Creativity to last a lifetime

The Creative for Life symposium on Jan. 14 will feature artistic courses to keep Penticton seniors creating in their later years.

Left to right, Shatford Centre director Milton Orris, executive director Jane Shaak and course instructors Kathleen Murphy and Dawn Renaud gather around a pottery wheel at the Shatford Centre on Jan. 7. Pottery is one of the many creative courses being offered at the Creative For Life open house on Jan. 14.

Left to right, Shatford Centre director Milton Orris, executive director Jane Shaak and course instructors Kathleen Murphy and Dawn Renaud gather around a pottery wheel at the Shatford Centre on Jan. 7. Pottery is one of the many creative courses being offered at the Creative For Life open house on Jan. 14.

Creative expression isn’t solely a young person’s game.

The Shatford Centre is hosting a second symposium/open house entitled Creative For Life on Jan. 14 to help Penticton seniors explore the multitude of artful and expressive programs being offered in the area.

This is the second of what the executive director of the Shatford Centre, Jane Shaak, hopes will be many events of this kind.

“The plan is to have two to three a year and that way we really have an opportunity to bring all of the organizations together and share what’s available in the community,” Shaak said.

The symposium will feature presentations and speakers talking about their programs that will run throughout the year, including courses on activities like painting, pottery and photography with a chance for a question and answer session.

“It’s really bringing all the different services together and providing an opportunity for seniors to check out what’s happening because it’s quite amazing all the different things that are happening here,” Shaak said.

The symposium will provide a cross section of all the artistic endeavours available in the area, so those who are curious can find the right fit for them.

“The idea is to get people testing out some stuff, checking some different mediums out. You never know, you might just fall in love with it. A lot of people become artists later in life,” Shaak said.

Staying creative later in life is a topic Okanagan School of the Arts director and chair of the programming committee Milton Orris knows well, and has been exploring for years.

Formerly the dean of continuing education at Ryerson University in Toronto, Orris originally started a program there called Learning is Forever.

The program came together while trying to engage seniors to attend different sessions held at Ryerson. While exploring what would bring more seniors out to programs, he discovered expressive and artistic activities were sparking interest. What started as a group of 50 people writing their life stories quickly branched out and grew into multiple programs.

“It just took off,” Orris said.

Some of the original group members decided they were interested in exploring drama through a script reading.

“Within three years they were doing three-act plays publicly. Then a couple years later they were writing one-act plays and performing those. It just exploded, there was so much creativity out there and once they had the opportunity to do it, it just really took off,” Orris said.

The program is still running, a legacy Orris left in Ontario and is trying to reinvigorate here.

When Orris moved to Penticton three years ago he found there was a population of seniors that could benefit from similar programs.

“When you get older you have more freedom and opportunity to do things, but most people don’t think of it that way,” Orris said. “It’s giving them (seniors) an opportunity to live a more creative life as they get older rather than sit and watch television all day.”

Orris will be running one of the courses entitled Plan Your Life, Live Your Plan: Make 55-plus the best time of your life, which will include planning out the next phase in life and answering questions about the future focused on topics like family relationships, where you want to live, health and recreation.

Another course that will be offered is Writing Recollections with Dawn Renaud. The course helps seniors tell their life stories and explore their own history through a variety of mediums, especially through writing.

“We will be sparking memories and helping people feel comfortable telling their stories,” Renaud said.

Some sessions being offered include Pioneers and Places with Randy Manuel, Visual Arts (drawing and painting mediums) in the visual arts studio, We Love Documentary monthly films with Bob Nicholson and Cyber Seniors with the Okanagan School of the Arts, Photo Memories with Barb Lewis,  and Healthy Cooking for Elders

“Building a community of creative people in their older years is essentially what we’re doing,” Orris said.

For more information visit www.shatfordcentre.com

 

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