‘Artists & Elders’ Project Inspires Art and Friendship Across Generations

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Caption: "Artists & Elders" participants Lily and Naomi. (Robbie Sweeny)

Amid the isolation of shelter-in-place restrictions last year, three artists --Erika Chong Shuch, Rowena Richie and Ryan Tacata --responded by creating “Artists & Elders,” a project connecting artists with senior citizens to create and exchange art. Informed by Richie’s work with people with dementia, a disease which counts isolation as a risk factor, "Artists & Elders" sought to be a source of creative social engagement, fueled by imagination and pleasure. More than 80 artist-elder pairs around the world have joined the project, and participants share that even more impactful than the works of art have been the lasting bonds they’ve created. We hear from some of the project’s participants and reflect on the power of art and friendship.

Some performance works inspired by the "Artists & Elders" will be featured in a KQED Live event on Dec. 12.


Erika Chong Shuch , performance maker, choreographer and director; co-organizer, For You: Artists & Elders

Rowena Richie , dance theater-maker and performer, writer, teacher; co-organizer, For You: Artists & Elders, writer; senior Atlantic fellow for Equity in Brain Health, Global Brain Health Institute at UCSF

Dierdre Visser, curator, The Arts, California Institute of Integral Studies; publisher, CHROMA books; participated in Artists & Elders

Lauren Spencer, theater artist and writer; participated in Artists & Elders

Glenn Stultz, artist, participated in Artists & Elders

Randy Wong-Westbrooke, set designer, participated in Artists & Elders

Kay Brown, elder; participated in Artists & Elders