Donate Today!

Arts & Aging

Community sits at the heart of our work. We believe that everyone deserves the benefits of connecting with neighbors and having a supportive community. Through our Arts and Aging program, we use the arts as a vehicle for lifelong learning and community building.

Arts and Aging offers participatory, multi-disciplinary sequential arts learning programs taught by professional artists, giving older adults access to high-quality arts and creativity classes and programs at no cost.

Teaching artists work within their own professional expertise to help participating residents build skills, a sense of mastery, and connection with fellow students. This model inspires a sense of purpose and vitality and brings people together. What’s more, research shows the transformative effect of participatory arts programs on the health and well-being of older adults.

Updates from the fall of 2021 classes:

Over the course of Fall 2021, Arts & Aging Program Manager Kate Houston worked with a variety of Teaching Artists to offer seven in-person and two online 8-week classes, plus two on-line workshops. Residents worked in memoir, ceramics, drawing, painting, fiber arts, and mixed media mediums. 50 residents across 9 sites participated in classes/workshops. Here is a glimpse into a few of these classes:

Color Drawing: Painting with Pencil

Led by Teaching Artist Lynda Monick-Isenberg, artists from three CommonBond Communities participated in a weekly class via zoom. Participants discovered new ways to use, adapt, and combine the medium of watercolor pencil into their work. Artists learned to look closely, discuss their work and progress, and take risks in their artistic endeavors. To see artwork created during this class, view the virtual gallery tour.

Intro to Acrylic Painting

Led by Teaching Artist Holly Nelson, artists gathered for the first in-person class at Boulevard Gardens since the start of the pandemic. Over the span of seven weeks, participants learned to mix pairs of complementary colors for each painting to explore the capacity of complementary colors. Artists also studied the small intricacies of still life objects to expand the ability to see the small nuances of reality. Participants grew in their technical skills and formed friendships in the process! To see artwork created during this class, view the virtual gallery tour.

Diving In: Writing Life Stories

Led by Teaching Artist Rachel Moritz, writers from four CommonBond Communities participated in an 8-week class via Zoom. This class explored writing from the well of memory, including stories about childhood, family, place, work, and more. Writers explored how to spark memory, explore the memoirist’s tools, and write from the senses. Read some of the beautiful work by the writers in this class here: Diving In: Writing Life Stories. And check out this story about the class on our blog, featuring reflections from Rachel and two class participants!

You can also still enjoy the work created during our summer class, Continuing Watercolor: view the virtual gallery tour.


The Arts and Aging Program is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Arts and Aging Program is supported by Aroha Philanthropies.

“Before this class many of us did not speak to one another. Though we lived in the same place I felt alone. This class, these people, these teachers have helped to create a community around creating.”
-Arts and Aging Participant, CommonBond resident
“I was new to the community this last session. The class hooked me and helped me belong. I even stepped up and have started a monthly creative friends group so that we can all keep drawing and talking together. I was never been able to do this kind of work before taking this class!”
-Arts and Aging Participant, CommonBond resident
“This class has helped me build my self-confidence and convinced me to try other new adventures.”
-Arts and Aging Participant, CommonBond resident

Browse the virtual galleries from recent art classes

Technology allows us to showcase the amazing work of residents in a new way—through virtual gallery tours! Take a look at pieces made by resident artists during three recent classes in 2021: Color Drawing: Painting with Pencil, Intro to Acrylic Painting and Continuing Watercolor.

Now friends and family can view the artwork from wherever they are. Enjoy the unique style and vision of each of these artists!