Arts Digest

This is the arts & culture blog for Fairfax County, Virginia.

2016 Creative Aging Festival Features Diverse Line-Up

BMD PDClassThe 2016 Festival offers diverse interactive arts experiences ranging from African drumming, hands-on pottery, improv theatre, dance and healing, to American acoustic roots blues music.

The Arts Council of Fairfax County selected seven outstanding artists, ranging from arts education, dance, music, storytelling, and theatre, who will be part of a diverse line-up at the 2016 Creative Aging Festival, during the month of May, coinciding with Older Americans Month. Fifty activities and events are planned at fourteen senior centers throughout Fairfax County.

Pictured above is Lucy Bowen McCauley working with a Dance for PD class. Photo Credit: David Moss

County residents and visitors will be able to access a wide variety of free interactive arts offerings ranging from African drumming polyrhythms with global musician and performer Emmanuel (Kofi) Dennis; improv theatre demonstrations with education coordinator and drama artist Jaclyn Young of NextStop Theatre Company; an introduction to American acoustic blues history with musician and educator Curtis Blues; story telling with Candace Wolf; to hands-on pottery lessons with ceramics artist Margaret Reichard. Lucy Bowen McCauley, artistic director, of Bowen McCauley Dance and artist Annetta Dexter Sawyer will engage Festival participants in dance, healing, and movement.

"Dance can be a huge health benefit to older adults, especially those suffering from Parkinson’s disease," said Lucy Bowen McCauley, artistic director and founder, of Bowen McCauley Dance. "It takes their mind and spirit away from the thoughts of disease, disability and social isolation."

According to Virginia Moore, a senior citizen who lives in Alexandria, "Last year’s Creative Aging Festival was a fantastic experience. I look forward to this year’s play 'Murder at the Pie Auction' at Hollin Hall Senior Center. The Festival is an excellent creative outlet for older adults."

The Festival is presented by the Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services in collaboration with the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations. In addition to aiding with the Festival curation, the Arts Council contributed significant planning resources.

"We are proud to partner with the County on this important quality of life initiative. The arts are essential in helping older adults remain active and socially connected in their community," said Linda S. Sullivan, president & CEO, of the Arts Council of Fairfax County. "We want to help make the arts more accessible to this growing County demographic."

"The arts have an invigorating effect on our 50+ community," said Chris Leonard, Director of Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services. "We’re proud to join with our partners in hosting this Festival to celebrate all the arts has to offer in providing opportunities for engagement, building friendships, and continuing to explore and develop new skills and talents."

The Festival supports Fairfax County’s 50+ Community Action Plan’s initiative to promote arts programming for and by older adults. Core objectives include encouraging older adult participation in the community’s many public and private arts programs; promoting public understanding of the benefits of older adult participation in the arts; and providing awareness to the broader community about the existing arts services for older adults in Fairfax County, and the benefits these programs can have for diverse audiences. To find an event near your senior center, visit

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