Artists Approach Aging As A Creative Journey

Currently in its initial networking phase, the Aging Creatively program will bring participants together in a workshop environment, with the goal of unleashing the creative force and creating works of “sensational” art. Courtesy photo.

Currently in its initial networking phase, the Aging Creatively program will bring participants together in a workshop environment, with the goal of unleashing the creative force and creating works of “sensational” art. Courtesy photo.

By Caitlin Switzer

REGIONAL–(June 4, 2013)  Keeping hands and heart busy in creative activity keeps the spirit young. That’s the idea behind the Aging Creatively Project, an effort sponsored by the Montrose Arts Council and implemented by two local artists, Linda Hoeksema and Glenda Fletchall. The project, which is currently in the networking phase, will bring participants together in a workshop environment, with the goal of unleashing the creative force and creating works of “sensational” art.

“Linda and I have been offering pilot workshops in Montrose and Ridgway,” Fletchall said, “and we have seen tremendous transformations. This is not a craft group—it is a truly creative process that helps people get in touch with what is inside that you want to express. We call it a playgroup, although we have had people cry. When you are totally alive, when you break out of your routine, all of your energy comes to the surface.”

As a lifelong musician and educator, Fletchall knows firsthand how exploration of the creative arts can inspire. Hoeksema also brings the perspective of an artist and dancer to the mix.

“I love sharing the expressive arts,” Hoeksema said. “As we get older, it is really so important to stay creative and keep moving. My background as a dancer has helped me realize how important it is to express ourselves through movement, and to remain inquisitive about what is within us, and what we have to offer.

“I am excited to engage people who may have become complacent in life to get up and move.”

While teaching, Fletchall found herself inspired by pupils who did not fit into a convenient “mold.”

“I totally get that,” she said. “Everything I have done in my own life has been in a creative mode—what I loved best about teaching was when I got to be creative. And my Masters in Counseling has helped me learn to work with people as they go through the phases.”

The project is starting with a small budget, but Fletchall and Hoeksema are applying for grant funds so as to continue the work. This Fall, the project will move into the community workshop phase, in which participants will use their own thoughts, feelings and emotions to create tangible expressions of art, and eventually into the community performance phase, in which participants will partner with local artists to create an original community performance that incorporates voice, movement, sound, acting, poetry and the visual arts.

“We are hoping to start workshops in September and October,” Fletchall said, “and we are planning to hold four different workshops in four different locations. We will try to keep class sizes to around 10 or 12 people, but we are prepared to expand as we need to—we want to reach a whole spectrum of people.”

To learn more about the Aging Creatively project, call Fletchall at 970-208-2675 or Hoeksema at 970-626-5872.