Nation’s Two Pioneer Creative Aging Organizations celebrate 35th Anniversaries in California and New York on May 8

The year was 1979. In Oakland, California, theatre artist Stuart Kandell began an acting class for seniors at a local senior center. On the other coast, in Brooklyn, New York, social activist/artist Susan Perlstein began a community arts program in senior centers. Little did they know that their organizations, Stagebridge and Elders Share the Arts (respectively) were starting a Creative Aging movement that is spreading across the country, and that both organizations would be celebrating their 35th Anniversaries on May 8, 2014.

Stagebridge will celebrate their Gala in downtown Oakland with entertainment and local dignitaries. Barefoot Wines is honoring Stuart Kandell as a 2014 “Sole of the Year” and will provide wine. Stagebridge is the nation’s most honored and premiere performing arts center for older adults. The company‘s mission is to transform the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. Stagebridge has performed for over 400,000 people, runs a performing arts training program for older adults (with thirty classes a week) and reaches out to the community with performances and workshops. For more information:

Elders Share the Arts (ESTA) celebrates 35 years of linking cultures and generations through the arts by honoring 93-year-old activist Helen Hamlin at the Salmagundi Club in NYC. Chair of the UN Committee on Aging and an advocate for the rights of older adults worldwide, she will receive the Bel Kaufman Flamekeeper award. ESTA helped pioneer the field of creative aging, which focuses on the wisdom, creativity, and vitality of older people and uses the powerful beneficial role of the arts to enhance older adults’ quality of life. Elders believes that creativity challenges and nourishes the people they serve, many of whom have never made art before. Their mission is to give voice to elders and youth through the arts, so that the dynamic of a community can be changed, building a more equitable society for all. For more information:

Founder of Elders Susan Perlstein started the National Center for Creative Aging in 2001 to promote work that is being done across the country. The Center, now based in Washington, D.C. brings together the ever growing body of research, programs and individuals who are incorporating the arts into the lives of older adults. Stuart Kandell, founder of Stagebridge, was a founding Board member, trainer and speaker for the Center. For more information:

Kandell and Perlstein have formed Artful Aging Associates to promote the arts throughout senior living facilities. For more information

For Stagebridge: Stuart Kandell 510/444-4755 x 112

For ESTA: Contact: Jennie Smith-Peers 718 398 3870


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