Creative Aging Success Stories

Celebrating the Success of Our Creative Aging Program



A Creative Aging student at work.
Photo: © Denise Rohdin

Denise Rohdin, a visual artist from Waterville, is one of 15 Maine artists who have completed training to lead hands-on workshops for older adults in community settings, such as senior centers, assisted living facilities and libraries; and to be listed on the Maine Arts Commission’s Creative Aging Teaching Artist Roster.

Designed to generate opportunities for lifelong learning, the Commission’s Creative Aging Program, now starting its third year, provides new possibilities for adults over 60. Aimed at fostering creative engagement, the program also demonstrates the power of the arts in helping people to improve their lives. As Rohdin describes it, “This program is not so much about the end product…but about enjoying the process of learning while developing sequential steps to new skills.” 

Rohdin works closely with Liz Harper, the Resident Service Coordinator at Arch Beta Housing in Augusta. Together they are introducing a six-week course on printmaking including collagraph design and printing, stencil making, gelatin printing, stationery printing and use of recycled/upcycled book paper to Arch Beta residents. At the end of the workshop, Arch Beta will host an exhibit of participants’ work for family and community members.  




The Creative Aging Program also focuses on the important role older adults can play in community life. When the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell received a Creative Aging Partnership grant to fund storyteller and Creative Aging Teaching artist Jo Radner to teach a series of eight workshops, they suddenly had a waiting list. 

Sixteen people signed up for the “Art of Storytelling” workshops in Fall 2015. The workshops helped participants discover and enjoy their own most comfortable and effective styles of storytelling by exploring classic folktales, playing storytelling games, and learning new ways of mining memories for their own narratives. Participants developed their individual goals in the class and learned how to find, create, and shape stories.  

As Radner reports, “After a few weeks of meetings one man, a farmer, wrote, ‘I’ve started carrying a pen and piece of paper in my shirt pocket to write down short phrases and thoughts that come to me. Sometimes I even stop to dry my hands while I’m washing up the milk pails so I can write something down before I forget it.’”

Radner’s class culminated in a potluck “Tellabration” on December 8, at which every person told a well-developed story and the musician daughter of one participant framed the event with harp music. Radner recorded the stories and presented each class member with a two-CD set as a memento. So enthusiastic were the tellers that the storytelling gatherings will extend through 2016 in a monthly “Liars’ Club,” sponsored by the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library and open to the public.  

Creative Aging teaching artist Jo Radner (far right) with her “Art of Storytelling”
class at the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library.
Photo: © Jo Radner




We'll be featuring more stories on the Creative Aging Program in the April edition of our printed quarterly newsletter. Click here and sign up to receive your copy.



The next grant application deadline is April 21. If you are interested in applying for funding to have a teaching artist work with your group of older adults, contact Kathleen Mundell to discuss your project and the application process. vog.eniam@llednum.neelhtak or 207-287-6746.

For more information about the application process, click here.



If you are interested in applying to be on the Creative Aging Teaching Artist Roster, the agency will be hosting a training session in late April, with a May 26 deadline for this year's applications. For more information about the training and application process, contact Kathleen Mundell.

Click here to view the Teaching Artist Roster.

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