LivingArts: Elders in Arts

With a grant from the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition, KAAHC developed Elders in Arts, embedding four local artists, working in different mediums, provide creative arts workshops developed for an aging audience. Classes were offered senior living or social facilities. Each artist visit was adapted for each locations participants in terms of mobility, time, length and attention, and abilities.

Isolation, depression, helplessness often occur as people move into assisted living, long term care, or as the result of decreased mobility in aging. Art provides a focal point for communication, relaxation, and healing, as well as encourage cognitive thinking skills that have been found to improve mental dexterity in elderly.

Classes are free to participants and offered over a five week period.
Contact Cameo McRoberts at (907)225-2211 for information on future programming.

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Summer 2016 Teaching Artists:

Erik Sivertsen is a local potter with experience teaching children and adults in hand built pottery and sculpture. His excitement and enthusiasm is contagious, working with participants with limited mobility, or self-doubt about trying a new skill, or creating functional art. He engaged with them directly and got them to playing with the clay, telling stories, and ultimately creating something they were proud of. He then fired the pieces and returned to them for display. With a grin from ear to ear, Erik proclaimed, “Our elders are living libraries of history and knowledge!”

Marilyn Lee brought with her years of watercolor experience creating a class focused on color and texture utilizing salt, plastic wrap, and straws to engage and create art with participants that might not think they had the artistic ability to learn a classic medium such as watercolor.

Laura Kinunen is an artist and elementary school teacher with a gift for mixed media. Using parts of Marilyn’s projects and an arsenal of colored paper, and magazines, participants cut, ripped, and glued beautiful collages, encouraged to think creatively regarding design, and reminded that art can be made from anything you have available.

Jess Berto brought dance and movement to participants that might not have considered silliness as a form of exercise or dance. She used pool noodles, balloons, rubber bands and basketballs to get even  wheelchair-bound elders laughing and giggling, as they played with movement and engaged in a team activity.

Participating Locations:

Ketchikan Indian Community Senior Center
Ketchikan Senior Center
Peace Health Longterm
Pioneer Home

Click here to see more photos of workshops and some of our participants work.