Art With Elders uses the power of art, creativity, and community to enrich the journey of aging.
Our vision is a society in which every older adult engages in the creative arts as part of a healthy and vibrant aging process.
What We Do
Founded in 1991, AWE provides 2,000 art classes each year for more than 400 seniors in long-term care communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Nearly 60% of elders in long-term care do not have friends or family who visit. We now also offer online interactive classes for older adults living independently, as well as in community. Through art classes and exhibitions, AWE is using the power of creativity to build community and offer seniors connectedness, new skills, expanded modes of expression and, most importantly, joy and meaning.
Taught by a team of dedicated professional Artist Instructors, elders gather in small groups for two hours each week to learn new skills and create art. Weekly classes are the core of what we do, elders are able to learn new skills, explore new ideas, and build positive relationships with their peers. AWE is distinctive in its program quality; these are not craft activities, but instead the focus is on skill-building — ranging from color and composition to perspective and background.
Additionally, we believe that showcasing the artistic achievements of elder artists helps to challenge the notion that aging is only about decline. Each year, artists submit their work for an annual, juried exhibit. After an opening reception for artists, family, friends, and caregivers, the exhibit travels to several locations around the Bay Area, where it is viewed by more than 2000,000 people. Artists are also featured in online exhibits throughout the year.
Art With Elders would like to thank:
The San Francisco Arts Commission, The California Arts Council, SF Grants for the Arts, The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, The Inner Sunset Community Advocates, The Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, St. Mary of the Virgin Episcopal Church and Episcopal Charities, The KT Foundation, The SF Health Network, Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, The UCSF Memory and Aging Center, The Darby Betts Fund, The Episcopal Impact Fund, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, and The Center for Cultural Innovation