make this festival a reality. One exhibit in conjunction with the festival is Memories in the Making, at the Ivy Tech/John Waldron Arts Center. It features artwork created by local artists with Alzheimer's disease and other related dementia. Owens says art is an essential practice for adults whose memories are deteriorating.

"A lot of research shows that it actually improves the health of adult well-being. People improve on the depression scale and have fewer falls and less doctors visits, take less medication." She says the exhibit promises to be inspiring to viewersherself included. "Just having the courage to put yourself out there is a pretty amazing thing. So I personally am excited about that."

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