The “Golden Vistas” exhibit which opened on June 23 in the Dolph Briscoe Jr. Library features artworks, poetry, and prose selections on loan from the the Bihl Haus GO! Arts Program, a National Council on Aging award-winning arts education program. The program brings the arts directly to seniors, known as “Goldens,” at senior centers or living in affordable housing communities. The award recognizes GO! Arts in the “Expressive and Creative Arts” category as an innovative, creative and replicable program. Classes are taught by local professional artist-teachers. The program is offered to low-income seniors, primarily Hispanic women, among the most underserved populations in the country.
The GO! Arts Program was the subject of a study1 co-authored by Dr. Adelita G. Cantu, UTHSCSA School of Nursing, and Dr. K. Jill Fleuriet, UTSA Department of Anthropology. The research findings documented overwhelmingly positive impacts, including reduction of isolation effects and mental health challenges, from the GO! Arts Program. “Structural aspects of the class, free instruction and materials, flexible participation, leadership, and teacher pedagogies facilitated…positive psychosocial changes in participants’ lives. Participants perceived significant improvements in mental and psychosocial health through increased social engagement, self-awareness, empowerment, and a sense of calm and relaxation.” The study concluded that federal policy for senior residential complexes and nursing homes should explicitly include ongoing creative arts classes.
Visitors to the exhibit will have an opportunity to meet some of the artists at a reception in the Howe Conference Room at the Briscoe Library on July 11, 2014 at 4:00 in the afternoon. For more information, contact Jonquil Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 210-567-2430.
1. Greer, N., Fleuriet, K. J., & Cantu, A. G. (2012). Acrylic Rx: A program evaluation of a professionally taught painting class among older Americans. Arts & Health: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, 4(3), 262-273.