Arts and Aging: 5 Unconventional Means of Artistic Expression

Studies suggest that active participation in the creative and performing arts impacts the quality of life of adults 65+ by providing social, physical and emotional benefits. Art provides opportunities for older adults to engage in creative activities with like-minded individuals of all ages. Sharing their artwork with others enables artists’ voices to be heard in a positive and meaningful way which may also help to dispel ageist beliefs.

The artists below are a great example of how creative expression continues to flourish in later years.

At 109 years old, Alfie Dale, is Australia’s oldest person. According to an article in Daily Mail Australia he first learned to knit in 1932. Recently he has been using his knitting skills to help save penguins on Phillip Island from the effects of an oil spill by knitting jumpers for them.

Phil_Evanoff_Dancing_Girl_1982Bill Evenhoff
As reported in the article Mosaic Collection Created Bit by Bit, 96-year-old retired chemist Bill Evenhoff has created over 600 mosaics. He recently exhibited a sampling of his collection at the Patricia Scott Art Gallery in Bennett Hall at Ohio University. According to a review in Mosaic Art Now Evenhoff “has made mosaics for over 50 years for the sheer joy of it. The result is fresh, appealing, and utterly charming mosaic art.”

before-horiuchi-retired-he-wanted-to-try-something-newTatsuo Horiuchi
Creating his artwork on Excel spreadsheets, 74-year-old Tatsuao Horiuchi has wowed audiences on the Internet for several years according to an article in the Business Insider. He won the 2006 Excel Autoshape Contest along with exhibiting his work in Japan’s Gunma Museum of Art.

Image ‘Looking Up’ by Hal Lasko

Image ‘Looking Up’ by Hal Lasko

Hal Lasko
Pixel by pixel, over the last 13 years, 98-year-old Hal Lasko created works of art on a computer using Microsoft Paint. An article in Wired asked Lasko if he thinks about his paintings a lot, laughing Hal replied “that’s all I do.” He says he has “enjoyed every minute” of his work. Check out this short documentary called The Pixel Painter that showcases his passion for art.

Rafael Marchante/Reuters/Corbis

Rafael Marchante/Reuters/Corbis

An article entitled Senior Graffiti Artists Shatter Every Aging Stereotype, One Street at a Time highlights the work of a Portuguese urban art workshop for older adults. According to the article “Lisbon has a major street art scene and the program was set up to help the seniors not only understand and embrace street art, but also to help shatter stereotypes of both young and old.”

The artists highlighted here are a small sample of older adults who prove that there is no age limit when it comes to creativity.


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