Coinciding with Older Americans Month in May, the Arts for Life Festival (previously known as the Creative Aging Festival) has been a cherished month-long celebration of the arts, transforming Fairfax County Senior Centers into hives of activity with classes and events that highlight the benefits of participating in the arts.
Although Senior Centers remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virtual Center for Active Adults and ArtsFairfax have partnered to offer virtual Artist Residencies on the VCAA. During May and June, four teaching artists representing a range of disciplines will lead weekly interactive sessions and programs on the VCAA.
Award winning percussionist, composer and educator, Tom Teasley, will lead a series of workshops that showcase his extensive musical knowledge. Called World of Rhythm and Sound, the series will consist of musical and instrument demonstrations and performances that encourage participants to join in. “My residency will bring the world of music, rhythm and multi-national cooperation to the residents. We will interact in real time with instrument demonstrations, stories of my travels, performances and even a sound meditation to end the program,” says Teasley. World of Rhythm and Sound will take place every Wednesday and Thursday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., starting May 19 through June 24.
Master Poetess Tammarrah Addison will host a series called Pictures and Poetry: Visualizing your Words for the World, a fun and interactive low stress gathering where participants will gain inspiration to write poetry by viewing visually pleasing images selected to evoke an array of emotions and responses. Addison uses the images as a catalyst for conversation, healing, laughter, and insight. Participants may also share their own images for inspiration. Addison looks forward to leading the workshops, saying “This residence is important because it highlights creativity and the arts, but it also allows for the missing voices such as the older demographics to be seen and heard and this gathering empowers and reminds them that every image, voice and word creates some type of change and reaction in this world! I am excited to learn, give and receive from my community! We are Fairfax Strong.” Pictures and Poetry will take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m., starting April 27 through June 10. Please note: no workshops on May 27 or June 8. This workshop has limited capacity and registration is required.
Musician, broadcaster, and historian Ken Avis will explore Washington D.C.’s lesser-known and fascinating musical history in his series, Music City DC! - The History of Popular Music in the Nation’s Capital. Avis will use film and recording to bring legendary musicians to life as he shares how social change, technology and business innovations have shaped the music that has emerged from Washington D.C. “For me, this residency is an opportunity to surprise and delight a curious audience with the rich and fascinating history of DC's music culture” says Avis. “It's a culture which has often been hidden due to the area's obsession with politics, but one which has nevertheless made a mark on the world and been shaped by the people and resources of the area.” Music City DC! will take place every Monday and Thursday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., starting May 17 through June 28. Please note: no workshop on May 31.
Dancer, choreographer and teaching artist Kelly King will lead Moving Dialogues, a movement workshop series that encourages participants to tap into their own creativity while connecting with others to create deeper meaning. No dance experience is needed to participate, and everyone is welcome. “We have lost a lot in this year; but we are still here,” says King. “We still have a body. We still have each other. We will explore what our fantastic dancing bodies have to tell us; and perhaps heal with each other as we celebrate what we can do - together.” Moving Dialogues will take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m., starting May 11 through June 17.
Thank you to Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and Reston Community Center for sponsoring the Arts for Life Residencies. The VCAA will be offering additional arts programming in May, including Arts for the Aging workshops on Thursday, May 6 and 20 at 1:15 p.m. and a virtual art show on Friday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. Visit the Virtual Center for Active Adults to view the full schedule of VCAA programs and events.