Arts

MINDFULLY CREATIVE PODCAST EPISODE 10: CREATIVITY AND AGING

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This episode of The Mindfully Creative Podcast spotlights creativity and the aging process with guest, Wendy L. Miller, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding Our Way Through Creativity, Aging and Illness (Oxford University Press, 2016).  In this interview, we talk about key concepts from the book and specifically how creativity can benefit all of us as we age.

About the Book:

Through their scientific research, clinical practice, and a remarkable life together, husband and wife team Gene Cohen and Wendy Miller uncover new clues about how the aging mind can expand awareness, build resilience, and continue growth, even during times of grave illness, upending long-held assumptions about the aging brain. Cohen, considered one of the founding fathers of geriatric psychiatry, shares from decades of research and personal journals detailing his exploration of the aging brain and the vast potential that is often overlooked. Miller, an expressive arts therapist and educator, highlights stories of creative growth in the midst of illness and loss encountered through her personal life and her clinical practice. Together, Cohen and Miller show how resources that naturally reside within us remain our most valuable tools as we navigate the uncharted territory of aging and illness.

Sky Above Clouds traces the path that Cohen and Miller traveled together as the foremost expert on creativity and aging confronted his own aging process and a metastatic disease that threatened to cut his life short. Cohen’s distinguished work led to breakthroughs in science and society as, for more than a decade, despite his illness, he continued to pioneer geriatric research and advance the public conversation about aging well.

Sky Above Clouds draws deeply from the couple’s merged wisdom and new lessons learned in a struggle through illness and loss within their extended family, eventually including Cohen’s own untimely death. The book blends both authors’ perspectives and voices, incorporating journal entries they wrote together in the years before Cohen’s death.

What happens when the expert on aging is confronted with his own in the context of a grave illness? What happens when the therapist who helps others cope with illness and loss is forced to confront her own responses to these experiences? With Miller’s insights and expressive psychological writing, Sky Above Clouds shows how attitude, community, creativity, and love shape a life through health, illness, and even death. The result is a richly informative and emotional journey of growth.

-Source: Oxford University Press

About Wendy L. Miller, Ph.D.

Wendy Miller, Ph.D. ATR-BC, LCPAT, REAT, LPC, BCPC is an expressive arts therapist, writer, sculptor, and educator. She taught for over fifteen years in various universities throughout the country, including JFK University, San Francisco State University, Southwestern College, Lesley College, California Institute of Integral Studies, and The George Washington University. She is the co-founder of Create Therapy Institute, which offers clinical services in arts-based psychotherapy and trainings in the expressive arts. She is a founding member, and first elected (past) executive co-chair of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, where she continues to be on their Advisory Council. Her current work is evolving as she continues the legacy of her late husband’s work, pioneer of creative aging, Gene Cohen, and his Washington DC Center on Aging, where she is guiding it into projects on intergenerational communication. She continues to research the relationships among the arts, creativity and health, and recently published her book from the writings she and Gene did together, entitled: Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging and illness, released in March 2016 from Oxford University Press.

During this episode we discuss:

  • How did the idea of Sky Above Clouds come about?

  • As the Baby Boomer Generation ages, how are they engaging in more creative pursuits than other generations?

  • What are, if any correlation between wellness and creativity for older adults?

You can currently find Mindfully Creative podcast on Sound Cloud, Stitch and Google Play.  Check out current and archived episodes here: https://soundcloud.com/mindfullycreative612

Listen to Episode 10 below:

 

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NEA Announces New Report on How Americans Use Electronic Media to Participate in the Arts

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, (www.nea.gov), June 25, 2010

When compared with non-media participants, Americans who participate in the arts through technology and electronic media – using the Internet, television, radio, computers, and handheld devices – are nearly three times more likely to attend live arts events; attend twice as many live arts events; and attend a greater variety of genres of live arts events, according to a report released today by the National Endowment for the Arts and available at http://www.arts.gov.

Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation looks at who is participating in the arts through electronic media, what factors affect their participation, and the relationship between media-based arts activities, live attendance, and personal arts creation. The findings in Audience 2.0 are intended to help arts organizations better understand their audiences’ uses of technology and electronic media.

“We are faced with the Internet, social media, and other new technologies, and I believe the arts field must embrace them and integrate them into our work.” said Chairman Landesman in a video greeting that posts today on the NEA website.

Audience 2.0 stems from the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). Conducted in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, the survey isthe nation’s largest, most representative study of arts participation among American adults.

Since 1982, the SPPA has measured American adult participation in activities such as attendance at jazz, classical music, opera, musical plays, non-musical plays, and ballet performances, and visits to art museums or galleries. The SPPA categorizes these as “benchmark” activities, providing a standard group of arts activities for more than two decades of consistent trend analysis. Audience 2.0 takes a closer look at how audiences use electronic media to engage in these benchmark activities.

Among the findings in Audience 2.0:

  • People who participate in the arts through electronic media are nearly three times as likely to attend live benchmark arts events as non-media participants (59 percent versus 21 percent). In addition, they attend twice as many arts events on average (6 events versus 3 events in one year) and in a greater variety of live art forms. Media-based arts participation appears to encourage — rather than replace — live arts attendance.
  • Education continues to be the best predictor of arts participation among adults – both for live attendance and through electronic media. Survey respondents with at least some college education were more likely than respondents with a grade school education to have used electronic media to participate in the arts.
  • For many Americans — primarily older Americans, lower income, and racial/ethnic minority groups — electronic media is the only way they participate in benchmark arts events.
  • The 15.4 percent of U.S. adults who use media only to engage with the arts are equally likely to be urban or rural.
  • Twenty-one percent (47 million) of all U.S. adults reported using the Internet to view music, theater, or dance performances in the last 12 months. Twenty-four percent (55 million) obtained information about the arts online.

In another first for the agency, the Audience 2.0 report is being released only in an electronic format that includes multimedia features. Chairman Landesman’s video greeting will be accompanied by a video commentary on the report from Sunil Iyengar, NEA Director of Research & Analysis. Additionally, each chapter will open with videos from arts organizations that represent each of the benchmark disciplines tracked by the report.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.  For more information, please visit http://www.arts.gov.