Topic 1 Benefits of Intergenerational art-based Experiences

Art is a valuable tool for intergenerational practices, as it can allow stereotypes to be overcome and enable individuals of any age to demonstrate their strengths and abilities.

Studies have shown that art-based learning can help build respect and develop understanding and appreciation between generations, bringing several benefits both socially and individually:

  • De-stigmatizing “otherness”: Fostering interactions between different groups of people provides an opportunity to confront the concept of the “other” and instead allows individuals to be viewed as the person within, not solely the age group they belong to.
  • Foster empathy: connection and opportunity for the older adults and teenagers to see their similarities rather than solely their differences.
  • Nonverbal communication/Symbolic communication: Art making is a symbolic way of communicating outside of the use of verbal language. When art is used in a collaborative context the gates of communication open further.

“It takes a very long time to become young.”

– Pablo Picasso

  • Identity: When working intergenerationally, different roles can be explored, which can then further expand ideas about identity. Part of fostering one’s identity can include claiming an artist identity. An artist identity can be a new way for an individual to understand themselves as they explore a new media. Through participation in creative workshops people of different skill sets can explore art together.
  • New space for expression: Artistic skills are a worthwhile choice for older adults because many older adults nowadays have not explored art since childhood.
  • Learning new things: When including modern technologies in the arts process that older adults may not have had prior experience with, you are providing an opportunity for the younger generation to teach and the older generation to learn through a collaborative process. This process of educational collaboration allows individuals to experience new identity roles and relationships.
  • Fostering pride: Learning new skills is also helpful in fostering pride. Artistic creations provide a visual, tangible representation of an individual’s skill. Pride in the product correlates with pride in themselves. Art can be a way to foster feelings of self-esteem and self-worth by providing older adults with a meaningful experience.