Redefining Age Through Art

Redefining Age Through Art

What’s the best part of being your age? How would you show that artistically?

Elder Care Alliance, in collaboration with LeadingAge, sponsored ReDefining Age: A Square Foot Art Show in order to gain insights into individuals’ perspectives on the best thing about their particular ages, exploring the topic through art. Organized by Erin Partridge, an Art Therapist at an Elder Care Alliance community, the project invited people of all ages, including Elder Care Alliance community residents and employees, to submit a piece of art under the theme, “Redefining Age.” Each work celebrates something about the creator’s current age, with the only limitation being that the canvas had to be 12 by 12 inches.
“What would it be like if we didn’t see the number but the person and the unique life experiences that make up the sum of who that person is?”

Rachel Main, regional director of Life Enrichment and Memory Care, says Elder Care Alliance purposely chose to display the artwork like a quilt, close together and not grouped by age, in order to foster the opportunity to see the person — not the age of generational label.

The show opened in September at the UCSF Memory & Aging Center in San Francisco and will soon be making its way to the LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Nashville. The collection of artwork will be featured during the conference from October 19 to 22, with pieces being rotated daily. Art stations will be set up onsite and attendees will be invited to add their own creations to the show.

After the Annual Meeting, the Square Foot Art Show will travel to the LeadingAge national headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it will be displayed through January 2015. It will then return to Elder Care Alliance in Alameda, Calif. The organization hopes to find other locations willing to display the exhibit so it can continue to be shared with the wider community.

Main says the theme of the show carries an important message for all ages. “What would it be like if we didn’t see the number,” Main asks, “but the person and the unique life experiences that make up the sum of who that person is?”