August 23, 2021, Simcoe – Norfolk County seniors are invited to enroll in a new intergenerational arts program at Simcoe’s Art with Heart Studio. The not-for-profit arts education organization is a local leader in offering youth theatre, music, and visual arts programming and mentoring opportunities.

Wisdom of My Elders is led by Art with Heart’s Artistic Director Nikki Campbell. The collaborative project will see life experience, advice, and stories shared by seniors illustrated by local youth. Seniors and youth will meet and work together at a series of guided workshops to exchange stories, complete collaborative creative tasks, and ultimately produce a completed entry to full-colour book.

Enrollment in the program is free, and a commitment to attend all four in-person sessions in a group is all that is required to register. Participants will be accepted in pairs of one senior and one youth contributor. Group A workshops begin September 11 and run bi-weekly until October 23. Group B begins September 18 and runs bi-weekly until October 30. Participation will be restricted to a maximum of 10 pairs per session, with all COVID protocols in place including masks, distancing and screening. Interested participants should email [email protected] to register. Applicants will be accepted on a first come, first served basis to a maximum of 20 pairs.

“Art opens doors and creates change. Working on a project together will help strengthen bonds across generations and lead to learning opportunities for all participants.”

Nikki Campbell,
Project Instructing Artist

Engaging seniors is a new direction for Art with Heart, and Campbell is looking forward to where this opportunity leads the organization. “Art with Heart has had hundreds of children and youth enrolled in programs since it opened,” Campbell said. “This is an exciting new direction for the Art with Heart team, and we are optimistic that a successful project will open the door to more engagement with seniors in the future.” 

Ultimately, the goal of Wisdom of My Elders is to provide volunteer mentoring and creative opportunities for seniors, and to build stronger relationships and empathy between children and seniors. “Art opens doors and creates change,” Campbell said. “Working on a project together will help strengthen bonds across generations and lead to learning opportunities for all participants.”

Wisdom of My Elders leads the launch of more than 20 new programs and day camps for Art with Heart’s 2021-2022 season. The project is funded by a grant from the New Horizons for Seniors Program through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The New Horizons for Seniors Program provides funding for projects that make a difference in the lives of seniors and in their communities. The Program has five objectives: promoting volunteerism among seniors and other generations; engaging seniors in the community through the mentoring of others; expanding awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse; supporting the social participation and inclusion of seniors; and providing capital assistance for new and existing community projects and programs for seniors.