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Creative Aging

By Katie Brandon
Posted: 06/01/2023

Pasadena Village is thrilled to announce the launch of a new two-year Creative Aging initiative consisting of opportunities for older adults to engage with each other. This initiative promotes creativity and artistic expression and strives to combat the negative effects of isolation and improve mental health. It has been made possible with the generous support of the Navigage Foundation.


Karen Bagnard, an artist, educator, and village member, facilitates art workshops for non-artists where small groups of older adults create works together in a collaborative, supportive environment. Karen also hosts Creative Connections, an opportunity for older adults to share their artistic journeys. Older adults showcase their art, music, or other expressions and talk about their inspirations via an hour-long presentation. Recently, Glendale poet Sally Currie hosted a poetry reading on Zoom for all to enjoy her powerful way of conveying emotions with words. Later this month, member Melva Watts will talk about her musical life and the role music has played in her evolution. She grew up with music always in her life and said “as I've aged, I come to realize how important it has been in my life.”


Art exhibitions at Pasadena Village office also just relaunched. The first artist featured since the start of the pandemic was Jim Hendrick who recently relocated to Pasadena to be nearer to family. Currently, the work of Gordon Jansson (1938-2002) is on view at the village office. Village member Bruce Jansson, Gordon’s brother, is writing a book on his late brother who was a trained post-impressionist artist. Art exhibitions are accompanied by in-person and Zoom conversations with artists who have connections to the Pasadena area. We look forward to the unveiling of the next exhibition of a member’s work later this month.


On of the partners in Creative Aging is Pasadena-based nonprofit Clazzical Notes. Pasadena Village has partnered with them since Fall 2022. Clazzical Notes creates engaging, educational and experiential artistic performances that foster community understanding across diverse cultures, genres and generations. In May, village member Paula Rao invited Clazzical Notes founder and director Jerri Price-Gaines to bring a concert to Paula’s lovely backyard. Spanish guitarist Luis Villegas and flamenco dancer Arleen Hurado entertained over 25 members and friends with the beautiful traditions from Spain and Latin America.


Older adults stay involved and engaged through excursions to local theater, cultural and art exhibitions, and museums. Recently, Village members carpooled to the Hollyhock House – a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Hollywood – and the LA Phil, and upcoming outings include the Pasadena POPs, LA Opera, and summer concerts at Farnsworth Park, among many others. Most village offerings are free, and group rates and offerings such as LA Opera’s Community Circle program, reduce the costs for many of the outings. Also, lower income members are invited to pay-what-you-wish for ticketed events, making these excursions as accessible as possible.


The Creative Aging initiative also encompasses ongoing artistic gatherings, including memoir writing small groups, and the Cultural Explorations Group (CEG) a monthly potluck where older adults reflect on a poem, short story, or artwork. The CEG potluck in May featured a discussion of the short story "Such Great Height and Consequences" by Kelsey Norris.


This Friday, Helane Rheingold will return with another focus of Conversations with Art – with art from western Africa. Helane guides attendees through selected works of art and shares techniques on how to look at, interpret, and analyze them. Rheingold describes the historical events and personal experiences of each artist, and contextualizes what they brought to their canvases. This free Zoom program is part of the 1619 Discussion group which is always free and open to the public. 


Next week, on June 6 Creative Spark is offering a free presentation on Zoom exploring the benefits of creative pursuits. Village Movement California, the state-wide coalition of villages, introduced Pasadena Village members to Creative Spark consultants who facilitate interactive the workshop based on creative aging research.


Creative Aging program partners and topics are intentionally selected to provide opportunities for individuals to express themselves, and are designed to let participants learn from each other and share their reflections with each other. Creative engagement strategies will create opportunities for older adults to share their values, experiences, and reflections with each other.

Since programming is member-led and Pasadena Village offers the support for older adults to gather on Zoom or in-person, it is immediately responsive to older adults’ needs. If you are interested in attending more creative programs or being involved in the planning and partnerships necessary to offer more engaging events, please contact Executive Director Katie Brandon at or call the Village Office at 626-765-6037. We would love to have you involved!

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