Wood Turning and Woodworking

Organization Associated with Program
Lutheran SeniorLife (Passavant Retirement Community)
401 S. Main Street
Zelienople, Pennsylvania 16063

As part of its Creative Aging Program, Lutheran SeniorLife sponsors a grant-funded class in woodturning and woodworking, which is conducted by the Society for Contemporary Crafts of Pittsburgh. Participants learn to use a lathe and other tools to create an original work of art. Tools and skills are adapted to the needs and aptitudes of participants. The focus of the class is on the creative process. The class began in January 2012.

Lutheran SeniorLife is one of eight centers that conduct arts programming in partnership with the Society for Contemporary Crafts of Pittsburgh, which provides 400-500 individual creative experiences for older adults. During a six-week residency, an art therapist or professional artist from the society guides participants through hands-on projects in a variety of media. All classes end in an exhibition of participants’ work, and participants also exhibit and sell their work at an Excellence in Aging gala in Pittsburgh.

Program History

Lutheran SeniorLife’s mission is to ensure that the recipients of its services experience a more abundant life regardless of their physical condition or financial circumstances. This program provides a unique way for older adults to express themselves creatively. The organization has a strategic plan that has established the goal of providing more creative aging opportunities to residents over the next ten years. This project recognizes that the creative process can be as vital at the end of life as it is in early childhood and helps to restore a sense of beauty, dignity, and celebration to residents of assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

The program is informally evaluated by staff at both Lutheran SeniorLife and the Society for Contemporary Crafts of Pittsburgh through the use of attendance records, word of mouth, and informal interviews.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

There are many resources out there to help you develop your arts and aging program. Be patient and go for it.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Design
Target Audience: Active Adults
Program Setting: Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices