Art for the Silver Creative: Beyond Kindergarten Crafts

Art has long been recognized as a powerful form of self-expression, a tool for cognitive development and a source of joy. As we age, it can serve as a critical outlet for creativity and emotional expression. However, for many seniors, the art programs available at senior centers can feel disappointingly simplistic, reminiscent of kindergarten crafts rather than a serious exploration of artistic skill.

The offerings at senior centers often include workshops and classes that are one-off sessions or span a few weeks, covering a variety of mediums like painting, scrapbooking, and crafts. While these activities can be enjoyable, they often lack the depth and complexity that many older adults, or ‘Silver Creatives’, desire.

Art is not just about coloring within the lines or making paper mache figurines. It’s about expressing oneself, telling stories, and capturing emotions. It’s about challenging oneself, learning new techniques, and exploring different perspectives. This is where many senior center art programs fall short. They focus on the process of creating art, but neglect the significance of what is being created.

Moreover, these programs often fail to recognize the wealth of experience and knowledge that Silver Creatives bring to the table. Many older adults have had careers in creative fields or cultivated artistic hobbies throughout their lives. They have a unique perspective to offer, born out of decades of personal and professional experiences. Treating them like kindergarteners fails to acknowledge and respect this wealth of knowledge and experience.

Programs like those offered by Arts for the Aging and Art With Elders are notable exceptions. They provide comprehensive arts experiences, including visual, musical, performing, literary, multidisciplinary, and intergenerational arts. These programs understand that art for seniors isn’t just about keeping busy; it’s about continuing to learn, grow, and express oneself creatively.

Art programs for seniors should strive to offer more than just simple crafts. They should provide opportunities for seniors to explore different art forms, learn new techniques, and create meaningful works of art. They should recognize and respect the wealth of knowledge and experience that seniors bring, and provide opportunities for them to share this with others.

In conclusion, art for the Silver Creative is not kindergarten. It’s a form of self-expression, a tool for cognitive development, and a source of joy. Senior centers need to recognize this and provide art programs that are as complex, challenging, and rewarding as the individuals they serve.

Additional Links

  1. SCA Art Programs
  2. Fun Classes for Senior Citizens
  3. Programs at Bernalillo County Senior Centers
  4. Art With Elders
  5. Arts for the Aging’s Programs





Silver Creative is about creative pursuits after an uncertain age. Briyan Frederick discusses creative work of all kinds through blog, vlog, podcast and printed zine. If you’re interested in building a business, a following, a legacy… or your muse demands an engaging outlet, Get in touch and share your creativity!

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