Igniting creativity and community with New York City’s elders

SPARC: Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide is a City-wide initiative of the Departments of Cultural Affairs and Department for the Aging which brings unlikely populations together while improving the quality of life for many New Yorkers. An arts engagement program, SPARC has placed 50 artists-in-residence in 44 senior centers across all five boroughs, linking artists to senior centers and their neighbors. As a part of the residency, SPARC artists have also had access to materials at MFTA and used a wide array of our donated items to create their work.

Olga & Herbie making set pieces out of foam core from MFTA

With the goal of reinvigorating senior centers as vital community spaces, SPARC has many benefits. The program helps to meet the growing demand for artist workspace by providing SPARC residents with access to space in senior centers. Participating seniors are engaged in an art project or series of cultural programs over the course of the residencies. And this June and July the public is also invited to experience the work, as each artist will present free events open to their surrounding community, featuring their art projects or the senior participants.

When asked how her involvement with MFTA has enriched the work she’s been doing with seniors, here’s what Julie Kline, a SPARC artist-in-residence, had to say:

MFTA has been imperative to the creation of the entire set for our performance.  Almost every piece was acquired for free at MFTA and has let me use the rest of my materials budget to enhance the show with more oral history recordings of the seniors and to even hire a special stand-up comedy coach!  Besides that, my visits to MFTA have been inspiring – the special permission to partake of the materials has made me feel especially supported as a SPARC artist, and seeing all that is available there inspired me to think about the myriad ways I could create what I needed for the show.

Julie’s seniors will present “Seniors and the City,” a theatrical performance based on their experiences in New York City past and present that integrates song, dance and oral history, on Friday, June 15, 2012 from 7-9PM and Saturday, June 16 from 2-4PM at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Senior Center in Manhattan.

Seniors in the City
photo credit: Gala Narezoto

The SPARC program was developed in 2009 as part of the Mayor’s Age-Friendly NYC initiative, and is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is a collaboration between the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department for the Aging and the City’s five local arts councils. For more information or to find a SPARC event near you, visit www.nyc.gov/culture.

How can you creatively implement reuse to engage your community?

This entry was posted in Community Projects, Education Center, Events, News, Recipient Spotlight, Residency, Reuse Art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Igniting creativity and community with New York City’s elders

  1. Md Aks says:

    I also know that SPARC has placed 50 artists-in-residence in 44 senior centers across all five boroughs, day by day the New york city’s population is progressive that reasons this city faced many vast problem. besides, we are all know that Obama is at the present president in the New york city.

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