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Grace Lee: Teaching Artist in Training Part II

Craig Hayes

Craig Hayes, STAFF

Community-Word Project’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP) offers elective seminars. The “Creative Aging” seminar was led by staff from Lifetime Arts. Lifetime Arts is a national community-based organization. They provide art instruction programs to older adults at public libraries within their communities. 

Lifetime Arts also provides three-day field training for teaching artists to develop their capacity to work with the elderly. Ms. Annie of Lifetime Arts conducted a mock session with the seminar attendees. Her icebreaker was a game for learning names in which participants tossed a rubber ball back and forth while saying their names.

She then led us through “Where Are You?” She read statements and had us stand in a line according to where we fell on the spectrum from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Some of the questions: "I think working with elders is harder than with kids." "Elders do not learn as much or as fast as kids."  "I am afraid of the elderly."  "I feel I cannot give creative crticism to people older than me."

Finally she led discussions sparked by inquiry questions. She challenged the participants to understand their place in the training. “Why are you here?” “What do you want to know?” “What stands in your way?”

We also learned about, Elders Share the Arts, a CWP partner organization. Their focus is on inter-generational programs, “to bridge communication and build relationships between young and old through innovative arts programs that offer students a positive perspective of the elderly.” One program, Intergenerational Arts, integrates life history with art making to build a sense of community between elders and youth.”

Resource: Lifetime Arts has created a Creative Aging Toolkit for Public Libraries (CAT4PL)

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