Seniors find arts EngAging

Thunder Bay Art Gallery public programming co-ordinator Pam Cain, second from right, leads a workshop for seniors.

The arts are an important part of a full life, said Holly Rupert, assistant to the director at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, and that is no different for seniors.

“We want to keep our seniors well, we want to be well and this is one way to stay healthy in your heart,” said Rupert, organizer of an event that aims to inspire seniors to get involved in the arts.

On Wednesday, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery is hosting a Creative EngAging event in the Heritage building at the CLE that will bring arts groups from across the city under one roof.

“We know there are so many other creative opportunities in the community for seniors,” said Rupert. “Our goal was to bring them all together so people could explore them, try things out and find a new interest or return to something they used to do and haven’t got back to.”

The event is aimed at what Rupert called “young seniors” - those 55-plus who are thinking of retiring or have just retired and are looking for new interests to explore.

“It’s not always that practical to sign up for a whole course if you don’t even know if you’ll like it,” said Rupert. “It’s a way for people to try new things and find out what they like.”

The arts fair will include groups involved in singing and dancing, and there will be musical instruments to try. Traditional crafts like weaving, spinning and rug hooking will be represented and the Thunder Bay woodcarvers will be showing off their art.

“They love demonstrating and are always encouraging people to come and take in workshops,” said Rupert.

Representatives from the art gallery will be there too as well as the Thunder Bay Public Library, a poetry group and conversationalists ready to engage in the cafe that will also be available.

“They are going to have so much fun, everyone who comes will have a blast,” said Rupert.

The event takes place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is pay what you can, with a suggested admission of $2.

The idea for the event came out of the Creative Aging Symposium that the art gallery hosted last year.

“People they told us they wanted to try new things, they wanted to continue to explore ways to be more creative, so that became the impetus for us doing some follow up in this way,” said Rupert.

Passports will be offered to participants in the arts fair in which they can make notes about the things they try, what they liked and information about how to get involved.

”(The arts) contribute so much to the quality of life for all of us and when we have people engaged in the arts, chances are they are out in the community doing something with their art,” said Rupert. “They make our community more vibrant. In that sense I think it’s a community strengthening initiative.”

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