Sunday, September 10, 2006

How to Be a Working Artist--and Stay Sharp

Instead of declining into retirement with age-appropriate activities like cruises, golf, and watching the world go by, move to a community of like-minded souls focused on active lives of creativity and participation. Add in some professional experts for advice and guidance and you have a shot at a spectacular new career. You'll also start reversing general decline of the body, mind, and spirit and preventing future health issues. And you may very well be paid handsomely for your work as playwright, radio personality, artist, composer, or musician.

A front-page NY Times article today by Patricia Leigh Brown, "At New Rentals, the Aim Is to Age with Creativity" highlights a study jointly sponsored by George Washington University and The National Endowment for the Arts called "The Creativity and Aging Study." As Dr. Gene Cohen, one of the directors of the study, says in a summary of the results of this first two-year research of its kind, "Awareness that there is no age limit to tapping human potential affects not only how we view and prepare for our own future development, but it also influences how society nurtures and benefits from its older human resources." Also interesting is that many of the participants had already lived "normal" lifespans and were in their 80s and 90s at the time of the study. So what will happen when Boomers, the first of whom are now reaching 60, demand to be heard--creatively, politically, and as wage-earners? I think we're in for some exciting times.

Dr. Cohen adds in the NY Times article, “We’re thinking beyond the problems of aging to its potential. . . . What’s emerging is a very talented group of people who are an under-recognized national resource.”

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