Seniors Flex Creative Muscles In Retirement Arts Colonies

Seniors Flex Creative Muscles In Retirement Arts Colonies

Some famous writers, painters and musicians have done some of their best work in their later years — impressionist Claude Monet, for one. But at the North Hollywood Senior Arts Colony, older people are proving that you don’t have to be famous — or even a professional artist — to live a creatively fulfilling life in old age.

With a fully equipped theater and painting and sculpture studios, there seems to be rehearsals or exhibitions of some sort going on here all the time.

Resident Nailah Jumoke, 64, moved here all the way from her home in Chicago.

“I was looking for a place where seniors weren’t being treated as seniors,” she says. “As an artist, I needed to be around motivation.”

The move was affordable because some of the apartments here are subsidized, and Jumoke lives just on Social Security. Her experience here has exceeded her expectations. She’d done some theater before, but she was never a writer. Now, she is. “So I’m learning some new things in my senior age,” she says, “and being a part of this community is helping me to see that I have a lot more inside of me … as far as creating.”

This is no surprise to Tim Carpenter. He founded an organization called EngAGE that’s been providing arts programs at retirement complexes for years. But his efforts were limited because most retirement homes just didn’t have enough space.

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