AFTA News and Opportunities

There are several opportunities to share for those of you interested in the intersection of creativity and aging.  Our most recent Program E-news gives you the full scoop.

Arts and the Brain: Arts for Aging
Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 7:30pm

The Mansion at Strathmore

Janine Tursini, Arts for the Aging, Inc (AFTA)

Jehan El-Bayoumi, MD, FACP, George Washington University

Wall Matthews, AFTA Teaching Artist

The therapeutic power of art - to comfort, to heal, to elevate quality of life - has inspired human creativity for centuries.  Strathmore's Arts and the Brain lecture series engages teachers, scholars, and artists working at the intersection of arts and health to present innovative, practical strategies for harnessing the arts to alleviate suffering and strengthen vitality.

Introducing: Just Us at the National Gallery of Art

This new program will launch for four months on first and third Mondays starting in April to provide interactive, discussion-based experiences in the galleries for people with early-stage dementia and their caregivers. Participants explore two or three works of art during each 90-minute program and the theme changes for every session.

This is a free program for individuals with early-stage dementia and an accompanying caregiver.

More information available here.


OCTOBER 19, 2016: AFTA Gala Reception, Giving Voice to Lifelong Creativity

Gala Chairs Ambassador Don Bliss (Ret.) and Nancy Bliss with AFTA Board Chair Ryan Wilson (center)

Nancy Peery Marriott, with Dick Marriott, Sandra Marriott Bertha, Alice Hales, and Julie Marriott

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Kim Taylor, Therapeutic Recreation Manager, Alexandria Adult Day Services, AFTA Participant Karla Kombrink (with her artwork), Brandi Rose, AFTA Program Director

AFTA’s 28th Annual Gala Reception, Giving Voice to Lifelong Creativity, was held in Washington D.C. at The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, also known as Anderson House. Nancy Peery Marriott was honored with the 8th Lolo Sarnoff Founder’s Award, celebrating her humanitarianism, philanthropy and lifelong engagement in the arts. Gracious chairs of this year’s gala were Nancy Bliss and Ambassador Don Bliss (Ret.), longtime supporters and active participants in AFTA.  Dominic Cossa, professor of voice at the University of Maryland who has sung as leading baritone with some of the world’s greatest opera companies, presented the award.

A reception for Sponsors featured a tribute performance to Mrs. Marriott of Art Song to Zarzuela by the Rómez Trio. The main reception hosted the award presentation, a touching interactive performance of lyrics set to melody from the opera, La Traviata, written by AFTA program participants from Kensington Park Senior Living, and moving remarks from program participant Karla Kombrink, whose original works of art were part of an exhibition from AFTA programs on display.

Proceeds from the Gala will help AFTA provide frequent, high-quality, artist-led workshops at dozens of adult day care centers, nursing homes, assisted living, community centers and senior housing centers in the Washington metropolitan area. AFTA flips the paradigm of old age by using creativity to turn isolation, loneliness, and loss into community, access, and joy.

A link to photographs from the Gala is available here and the full program from the evening is available here.


Announcing 28th AFTA Gala Reception and Lolo Sarnoff Founder's Awardee

Nancy Peery Marriott, 2016 Lolo Sarnoff Founder's Awardee

The 28th Annual AFTA Gala Benefit Reception will be held on Wednesday, October 19, at the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, also known as beloved Anderson House, in historic Dupont Circle (2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008). A V.I.P. reception will take place from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., and the main event from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m., including arts tributes and performances. The evening's highlight is presentation of the 2016 Lolo Sarnoff Founder’s Award to dazzling soprano soloist and generous philanthropist, Nancy Peery Marriott, whose artistic joie de vivre and commitment to making the world a better place are the hallmarks of an extraordinary life—one that has done so much for the arts and for those who are more vulnerable in metropolitan Washington, D.C. as well as across the nation. Previous awardees, recognized for sharing AFTA Founder Lolo Sarnoff's humanitarianism and philanthropy, and dedication to lifelong self-expression and engagement in the arts include United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, USAgainstAlzheimer's founders Trish and George Vradenburg, and author and Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired), among others.  Award information can be found here as well as links to a Gala fact sheet, and online admission and sponsorship information.


AFTA Art Exhibition at Alexandria City Hall

Artwork by participants in teaching artist Carol Siegel’s program at Alexandria Adult Day Services Center (AADSC) was exhibited in the Vola Lawson lobby of Alexandria’s City Hall from June 8 to June 29.  A celebration of the exhibition took place in the City Hall lobby on Tuesday, June 21. Special guests included the artists from AADSC and their family members, AADSC staff members, AFTA trustees, and supporters of creative aging and the arts.

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Artist Barbara J. and her daughter pose with Barbara's collage "Architect's Dream".

We were honored to have Alexandria’s mayor Allison Silberberg give opening remarks. Mayor Silberberg underscored the value of the cooperation between AFTA and AADSC in making a difference in the lives of Alexandria residents who are aging. Speaking to the artists in attendance, the Mayor also expressed her gratitude for their contributions to art and the City.

Artist Karla K. with Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg.
Artist Karla K. with Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg.

Artist Karla K. said of the portraiture, “When Carol said we were going to do a study of self-portraits, we all moaned and groaned! I was scared to look that closely at the old person I'd become. But as we drew one after another, it became easier to see the beauty of aging. Art is a powerful expression of who we are, appreciating our lives and our loves.”

Marilynn D. with her self portrait.
Marilynn D. with her self portrait.

AFTA's partnership with AADSC spans almost two decades, and Siegel’s connection with the participants and staff at the center has strengthened into a deep bond. Participants feel comfortable sharing what is in their hearts within the safe space of the expressive arts group.  Says Judith M., “When Carol comes, I am very happy. This is the only place I have the opportunity to enjoy and express myself in art.” The exhibition included a series of self-portraits, and selections from AFTA’s Dream Ship collection, which showed at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in Washington last winter.