Creative Aging – An Art4Life and UNB Project

What is Creative Aging?

Creative Aging is a movement which recognizes the beneficial role of the arts in improving the quality of life for older adults and its contribution to their psychological, physical and emotional health. Over the past decade there has been a fast-growing field of Arts and Aging based on a growing body of research linking the arts and improved health. This ‘Creative Aging’ movement recognizes creative expression as a cornerstone for healthy aging. 

The Art4Life-UNB Research Project

Our research project aims to build on the research conducted in other jurisdictions and to increase awareness about how Creative Aging can be a useful policy tool in the Aging Strategy for New Brunswick.  Our primary objective is to demonstrate that regular art programs taught by professional artists/art-educators promote health, well-being, and social inclusion of older adults. 

Adults 65+ attended creative activities conducted by professional artists recruited by Art4Life Inc. from January 2020 until May 2021. The activities offered were two hours per week for a total 45 weeks in the Greater Saint John Area in four locations. They consisted of drawing, watercolour painting, acrylic painting, mixed media, collage, clay-work, sculpture, creative movement, and theatre. The UNB research team gathered qualitative and quantitative data at predetermined multiple points in time during the project, with the goal to measure impact of the activity on the health of the participants. The project report is due at the end of October 2021.

This project has been funded by the Government of New Brunswick under the “Healthy Seniors Pilot Project Program”. All the venues where the art activities were conducted were donated by community partners and stakeholders and we are grateful for the support of the Mayors and Councils of Saint John, Rothesay and Grand Bay-Westfield, the University of New Brunswick and the Saint John Art Center.

The Exhibition

The purpose of holding the exhibition is multifold:

The most obvious is of course to exhibit the art created by the seniors, to take pride in their artwork and encourage them to continue their creative journey.

But it also has other goals which are broader in scope and aimed for a wider audience.

We are having the exhibition:

  • To inspire other seniors with the confidence that they too, can pick up a pencil or a brush, or some clay or stone and create a piece of art. Age is not and should not be a limiting factor.
  • To showcase ​and recognize the local talent, the artists, we have in our community.
  • To express our gratitude for the donation of access to each of the facilities and for the funding we received so that we could carry out our art activities and research project.
  • To promote creative activities and art as a key contributor to health especially the health and well-being of seniors. This was the underlying objective of our research project.
  • To invite the community and various stakeholders to come and see the artwork, so that we can share with them our message of the connection between art, health and well-being.
Radio Play

Click the icons below to listen to the various groups’ versions of the radio play project: