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ArtSage: Creatively Aging in the Red River Valley

by Teresa L. Huff

Teresa HuffArtSage is a non-profit, community based organization supporting arts and education for older adults. ArtSage is able to provide high quality, cost effective access to an array of art activities such as; writing your family history, pottery, water colors, wood carving, theater, folk art, photography, time slips and dance. ArtSage collaborates with existing organizations and senior programs in our community to develop and implement these programs; through our collaboration we are able to offer these highly effective programs at many different locations throughout our community.

ArtSage believes creativity brings dignity, it releases a sense of humanity, and it develops energy and radiance. When a person creates, life is enhanced…existence becomes a thing of beauty and joy. This along with the special place that older adults have always held in my heart is what drew me into ArtSage last July. When I began evaluating what project to take on for my class assignment in Rural Leadership North Dakota I wanted a project that I could make the greatest impact in, ArtSage surfaced literally over night. I remember waking up very early one morning knowing that this is how I could make the greatest impact for the community in which I live. A peace settled over me and I have been moving ahead full speed since.

As a board member I quickly realized that ArtSage was operating with no money and was in the process of writing grants and looking for money. I took on the role of Fund Raising Chairperson and began weekly meetings with co-founders Rose Marie Gueldner & Paulette DeMers. Over the course of a few months a plan was put into place to hold our first fund raising event which is scheduled for May 8, 2010 at Edgewood Vista. This event will offer a book signing by an older adult, keyboard music, a sketch artist and a couple dancing on Main Street. A live and silent basket auction will take place and a variety of desserts and beverages will be available for guests; in collaboration with this event Edgewood Vista will be holding an open house. This was a team effort by board members, friends of ArtSage, the community in which we live and the collaboration and partnering with Edgewood Vista. The plan is to make this an annual fund raising event. Along with this event ArtSage will also be having a fund raising event at Barnes and Noble on Thursday, May 20, 2010 and next spring Tin Roof Theater will donate profits from one evening’s production.

Over the last few months I have presented at DOVS (Director of Volunteers) and gave an email interview for Larry Gauper’s Column that was published in the “Extra” paper that comes out weekly in the community. I will be presenting in June at the Rotary Club in Fargo and I hope to present at Collation for Service Providers in the fall along with the Fargo Kiwanis Club.

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