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SageNews : January 2015

Intro to Arts and Aging

2015 Artists Training

Welcome to another issue of SageNews, the quarterly newsletter of ArtSage, a convener, connector and catalyst for the field of arts and aging. We provide training for artists and organizations, consulting services and resources in the field of arts and aging. Please visit to join us!

Ecumen Pilot Project Sparks Excitement

Taiko Drumming ArtSage recently completed the first stage of an exciting new partnership initiative with Ecumen, a nonprofit providing senior housing and aging services across Minnesota. The project launched a three-month Intro to Arts program at Ecumen Lakeshore in Duluth, from October-December 2014, with the goal of modeling a sustainable and replicable arts-infused campus with high-quality, engaging arts experiences for Ecumen residents at all levels of care.

The pilot introduced three master teaching artists: Zoë Bird of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project-MN, visual artist Michèle Coppin, and Iris Shiraishi of Taiko for Life. Zoë used hats and photography while helping participants create winter haiku, and brought local students from Marshall High School to perform their own spoken word poetry for Lakeshore residents. Michèle centered her sessions on Veteran’s Day themes, and incorporated poetry as she worked with participants on creating paintings of poppies and other symbols of remembrance. Iris introduced Lakeshore residents to the history and rich expression of taiko drumming.


Paramount Offers ArtSage Arts & Aging Training

Paramount Theater On January 14, The Paramount Theatre & Visual Arts Center brought in ArtSage to lead a training workshop for Saint Cloud area artists who wanted to learn how to work with older adults. After completing the ArtSage training for arts organizations in 2013, The Paramount has begun to take a lead role in encouraging arts and aging programs in central Minnesota.

Because the organization works with artists in all disciplines—visual arts, dance, theater, music, storytelling, and literary arts—the Paramount is now collaborating with ArtSage to offer on-site arts and aging training for regional artists, and serving as a facilitator for several area senior communities, working to match them with local artists who have completed ArtSage training.

Contact Jane Oxton at 320-257-3127 or at to learn more.


With age, art and life become one.

Georges Braque

Member Spotlight

Jane Tygesson, ArtSage Master Trainer

When all the senses are engaged, it unlocks language blocks
and long-term memory access, and encourages imagination and storytelling.

—Susan M. Ryan, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist,
Wilder Adult Day Health, Minneapolis

Jane TygessonJane Tygesson grew up immersed in the arts—her mother was a choral director of the Minneapolis Junior League choir, the LeagueAires, and Jane performed with the group, often for residents in local nursing homes. After earning a degree in art history at Northwestern University, Jane became a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, knowing that she wanted to work with elders. She says her compassion for people living with memory loss also grew from personal experience with her own mother and grandmother.

In 2008, Jane co-founded “Discover Your Story” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, offering tours for small groups of visitors with memory loss, and their friends or care partners. Tours focus on thematically related artworks in the museum’s galleries, where participants reminisce, reflect, or compare their own life stories to the stories in works of art.



In 2009, 132,732 Minnesotans 65+ lived in some type
of community-based housing.*

*From “Housing for Minnesota’s Aging Population,” Minnesota Housing Finance Association Research and Evaluation Unit, 2010

Mindy Bolton, 2014-2015 Artsage Teaching Artist

Mindy Bolton Visual artist Mindy Bolton of Plymouth participated in the November ArtSage Teaching Artist Training. “I used to feel like I was on an island. Now I feel like I’m part of an intentional community.” Now working as a recreational assistant in long-term care, which she says, “can be a pretty fear-based, task-oriented, physical-body environment, and you can forget your creative self, how to make a place where people continue to grow and flourish.”

Mindy runs morning arts sessions, taking what she learned from ArtSage master teachers and fellow artists about how to create a safe environment using songs, movement, even theater to help stoke creative expression and communication.


Member Spotlight

Vocal Essence — Vintage Voices

VocalEssence participated in a year-long partnership with ArtSage in 2013-2014, sending three members of VocalEssence staff to professional development training sessions throughout the year to learn about the aging process, in addition to receiving mentorship and additional resources to create fun and engaging program activities for the older adult community. VocalEssence was also selected as one of the showcase exhibitors at the first annual Midwest Arts & Aging Conference at the Union Depot in downtown Saint Paul in June 2014.

Giving Voice Chorus“ArtSage training really inspired our staff to develop a deeper approach to programming, to offer much more meaningful engagement with our art form,” says VocalEssence executive director Mary Ann Aufderheide. “It changed our thinking, and gave us tools to create a program that really connects to the daily lives of participants.”



How does a community become more age-friendly?
By adopting such features as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities, including the arts.

Intro to Arts & Aging — Rochester

FEBRUARY 24, 2015
Rochester Art Center

Intrigued by the latest research on the arts as a vital part of healthy aging? Curious about the aging demographic and what it means to you? Want to learn how to incorporate the arts into your programming for older adults?

Join us on February 24 for a day-long Intro to Arts & Aging Workshop, hosted by ArtSage at the Rochester Art Center. This workshop is for artists, caregivers and family members, senior-serving organization staff, and all those who wish to learn more about the emerging field of arts and aging.

Click here to reserve your spot and find out more. Space is limited so register now!

Additional Intro to Arts & Aging Workshops are planned for Cass Lake and Moorhead in the coming weeks; check the ArtSage website for information.

These Intro to Arts & Aging workshops are part of a series of ArtSage events sponsored by the Bush Foundation.

LeagueAires Lecture Series

APRIL 2, 2015
Antonello Hall — MacPhail Center for Music



Midwest Arts & Aging Conference & Showcase

JUNE 19, 2015
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN

Stuart KandellJoin us for an arts-infused day of keynotes and workshops from national and regional leaders in the field of arts and aging, plus showcases from outstanding ArtSage-trained professional teaching artists. Learn how to build arts programming for older adults that is based on the latest research and best practices in the field. The keynote speaker this year is Stuart Kandell of Stagebridge Senior Theatre.



Illusion Theater presents Transatlantic Love Affair’s production of THESE OLD SHOES!, their 2013 Fringe Festival hit. Inspired by stories from the creators’ own families, the richness that comes with age, and a lifetime of memory and experience. Surrounded by moving boxes and a grandfather clock, an old man is learning to say goodbye as the time approaches to leave his lifelong home for a “retirement community.” Brimming with humor and heart, this story of second chances follows the bread crumb trail of memory in hopes of finding something that was once lost. ArtSage artists and staff will be on hand for some scheduled post-show discussions. More information »

The Minnesota State Arts Board offers Arts Learning Grants for projects that help lifelong learners acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage learners with skilled teaching artists and high quality artistic experiences. Grants range from $5,000-$150,000. Deadline: February 13, 2015. More information »

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council offers Arts Learning: Arts Learning Support up to
$10,000 for high-quality, arts education activities in any arts discipline to develop knowledge, skills. More information »

The James Thorpe Foundation offers grants for arts exposure for elderly/aging populations, seeking to foster the vital aging of seniors through support of services which help them to live engaged and independent lives. The Foundation has a focus on the needs of economically disadvantaged seniors and the frail elderly. Deadline: August 15, 2015. More information »

The Arts and Culture Department of the Airport Foundation MSP is requesting all Minnesota Artists to submit a presentation of their work, to be exhibited in the offices of the Airport Director of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. More information: Robyne Robinson, Arts & Culture Director Airport Foundation MSP at (612) 725-8321 or

ArtSage Awards

Do you know an older artist whose life and creative career continues to transform and inspire? ArtSage is looking for stories of artists 55+ to be featured on the ArtSage website, and nominated for the ArtSage Awards to be presented at the Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase in June 2015. Look for nomination information on the ArtSage website under SageStories.

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