June 18, 2012 | Back to: News

Art-Health Alliance | Painting on eggshells

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Art-Health Alliance (AHA) is a new organization serving the Truckee-Tahoe Region. A small organization with a significant vision, AHA views strategic partnerships as a critical means of advancing its mission. Recognizing the significant impact art and creativity have on the aging process, Sierra Senior Services agreed to join forces with the Art-Health Alliance to provide specialized visual art programming tailored to the Truckee-Tahoe older adult population.

Programs are designed to maximize cognitive engagement and critical thinking abilities as well as exercise benefits to the hands and fingers art making can provide. Programs will be tailored to four specific populations, including working retired, or otherwise completely active; frail adults who can remain at home if they receive the right services; those with physical or cognitive disabilities in the care of others at home or in an institutional setting; and caregivers. All programs will be led by professional artists under guiding principles approved by the board of directors of the Art-Health Alliance and Sierra Senior Services.

There is evidence older people who participate regularly in art and culture programs experience better physical and mental health than those who do not. In fact, a recent multi-site study on 300 healthy, ambulatory adults from Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Brooklyn found older adults engaged in high-quality participatory art programs had fewer doctor visits, suffered fewer falls and maintained a stronger social network than those in the peer control group.

According to the National Center for Creative Aging, the stars are aligned for arts and aging programs to be part of the process and part of the solution. With a scientific basis for such programs, and a potential translation to savings in health care dollars, more and more regulatory agencies and grant-making organizations are shifting their funding priorities in support of arts-related initiatives for older people. A long-term goal of the Art-Health Alliance and Sierra Senior Services is to establish a regular and enduring art enrichment program for seniors within the Truckee-Tahoe Community.

Thanks to a generous donation from David Kahn and Barbara Kramen-Kahn and a matching grant from the Tahoe-Truckee Community Foundation, the program will launch this summer featuring an Egg Painting Workshop with Cathee vanRossem-St.Clair. This fun, easy, nine-session workshop has been adapted to meet the specific needs and capabilities of older people. vanRossem-St.Clair, an accomplished egg painter, artist, storyteller, poet, and teacher, will captivate and nurture participants through the process of painting their own story around an eggshell's surface. They will then share that story through a narrative poem. Starting July 9 and ending on Aug. 6, the workshop will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District's Community Recreation Center. The workshop is limited to 15 participants, and the sliding scale fee $10-$100 depending upon ability to pay. A keepsake photo album will be available for an additional fee.

The Art-Health Alliance (AHA) is a health, education, and arts organization dedicating to the recognition and advancement of healing arts programs in the Truckee-Tahoe community to facilitate personal growth, learning, and healing. The board of directors includes Barbara Kramen-Kahn, Ph.D., clinical psychologist; Anne Chadwick, author/photographer; Shane Johnson, M.D.; and Alice Baldwin, MFT intern. Carla Beebe is the executive director of Art-Health Alliance and Sarah Deardorff is the executive director of Sierra Senior Services.

To learn more about the workshop and/or sponsorship opportunities, call Carla at 530-386-4976 or email ArtHealthAlliance@hotmail.com. Sierra Senior Services can be reached by calling 530-550-7600 or email at shdsierraseniors@sbcglobal.net.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 19, 2012 04:44PM Published Jun 18, 2012 03:13PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.