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Register now for Perspectives on Legacy Creative Aging Virtual Conference

Category: Museums and Aging
Credit line: Kirsten Kinnan, Margot Hughes McDonald, and Emma Levitt Royer, Untitled, 2020. 36 x 24 in. Acrylic on paper, applied collaboratively in response to the rhythms of music Photo: Jueqian Fang.
Credit line: Kirsten Kinnan, Margot Hughes McDonald, and Emma Levitt Royer, Untitled, 2020. 36 x 24 in. Acrylic on paper, applied collaboratively in response to the rhythms of music Photo: Jueqian Fang.

The Alliance’s work on museums and creative aging, supported by Aroha Philanthropies, focuses on “healthy aging”—how museums can foster curiosity, growth, and social connections among people “fifty-five and better.”  While outside the remit of our project, museums also do critical work supporting people with dementia and their caregivers. The Frye Art Museum in Seattle has engaged in this work for the past ten years. In today’s post, Katie Lamar invites readers to join the Frye for the virtual version of their annual Creative Aging conference, this year focusing on Perspectives on Legacy, designed for lifelong learners, care professionals, educators and artists.
–Elizabeth Merritt, Vice President, Strategic Foresight and Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums, American Alliance of Museums

In early 2020, as we were putting the final touches on plans for the 10th anniversary celebration of Creative Aging at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, we had no idea how significantly those plans would be upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Frye rose to the challenge and quickly pivoted to offer Frye From Home, digital resources to engage older adults with singalongs, art making, and guided artwork discussions.

While we had hoped to safely return to in-person events this fall, the virus continues to impact our daily lives. The Frye has responded again and produced a fully virtual conference for the first time, in partnership with Centrum, scheduled for December 3 & 4, 2020.

One of the Frye’s signature programs, the Creative Aging Conference draws a full house every year for an interdisciplinary exploration of topics related to art, creativity, and aging. The 2020 Creative Aging Conference: Perspectives on Legacy is designed for care professionals, artists, educators, and lifelong learners to explore the topic of legacy from the perspective of making a positive difference in an imperfect world. The conference will feature speakers from multiple disciplines and life experiences that will inspire participants to consider what legacy means to them and how they can meaningfully shape the world left to future generations.

Keynote Eddie Gonzalez joined the On Being Project after a decade of work around stories and spiritual care, first as a writer and hospice chaplain, and more recently at StoryCorps. In his presentation Leaving a Mark: The Healing Art of Remembering Forward, Gonzalez will draw from the archive of the On Being radio show and podcast and invite attendees to interact in this work, reflecting on the past as a way to understand the present, finding wisdom in the legacies of others, and considering how our lives might be used to leave a lasting mark for social and environmental good.

The lineup also includes: Tom Ikeda, the founding Executive Director of Densho, a non-profit organization started in 1996 to preserve and share the history of the WWII Japanese American incarceration to promote justice and equity today; Sonnet Kekilia Coggins, the Executive Director of The Merwin Conservancy in Ha’ikū, Maui, where she leads efforts to conserve and share W.S. Merwin’s 19-acre palm forest and the ecologically conscious home that he built and made there with his wife Paula Merwin. For the full speaker lineup, visit the Frye Art Museum’s website.

In addition, the Frye has recently opened Art on the Mind: Ten Years of Creative Aging, a new exhibition that shares stories and works of art that highlight the experiences of people living with dementia, care partners, and those who make the Creative Aging programs happen.

During these hard times, now more than ever we wish we could be together. But we have had take into consideration the health of our community and the ways in which we can do our best to protect each other, which means we may not be able to gather for some time still. Although we can’t meet in person, we are excited that we can continue to share enriching experiences with you. We hope you will join us for our virtual event and we cannot wait to welcome you back to the Frye Art Museum soon!

Perspectives on Legacy is scheduled for Thursday, December 3 and Friday, December 4, from 9 am to 1 pm PST. You can register here. Registration is open until December 2. CEUs will be offered. Please contact for more information.

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Katie Lamar has dedicated experience in research and program management to support Creative Aging programs. She has been involved with Creative Aging at the Frye Art Museum since 2013 in various roles. Her master’s thesis research through the University of Washington Museology program, analyzed the Impacts of Art Museum-based Dementia Programming on Participating Care Partners, published in JME September 2016 and presented at the RSPH First International Research Conference on Arts & Dementia in London in 2017. She believes in the power of social change through community-based programs and organizations. Katie currently works in Advancement at the University of Washington School of Social Work.




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