Dominic Campbell & Creative Aging International – creating a new old

How do I break it to John that I’ve fallen head over heels for an Irishman?  Can only hope he’ll understand.  But DOMINIC CAMPBELL has stolen my heart.  Understandable.  How could I not feel swept off my feet by someone who speaks my heart when he says, “As people live for longer societies need to adapt. Creativity is key to adapting. (At Creative Aging International) we celebrate aging through various activities, programmes (definitely Irish) and festivals whose culture gently questions expectations of aging.”

Please note that I found Dominic AFTER planning A Creativity Jam for Age Justice as my way of showing solidarity with the big 05/15/18 Radical Age Movement rally in NYC.  I reached for something that would go beyond a protest – a celebration showcasing the creativity of olders elders ancients, that unites & uplifts, that shows the wow rather than woe of aging.

Together with Bea Kelleher, Dominic founded Creative Aging International, headquartered in Dublin, a group that pricks holes in expectations of aging by producing festivals that celebrate creativity in elders.  As they put it, “Our Festival series … showcases the creativity of older people. Here you can encounter world famous older artists alongside those starting to express their lifetime’s experience. ~ Celebrations bring people and organizations together. Challenging subjects addressed through entertainment become easier to engage with. Our festivals and events offer places for collective encounter.

Collective encounter – am stealing that phrase to help describe the Creativity Jam!

Dominic & Bea seek to bring the giddy fun & entrepreneurial spirit of entertainment to opening up perceptions of growing older in societies around the world.  Their events pair revenue-generating activities with ones that are open to all.  A win-win all around.

It quietly freaked me out, reading on their website the very reasons I opted to go with A Creativity Jam for Age Justice rather than something potentially laden with angst & agita to show solidarity with the 05/15/18 Central Park rally.  Art & performances by creatives who are 65+ teamed with discussion that recognizes the impact of age injustice on our society & ways to counteract it while presenting ways to approach “getting up there in years” with wonder instead of woe.

NextAvenue  has a dandy article on a conference Dominic helped organize last month right here it the USA  – – Creating a New Old San Francisco was a 1-day event devoted to considering ways to bring a fresh approach to aging in the City By The Bay.  The 200+ people who flocked to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for the event took a deep dive into issues around contemporary aging.

The reality is that we are expected to live significantly longer than our parents & grandparents, but precious little attention is being given to that reality by the powers-that-be.  And it’s small wonder – government & organizations tend to look at what is, to spin projections from present-day date, make forecasts of what they believe might be based on what currently is.

The solution lies not in our governments or institutions, but in our creatives, in our innovators, in the people who see potential, who spark innovation, with the vision to look beyond today’s reality to tomorrow’s possibilities, with imaginations that leap frog problems to solutions.  In people like Dominic Campbell.

Praise be for Creative Aging International’s  experience bringing together companies, organizations, individuals to create innovative programs that inspire & nurture new approaches to aging, that gathers together – as happened last month in San Francisco – best practices in contemporary aging & powers up the influence of thought leaders like Dominic.  (Be calm, my beating heart!)

Dominic & Creative Aging International are dedicated to transforming how people view & approach aging.  Not as a dire dilemma nor as an anxiety-laden issue, but with joy & celebration, with a light heart & committed vision that brings together creatives & others, individuals & companies, societies & governments.

As noted on Creative Aging International’s website, “Living longer is changing the way we live, where we live, and how we care for our aging selves and our beloveds. Older populations include the wealthiest and most fragile in society.  Change is crossing sectors from finance to transport, tech to fashion, housing to healthcare. ~ Creative approaches are rewriting the traditions of ageing, providing vision, connecting institutions and communities, nurturing well-being.”  Amen & hallelujah!

What’s not to love?!

Midge Maisel & the Creativity Jam for Age Justice

Could not decide whether to publish this under Rx for Caregivers or Stuff & Nonsense or here so am including it on all three!

If Midge Maisel was an actual person instead of a fiction character on an Amazon Prime show, she’d be 86 & still killin’ it.  And just the sort of talent I’m hoping to include in the 05/15/18 Creativity Jam for Age Justice, the Philly event in support of the same day, same time Radical Age Movement rally in Central Park.

The Jam will have multi-layers & be multi-purpose, featuring pieces by 65+ (55+?) artists, musicians, singers, dancers – – and hopefully stand-up.  The focus goes beyond artists of a certain age to include dream catchers – creatives who have longed to have their work seen by others & are just now being given the opportunity, not in spite of their age but because of it.  The Jam will feature artists who’ve shown or performed before, but 1st timers will be given special consideration by the (tba) selection committee.  So, yes – Midge could have made the cut!

When I posted thoughts about this event on Facebook, the very first comment was, “Great idea. Sounds like a lot of work and money to get it going.”   Reminded me of the acquaintance who, on hearing about the Rx for Caregivers page-a-day calendar, said  “How will you fund it?  How will you monetarize it?” in a tone of inspiration-killing skepticism instead of the gee-whiz “Tell me more” response that  respects baby ideas, encourages them to take a next step, to grow.  Disappointments might come…  but, then again, they might just as easily take wings & fly into the stratosphere, leaving only fabulous, fully realized wonderful.

I’ve had four art shows over the past twelve years, two solo, two creativity jams with John  – one in Bryn Athyn, one in Princeton, two in Huntingdon Valley.  The HV photography show was such a smash, they held it over for the entire summer.  The only cost I had for any of them was for the opening reception’s delectable spread.

It will be a lot of work, but a lot less than the efforts of my Radical Age Movement colleagues up in NYC putting together the Central Park rally for Age Justice.  I won’t have the big names featured up yonder, but will have a power beyond what happens in Manhattan  – – fulfilling the heart’s desire of creatives who’ve dreamed of having their work seen by others.  Pretty cool.

Imagining some 73-year old finally getting the chance to kill it as a stand-up, getting his first taste of an audience’s laughter, their applause.  When it happens – whichever creatives jam with us – will see Midge looking on, hearing her say, “Yeah, he loves it.”

Yes, it will be a lot of work – but the joy hallmarking the Creativity Jam for Age Justice will be worth every moment!