Our first year of the Artful Aging program is wrapping up. Thanks to a generous grant from Aroha Philanthropies, the Johnson City Public Library offered classes in storytelling, poetry, photography, sculpting, banjo, and mandolin to over 60 people aged 55 or older over the course of 2017. Creating art is one of the most effective means of improving well-being in older adults, improving quality of life through better mental, physical, and psychological health. Marjorie Shaefer, teacher of the storytelling class says, “So many people of this age retire from something…but it’s the people that retire to something that have another route to go, and the glorious arrangement of these workshops that tap into all of our creative juices–it’s just going to be such a positive thing to people. I’m anxious to take one of them myself!”
All Artful Aging classes were offered free to the public, including all materials participants needed, such as cameras, musical instruments, and more. Lisa Williams, Johnson City Public Library Adult Services Librarian and coordinator for the Artful Aging program, says she has received glowing feedback on the the program and how meaningful it has been. “Participants have told me how wonderful an opportunity it’s been for them. In particular, there are a lot of things they just wouldn’t have had access to otherwise, like a photography dark room or a sculpting studio, that we were able to provide for them through this program.”
The final event from this year will be a free class concert given by the members of the banjo and mandolin classes on November 5, from 4-6, at Willow Tree Coffeehouse.