Edmonds embraces Creative Age with art, music, learning

EDMONDS — It may be the first such event of its kind, a festival that mixes the arts with a day-long schedule of classes designed for older adults.

The Creative Age Festival of Edmonds begins April 15 with two events at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, will speak on “Love and Intimacy in Midlife and Beyond.” The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is scheduled for a evening concert. On April 16, 31 seminars are scheduled at venues at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St. “The classes are so varied,” said Julie Colgan, a festival consultant.

“We want people to understand this is not something you just go take a class, but lessons you can take with you for weeks and months afterwards,” she said. The goal is to allow participants to explore topics and experiences that they may not have had time for when working and raising a family.

Seminars topics include blogging, volunteer travel for boomers, memoir writing, visual journaling, introduction to poetry, healthy eating and life reimagined to help participants figure out what they’d like to do for the next 10 to 15 years.

A member of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will lead a class on how to participate in a jam session.

“People should bring their own instruments,” Colgan said. “They’ll learn how to just jump in and play.”

Representatives from Edmonds Community College, the University of Washington and Washington State University will be on hand to explain how adults age 50 and older can audit classes.

Members of Phoenix Theater will present a class on beginning acting. Gloria Burgess, a poet and motivational speaker, will lead a class called “Legacy of the Heart: Making Your Personal Story Come to Life,” and another on the soulful secrets of Negro spirituals.

An afternoon session is planned on creating memory boxes, using different media to make a keepsake box about a special time, place or person.

Staff from Harbor Square Athletic Club will provide fitness testing and lead yoga and fitness classes.

Planning for the Creative Age Festival of Edmonds began about 18 months ago with a request from the Edmonds Senior Center to research creative programming.

“I did a Google search on creative aging,” said Jerry Fireman, an event volunteer, who previously worked for Snohomish County Long Term Care &Aging. He found arts-related festivals for older adults in Scotland, Indiana and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario.

“It got me thinking about Edmonds,” a city with a reputation as an arts center as well as having a significant number of older adults, Fireman said.

He talked with Dick Van Hollebeke, a former Edmonds City Council member, and Trish Feaster, from Rick Steves’ Europe. From that came the idea of planning a festival that brings together arts events and classes for older adults.

Festival tickets are on sale. Venues at the Edmonds Center for the Arts can accommodate up to 700 people. Class sizes are limited to 250 to 300 people.

Event sponsors include Swedish Edmonds, Senior Services of Snohomish County, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce and Sno-Isle Libraries.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

The Creative Age Festival of Edmonds is to be held April 15 and 16. It will feature a variety of events, including a day-long schedule of classes and a concert by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Tickets are available. Prices depend on the number of days and events attended, but start at $35. Go to www.creativeagefestival.org for tickets and information.

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