An exciting new partnership program in creative aging took place at PMAC this spring! On Monday June 21, PMAC and Portsmouth Senior Activity Center’s “A World of Percussion” class, led by teaching artist Brian Shankar Adler, presented their culminating performance to an intimate audience of friends and family. This performance, held at the recently reopened Portsmouth Senior Activity Center, showcased the learning and community building that took place over the course of the six week program.

Many people ask “What is creative aging?” According to Lifetime Arts, creative aging programs use the arts to improve the quality of life for older adults (55+) through creative expression and social engagement. Creative aging programming is participatory and professionally taught, with a focus on skills mastery and social connections. PMAC’s “A World of Percussion” class focused on drumming and percussion, with the study of regional musical culture woven into the curriculum. Students studied rhythm, learned to use a variety of instruments, and even discovered how to improvise.

Programming such as this is made possible through the support and hard work of many people – foundations, grants, staff, teaching artists and community members. In March 2021, PMAC was selected as one of 14 recipients of a 2021 Catalyzing Creative Aging seed grant, and this funding underwrote the pilot program. The seed grant was provided by the National Guild for Community Arts Education and made possible, in part, by generous support from Aroha Philanthropies and the NAMM Foundation. Previously in 2019-2020, PMAC was part of a cohort of organizations in The Catalyzing Creative Aging Program, presented by the National Guild for Community Arts Education in partnership with Lifetime Arts, and included group training, one-on-one coaching, and funding.

Special thanks to Brinn Sullivan, the senior coordinator of the Portsmouth Senior Activity Center. Her patience and flexibility allowed the program to move forward as scheduled, and PMAC was thrilled to hold the culminating performance on site at the center. 

Read Part 2 of this story where Brian Shankar Adler shares his insights and observations from teaching this creative aging class. PMAC looks forward to offering more creative aging programs soon!

The Catalyzing Creative Aging seed grant is provided by the National Guild for Community Arts Education and made possible, in part, by generous support from Aroha Philanthropies and the NAMM Foundation. The Catalyzing Creative Aging Program is presented by the National Guild for Community Arts Education in partnership with Lifetime Arts, and includes group training, one-on-one coaching, and funding.

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