Participants in Annabelini Questifari’s Make a Family Heirloom will be able to make a heirloom as part of the Creative Aging program at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River.
Courtesy photo
Participants in Annabelini Questifari’s Make a Family Heirloom will be able to make a heirloom as part of the Creative Aging program at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River.

Creative Aging artistic program starts at Main Street Arts in February

Main Street Arts (MSA) will offer a Creative Aging program beginning in February for seniors in the Greater Rockingham area. There will be three sessions featuring diverse artistic opportunities taught in-person by local teachers.

The first session, from Tuesday, Feb. 6, to March 26, will include "An Expressive Arts Exploration" with Susan-Marie Beauchemin, from 10 a.m. to noon, and "Make a Family Heirloom" with Annabelini Questifari, from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be an optional lunch from noon to 1 p.m. There is a one-time $10 registration fee. Classes and lunch are free. Register at

Future class offerings include "Start an Art Journal" by Susan Rosano, "Memory Book Boxes" with Amber Paris, "Make Your Own Mosaic Jewelry Pendant" with Susan Rosano, and "Cyanotype Photography" with Evie Lovett. The program will culminate in an event on Saturday, June 8, from 1 to 3 p.m.

"I hope to transform negative ideas about aging in our culture into positive beliefs about the strength, wisdom, and contributions of senior citizens to their communities by documenting their personal histories through visual arts and storytelling," said instructor Rosano in a news release. "Once the art and storytelling projects are finished, the results will be exhibited at a public venue so that the public can acknowledge these stories and appreciate the wisdom and history contained within."

The Creative Aging program is a collaboration between MSA and Senior Solutions, the agency on aging located in Springfield. Funding for the program and lunches is provided by Senior Solutions along with a grant from the Vermont Arts Council.

"When we piloted MSA's Creative Aging program last year, many participants were surprised at how creative they could be. There's research showing that creativity actually increases with age - contrary to the idea that you can't teach an old dog new tricks," said Susan Still, chair of the MSA board. "Our new mission statement focuses on the social-emotional well-being for community members of all ages. This program achieves this by expressing creativity and making social connections for seniors, which is good for your health."

Thom Simmons, nutrition/wellness director at Senior Solutions, agrees. "Senior Solutions recognizes creative aging as an integral part of healthy aging. Humans have an innate desire for expression and creation. Arts projects help us communicate the human experience in fun, meaningful, and impactful ways.

"Sharing our creative work is a great way to connect with others and build new connections. The arts can also help people achieve a sense of purpose and personal growth and can have a positive impact on social, emotional, mental, and physical health," he continued.

Lovett said she is excited about the collaboration between the participants and herself. "I can share a visual language - cyanotype-making, photography, collage - that can be a platform for older adults to excavate a richly lived life for meaning and imagery and learn skills in the process. I believe we can all be artists; we are all artists.

"I take delight in supporting the unfurling of crushed artistic attempts earlier in life and banishing the phrase 'I'm not an artist' from the room," she continued. "Working in community gives us the opportunity to build our artmaking skills while seeing ourselves as threads in a communal tapestry."

MSA is ADA accessible with a concrete, covered ramp to the front door near an accessible parking place. For full class descriptions and to register, visit or email [email protected].

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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