Therapeutic Arts Programs for Older Adults

Organization Associated with Program
The Geezer Gallery
600 NW Naito Parkway, Suite E
Portland, Oregon 97210

The Geezer Gallery (TGG) creates a wide variety of arts-based programs that serve seniors regardless of where they are on the spectrums of health, ability and interests. The therapeutic arts program began in 2010 and serves nearly 500 older adults annually. The Geezer Gallery recognizes that older people experience special vulnerabilities economically, socially, physically and mentally; yet research shows that creative pursuits can have a significant positive impact on their health and well-being. There is also evidence that memory and cognitive function can be improved through arts activities because of the creative challenges. Therefore, TGG’s unique program responds to these special vulnerabilities.

Program History

Established in 2006, The Geezer Gallery (TGG) is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to establish and maintain facilities to showcase master-level senior artists and support the development of local senior artistic talent, and to conduct programs of art and art therapy for low-income seniors in the Portland Metro area. The population of older people is growing rapidly, increasing the strain on our social and healthcare systems. TGG recognizes these issues. Research shows that creative pursuits can have a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of older adults. TGG’s unique program challenges elders and helps them experience better health, enjoy greater respect, and achieve more financial stability through their artistic activities. Since we help our master-level senior artists (60 and above) achieve visibility for their art, they are able to increase sales; then part of the proceeds, plus grants and donations, help support the therapeutic art programs we provide.

Founder and Executive Director Amy Henderson is passionate about the mission of The Geezer Gallery (TGG), whose name was selected to be provocative, prompting conversation and new ways of thinking about what it means to be an aging or “older” person today. Instead of a term of derision, it is intended to redefine geezer as a term of strength, empowerment, and perhaps even endearment, a rallying cry for all, regardless of age, to embrace the creative forces within us. Her passion has helped create the therapeutic arts program through this unique process that supports both senior artists and underserved seniors.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Health / Medicine, Volunteerism
Target Audience: Active Adults, Frail Older Adults, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities
Program Setting: Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization, Assisted Living, Community Center, Social Service Agency
Program Service Area: Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: