OCTOBER 27, 2015: AFTA Gala, Creating New Horizons

AFTA’s 27th Annual Gala, Creating New Horizons, was held at The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, also known as Anderson House, where Trish and George Vradenburg (left) were given the 7th Lolo Sarnoff Founder’s Award, celebrating their humanitarianism and philanthropy, their dedication to addressing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, and their lifelong engagement in the arts. Chairs of this year’s gala were Olga and Bob Ryan.  A silent and live auction was held of original sculptures by Lolo Sarnoff and vintage haute jewelry from her collection; works were exhibited created by seniors (like Maebell Saunders pictured right) in Arts for the Aging programs responding to the Founder’s body of art.  View the full gala program here, photos from the evening here, and coverage from the Georgetowner here.


Fall Program News

We’re sad to see the summer go but excited about new opportunities fall brings!  Our summer kicked off with the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) National Leadership Exchange and Conference, which featured performances by our senior dance company Quicksilver and the Silver Singers from the Terrific, Inc. Asian and Pacific Islander Senior Center.  Now as the weather chills we anticipate our annual Gala, a workshop for professional caregivers, and two exhibitions! Read our most recent program newsletter to catch up.


JULY 30, 2015: 3rd Annual KevinMas

Arts for the Aging trustee Kevin Bryan invited a group of  friends and fellow AFTA supporters to help him celebrate his birthday by making a donation to one of his favorite causes, AFTA. The rooftop at I Ching Restaurant and Bar provided the perfect backdrop for watching the sun set over the city while sharing an evening with old and new friends–and all for a great cause! View more photos from the evening here.


An Exhibition of Music, Art and Friendship

At Alexandria Adult Day Services Center (AADSC), a dedicated group of women have embraced art-making with arms wide open.  They participate in biweekly workshops with AFTA Teaching Artist Carol Siegel.  Carol practices Expressive Arts Therapy which integrates arts modalities like poetry, storytelling and painting to promote growth and healing.  The women soared under Carol’s guidance.  And at an exhibition of their work at the Alexandria Black History Museum in April, their enthusiasm for creativity was evident – and contagious!

ARTISTS FROM THE ALEXANDRIA ADULT DAY SERVICES CENTER WITH STAFF MEMBER JACKIE MCCORD AND AFTA TEACHING ARTIST CAROL SIEGEL
ARTISTS FROM THE ALEXANDRIA ADULT DAY SERVICES CENTER WITH STAFF MEMBER JACKIE MCCORD AND AFTA TEACHING ARTIST CAROL SIEGEL

The artists’ faces shone with pride at the exhibition opening on April 28.  They were joined by  staff and friends from their center, family members and local arts enthusiasts.  Carol Siegel shared stories behind the art projects featured in the exhibition.  On display were paintings inspired by Mozart’s Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman” – also known as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.  These pieces were created during an intergenerational program with teacher Elizabeth Lane and piano students at Episcopal High School in Virginia.  You can learn more about that program in our book, What We Saw Today.

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Each artist had several pieces on display, including a series of self-portraits.  or one self-portrait, the artists embellished a black and white photo of their image with color and texture, encouraged by Carol to let their true personalities show.  Each artist also drafted a personal biography that included how the arts had touched their lives.

“I was born in Washington, D.C. I am the oldest sister of seven children.  I like artwork.  It’s good and fun to do. When I look at my artwork it makes me happy because it is something I created.”

Ivah

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“I was an usher at Trinity AME Church in Newberry, South Carolina.  I was a teacher that taught arithmetic in the 3rd grade at Elizah Elementary School.  I had six children – three boys and three girls.  I feel good about myself and since I can’t sing anymore I just hum, and when I do art I feel like I am doing things right.”

Mae Bell

Artists Gloria and Karla took to the podium to share how much the program had meant to them. Marilyn’s daughter, who attended the exhibition opening, expressed surprise that her usually reserved mother agreed to speak with such enthusiasm.

ARTIST KARLA SPEAKS TO THE GUESTS AT THE EXHIBITION OPENING WITH AFTA TEACHING ARTIST CAROL SIEGEL AND ELIZABETH LANE
ARTIST KARLA SPEAKS TO THE GUESTS AT THE EXHIBITION OPENING WITH AFTA TEACHING ARTIST CAROL SIEGEL AND ELIZABETH LANE

“Art has always been an important part of my life.  Encouraged by my parents, I have turned to art as an enrichment and a friend as time flies by.  I am so thankful to Carol Siegel and the Alexandria Adult Day Services Center staff for renewing my imagination and creative “juices” which has taken a back seat in the circle of life.  My wish is to instill the love of creativity in my beautiful grandchildren.  Everyone knows that life begins at 67!”

Karla

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(L-R) AUDREY DAVIS (ALEXANDRIA BLACK HISTORY MUSEUM), KIM DAVIS (AADSC), BRANDI ROSE (AFTA PROGRAM DIRECTOR), JACKIE MCCORD (AADSC), CAROL SIEGEL (AFTA TEACHING ARTIST)

Thank you to those who helped make this exhibition a success.  Special thanks to Audrey Davis at the Black History Museum for inviting AFTA to exhibit and for your continued support of our artists.  Thank you to Jackie McCord at the Alexandria Adult Day Services Center for working tirelessly to create a special experience.  And of course, to Carol Siegel for kindling the creativity of those who, in some cases, have been told they are not artists, or that their time for learning new skills has passed.  We are all artists!

Update: Read a wonderful article about our exhibition in the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services newsletter.