Arts for Life Expo

Organization Associated with Program
Arts for Life Network of New Jersey
371 Audubon Rd
Englewood, New Jersey 07631

The Arts for Life Network of New Jersey was launched by Jacqueline Guttman in June, 2012 with the goal of connecting older learners with dynamic teaching artists through an array of participatory high quality arts activities on an ongoing basis. After getting wiped out by Hurricane Sandy that November, the Arts for Life Network was invited by the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ to organize a one-day Arts for Life Sampler in May, 2013. The success was such that they decided they would continue to host an ongoing series of similar events, which are now called the Arts for Life Expo, a reasonably priced month-long series of classes in the performing, literary and visual arts. From October 30 – November 26, weekly classes will be offered Monday through Friday in Dance, Poetry, Creative Writing, Applique, Acting, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Recorder, Ukelele and Drumming. The program will serve approximately 60 active older adults aged 60+, building to 100 people as the program becomes known. It is anticipated that this program will be offered in the fall, spring and summer, with possibly a brief winter session as well. The fee is $15 per class, with discounts for 4 or more classes. 

Program History

Arts for Life NJ is the brainchild of Jacqueline Guttman, whose work in arts education and administration spans nearly 50 years. While working at an area music school, she noticed the unused classroom and studio space during the day during the week, and had the idea to offer serious, active music programs for seniors. That evolved into an area-wide project, initially supported by the local Community Chest. Older adults are an unusually large demographic in Bergen County, eager to learn, create and explore new possibilities, while many older artists now have the time to teach.

The Expo aims to inspire people to reignite an old passion or find a new one, whether by studying an instrument, making art, acting, writing or dancing. The Arts for Life Sampler in May, 2013, demonstrated that there is a real need for this type of programming. As one participant put it, “I feel that my generation (60+) is seeking to re-vision ‘retirement,’ evolving and transitioning with a ‘make it up as we go’ into our new phase of life. Your spirit /attitude/approach in the Arts for Life Network are helping me discover and sustain the effort to blossom in my own life.” The Arts for Life Network and Expo are sponsored by BergenPAC, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, the Community Chest Serving Englewood, Tenafly and Englewood Cliffs, and though New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant funds administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

This program conducts one evaluation at the end of the program through surveys, a questionnaire, interviewing teaching artists, and keeping note of informal comments. 

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Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Participate in an Ensemble
Arts Discipline: Dance, Design, Folk/Traditional Arts, Literature, Music, Theater
Target Audience: Active Adults
Adaptive Program Design Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities
Program Setting: Arts Organization
Program Service Area: Suburban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices