Exhibition on view:
The Phillips Collection at 21st St.: Fall 2019-Winter 2020
The Phillips Collection at THEARC: Winter 2020
About the Program
Creative Aging is a centerpiece of The Phillips Collection’s art and wellness initiatives, reflecting founder Duncan Phillips’s belief in the profound and positive impact that art can have on our well-being. This exhibition celebrates older adults engaging in the creative process of looking at art, discussing art, and making art. Creative Aging at the Phillips began in 2011 with one partner, Iona Senior Services in northwest DC. In 2018, the museum expanded its partnerships to include Arts for the Aging (AFTA) throughout the DC-metropolitan area and Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center in southeast DC, near Phillips@THEARC.
Creative Aging is a multi-visit program of mindful looking, informal discussion, and expressive creation. Each organization brings a distinct perspective to the co-created programs: AFTA’s multi-disciplinary arts integration, Iona’s in-depth art therapy, and Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center’s community connections. The three partnerships offer older adults a vibrant, layered experience that enhances wellness through the arts.
Iona Senior Services
ABOUT THE COLLABORATION: The Phillips’s partnership with Iona Senior Services brings art experiences to older adults with memory loss and other chronic conditions. Phillips educators facilitate monthly conversations using mindful looking and inquiry during tours at The Phillips Collection and discussions at Iona Senior Center. Experimenting with a variety of art tools and materials during art-therapy workshops, participants deepen their understanding of the Phillips artwork, stimulate their senses, reduce stress, and engage socially with their peers.
PHILLIPS ARTWORK INSPIRATION: Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, 1940-41; Beverly Buchanan’s shack sculptures, 1988-2011 (on view in the exhibition The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement, Summer 2019)
ABOUT THE ART: A Magic Place
Iona artists CONNECTED the empty house in Panel no. 25 of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series to Beverly Buchanan’s shack sculptures (on view in the exhibition The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement), imagining them filled with life. They shared stories of homes they lived in, loved, and left. In the Iona studio, the artists collected and arranged an assortment of materials, SYNTHESIZING to construct an “art house” with room for all, which they decided to call A Magic Place.
ABOUT THE COLLABORATION: CreativiTEA is the Phillips Collection’s art and wellness program for older adults in southeast DC, where Phillips@THEARC is located. Partnering with Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center (DC Office on Aging), participants meet monthly to discuss works from the museum’s collection, create art inspired by the discussion, and socialize.
PHILLIPS ARTWORK INSPIRATION: Alma Thomas, Breeze Rustling through Fall Flowers, 1968; Sam Gilliam, Red Petals, 1967; Gwendolyn Knight, Untitled (New Orleans Series), 2001-02; Arthur Dove, Rain or Snow, 1943
ABOUT THE ART: Discovering CONNECTIONS among and to works by Thomas, Gilliam, Knight, and Dove, members of Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center celebrated and artistically EXPRESSED their love of nature. As they experimented with printmaking, collaging, and painting, they shared memories of playing in open fields and discussed ways to make the world greener, to bring those fields to today’s youth.
Arts for the Aging (AFTA)
ABOUT THE COLLABORATION: Arts for the Aging (AFTA), a local organization founded in 1988 to improve the health and enhance the life of older adults through multidisciplinary arts, has partnered with The Phillips since 2018. This artwork was made during a multi-part collaboration that included gallery experiences as well as creative expression at senior centers. Through mindful looking and facilitated discussion with Phillips’ educators at the museum, older adults explored connections to artists’ themes, techniques, and materials. At the centers, AFTA teaching artists guided the expressive responses.
PHILLIPS ARTWORK INSPIRATION: Ten Americans: After Paul Klee, 2018; Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, 2018; Zilia Sánchez: Soy Isla (I Am an Island), 2019
ABOUT THE ART: Our Dreams
Participants from Alexandria Adult Day Services Center CONNECTED their observations from three exhibitions at the Phillips to create a collaborative artwork. Intrigued by Klee’s artistic experimentation in Ten Americans: After Paul Klee, they explored materials and techniques, beginning a collaborative mural on burlap with Sharpie. Interested in the patterns applied on a variety of surfaces in Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, they continued to work on their mural, incorporating symbols inspired by the artworks. During their next visit to the museum, they discovered the work of Zilia Sánchez, finding kinship and empathizing with the 93-year-old artist, whose map-like marks deepened their discussions and visual expression.