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Seniors, arts, and six weeks of events

From Wu Tao dance to bedside harp solos, older Western Australians are making the most of the state’s first ever arts festival created specifically for seniors - the Amana Living Arts Festival.

Glass jewellery making is one of the many activities on offer during Amana Living's Arts Festival (Source: Amana Living)
Glass jewellery making is one of the many activities on offer during Amana Living's Arts Festival (Source: Amana Living)

Running from 12 February - 25 March, the six-week event is and has been offering more than 150 events for older people across the state, with events and workshops taking place at over 50 locations including at aged care provider Amana Living sites, community centres and iconic venus such as the State Theatre Centre of WA, Art Gallery of WA and WA Maritime Museum.

Chief Executive Officer of Amana Living, Stephanie Buckland, says the Festival builds on the organisation’s commitment to delivering art programmes for its residents and clients as was inspired by creative ageing festivals ‘Luminate’ in Scotland, and ‘Meander Valley Festival of Creative Ageing’ in Tasmania.

“Our emphasis is on helping people to truly live the second half of life and arts have a wonderful role to play in helping older people to have fun, try different things and meet new people,” she says.

“Engaging with the arts is also incredibly therapeutic with health and wellbeing benefits ranging from combating loneliness and isolation through to alleviating depression and improving communication and relationships.”

Ms Buckland says Amana Living recognises these benefits and that the provider has a long history of offering artistic experiences to their residents and clients, encompassing over the years activities like regular craft classes at their care centres, personalised music therapy, and a Project Picasso - an art exhibition by people living with dementia.

She adds that the Amana Living Arts Festival “takes it to the next level”, bringing together artists, musicians, performers, writers, dancers, sculptors and art therapists to deliver bespoke sessions for Amana Living residents and clients, with ‘handpicked highlights’ also curated from the Perth summer arts calendar, with exclusive events designed for Amana Living customers.

“To our knowledge, there has never been an arts event of this size or scale created for older people in WA,” Ms Buckland explains.

“We designed it to ensure every one of our customers, whatever their age, health or ability, has the opportunity to enjoy an artistic experience.

“It’s inclusive, accessible and challenges stereotypes about people who use aged care services.

“We’re proud to be pioneering an event that we hope will become a regular feature in the State’s arts calendar.”

Ms Buckland says Amana clients and residents have been really excited about the festival, leading the team to make plans to bring the event back in the future.

“Our residents and clients have been impressed by the programme’s diversity and the calibre of the facilitators, many getting involved in activities they’ve never experienced previously,” Ms Buckland says.

“We’ve also received amazing feedback from families who have been impressed by this one-of-a-kind event, telling us it’s great to see their loved ones involved in a programme that is exciting and intellectually stimulating.

“We will be looking at running the Amana Living Arts Festival again, but the format and content will depend on the feedback we receive.

“This is the first time we’ve run the Festival and we want to make sure it continues to evolve and meet people’s needs.”

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