Expanding Horizons by Exploring Creativity

At Splendido, we are believers in the power of possibilities, and this passion comes through in what we do every day in our Life Plan Community for those 55+ in Oro Valley. Here, our programs, services, and experiences strive to foster an optimism for what’s next and a learning environment that’s uniquely Splendido.

Research has shown that older adults who engage with the arts in a group setting—anything from dancing to a poetry group to singing in a choir—enjoy tangible benefits in multiple areas of health. This has to do with feelings of mastery, and with social connection.

What makes the journey of a lifetime so rewarding is the excitement of new possibilities—lifelong opportunities to learn more, do more, see more, experience more, and feel more connected to the world around us.

With this in mind, Splendido’s Creative Arts staff, along with some of us at Mather—one of Splendido’s two parent organizations—create an ever-changing variety of opportunities for residents to master new forms of self-expression in a community setting. Many Splendido residents are already advanced artists, and they teach and encourage each other in new ways. We simply provide additional opportunities to support each individual’s creative journey through innovative, in-depth programming that’s tapping into their expertise and passions.

Open Studio, Open Mind

Our approach to creative expression is built around our Open Art Studios, which position arts engagement as a vehicle for wellness, not just recreation, inviting both lifelong and new artists to explore their own Creative Age in a welcoming group setting. While working in diverse media including ceramics and mixed media/painting, participants often realize alongside their peers that they have an untapped expressive ability, a new love for a specific media, or a personal project to pursue.

Our master’s-level facilitators, trained in art and psychology, introduce a wide array of media and techniques, while also creating an uplifting community in which residents learn more about each other and themselves.

A Fresh Look at Art Appreciation

Mather also has a signature approach to art appreciation, one that mirrors how contemporary museum practices are evolving. Rather than teaching or encouraging art appreciation with lectures from an expert such as a docent, we are using inclusive, inquiry-based art-viewing techniques. These techniques focus on the interests, experiences, and curiosity of viewers to deliver intellectually stimulating content while challenging us to bring culture down from the pedestal and into our lives.

We invite residents to apply visual literacy skills—observing, describing, interpreting, and making personal connections—and then to share their perspectives with others, shape the direction of the group discussion, and make their own connections with material.

Did you know that the average person spends 17 seconds looking at a work of art in a museum? In our visual literacy programs, we often spend a full hour describing an image, sharing stories conjured by the work of art, or even creating group poems in response to the work.

I should note that at Splendido, we recognize that creativity is about much more than visual art. We encourage all who live and work in our community to recognize aging as time of great creative potential, whether through music, poetry, storytelling, dance and movement, or even gardening—the sky is truly the limit.

Interested in learning more about Splendido? For floor plans, photos, and information on upcoming events, visit splendidotucson.com.

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