New Unique Arts Education Residencies for Adults 55+ Led by Paul Rabinowitz

Morris Arts is excited to be providing two unique eight-day residencies for adults 55 and over led by Paul Rabinowitz, author, poet and Director of ARTS By The People (ABTP). 
Memoir Writing will take place at the Gateway Community Center in partnership with the Boonton Holmes Library, in Boonton, NJ. Stories in Motion will take place at the Dover Library, in Dover, NJ. 

Memoir Writing at the Gateway Community Center, Boonton, NJ | Mondays from 10:30 – 12:00PM
March 20 • April 3, 17, 24 • May 1,15, 22 • June 5

The Memoir Writing residency, an eight-session writing workshop, encourages adult writers from all backgrounds and experience levels to reach into their history and put their experiences on paper using multiple techniques and literary craft. Over the course of the residency, participants create eight bodies of work based on writing prompts from the instructor. At the end of the sessions, each writer submits two of their strongest works to be published in a memoir compilation book, created by ABTP.

Each book becomes a memento not only to the class participants, but to each individual writer, and an emblem of pride at having a published work. There is also a book launch event, open to friends, family and the public, where chosen memoirs are read by the participants. The residency can accommodate 20 participants.  

The Fundamentals of Memoir Writing workshop is specifically designed to improve the confidence and writing skills of all participants as they complete eight new works of memoir using learned techniques and literary craft, and ultimately reach self-satisfaction at having created a published memoir. Additionally, a major learning goal for participants is to delve deeper into their creative process and hone their craft to bring their personal stories to the world from the inside out. 

Memoir Writing Flyer

Stories in Motion will take place at the Dover Library, in Dover NJ | Thursdays from 12:00 – 1:00PM 
April 13, April 20, April 27 • May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25 • June 1

Stories in Motion pairs the art of storytelling with choreography and expressive dance. Participants will share their stories and memories with our resident artist who transcribes them into poetry. During the creation of these poems the dancer develops theatrical movement phrases to accompany each piece. 

At the conclusion of each one-hour workshop, the poems are read aloud by the teaching artist and participants with the assistance of a microphone and a ten-minute dance piece is performed incorporating each participant’s story. 

Workshops can be facilitated in either English or Spanish. To showcase the participant’s work and what was learned during the residency, Stories in Motion will end with a culminating event for family, friends and the public.

The goal of Stories in Motion is to explore pathways that link dance and memory through spoken word, creating a catalyst for discussion and encouraging participants to derive emotion and movement from their own memories. Ultimately, the proposed learning goals for each residency is to benefit from the healing nature of the arts through arts-based sequential learning culminating in a final performance. 

Stories in Motion Flyer

Research from the National Institute on Aging indicates that participation in music, theater, dance, creative writing, and other art forms shows promise for improving older adults’ quality of life and well-being, from better cognitive function, memory, and self-esteem to reduced stress and increased social interaction. In our mission to build community through the arts, Morris Arts strives to provide access to meaningful artistic experiences for all Morris County residents regardless of age, means, or background. 

Our two workshops, Memoir Writing and Stories in Motion, bring creative collaboration back to this community, alleviating the loneliness of isolation and granting a platform on which participants can choose to engage in a safe and welcoming environment. Furthermore, we view our adult and senior community as one rich with narratives. These two programs encourage a sharing of identity, history, and heritage, permitting an outlet through which our seniors can recall their pasts, family histories, and share among an accepting and familiar community. It is our belief that within the aging adult community persists untapped potential, artistic ability, and a desire to create and it is our intention that this programming will facilitate a return to social interaction through the powerful healing of the arts.  

About the Teaching Artist 

The lead teaching artist for both residencies, is author, poet and Director of ABTP, Paul Rabinowitz, who has 14 years of experience working with older adult groups and has built relationships in over 40 different senior communities. Paul’s experience is extensive in introducing older adults with little arts backgrounds to new experiences with the arts, creating a nurturing environment where everyone is comfortable sharing. 

Funding has been made possible in part by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.