Advancing the Arts & Shifting Demographics

“What happens when you bring a market researcher and a neuropsychologist together?”

So begins the intro to the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research promo piece for their Fall/Winter, 2017/18 opening event on October 25th. The Arts world like all other sectors is forging ahead in new ways in spite of and better still, as an innovative response to disruptive elements in the economy and the variant perspectives in the multi-generational make up of society. It’s all quite exciting actually. Opportunity through change as the sages would have it.

Once again, it’s impressive that the creative thinking – connecting of the dots that Pat Spadafora, Director at the centre and her team have made, to put on a presentation that fuses two seemingly separate lines of inquiry into one inclusive theme, a bit like a chemistry lesson in a way. Yet the Arts – music, dance, painting, writing and the like have historically played an intrinsic role in our social and mercantile exchange, expressed the human story in a quest to discover our meaning and purpose.

Under the Sheridan Business of Aging Global Network program, this event titled – Spotlight on the Arts: Impact on Business, Health & Well-being – will feature two presenters. The first is Market Researcher Kelly Hill, Fonder of Hill Strategies based in Hamilton, who specializes in applying social science research methods to the Arts sector. The second is Dr. Kate Dupuis who uniquely brings together the world of the Arts into the business of aging and health care as the Schlegel Innovation Leader at Sheridan College.

Together Kelly and Kate will discuss the economics of the Arts and the 21st century implications of our shifting demographics, and what that means to you if you are an organization dedicated to the production or presentation of the Arts.

Arts and the mindful engagement of older adults

Naturally, keen supporters of art and individual artists all have a passionate interest in knowing how the Arts sector will sustain and evolve its relevance in society, given the impact of economics in a slow growth world. As a board member of the Oakville Galleries this is of interest to me as we continue to grow as a not-for-profit contemporary art museum, offering not only world class exhibits but also art programs for people of all ages.

Above all this, the positioning of the Arts as a unique part of our health and well-being has proven to make a strong connection in the mindful engagement of older adults in the spectrum of social and health care services, such as assisted living or long-term care environments. Kate Dupris will speak to this and it will be of interest not only to those with parents in elder care, but also to professionals in organizations who look at ways to integrate the Arts into the business of care.

What is special about the Arts as we discover them is that they have no age boundaries. The Arts are one of the best hopes we have for intergenerational connectivity. Not that this was lost on me before, but this reaffirmed itself recently when I sat down with Cailey Massey of Artfull Aging. Cailey’s expertise as she says, is in providing creative opportunities for older adults. Hopefully she will be at this Sheridan event as she is one part of the artistic and economic equation.

Then the question becomes, “What happens when you bring a market researcher and a neuropsychologist and artists and arts supporters together?” Don’t miss out. You might make some artful collaborative connections.

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