Victoria Robinson, a full-time journalist and part-time poet, writes about aging from the perspective of the arts, media portrayals, global culture and social justice concerns. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she is working on a documentary about her 76-year-old neighbor, Miss Margie. Photo by Walter Glass.
Bill Traylor, People’s Artist
I knew very little about Bill Traylor before I walked into the American Folk Art Museum in New York City to see an exhibition of his work. I knew he was a self-taught artist from the South—but that’s all I knew. When I learned from the gallery text that he didn’t start making art until he was in his mid-80s, I was awestruck. Embarking on anything in one’s 80s is rare. Ending up in a museum is radical.
Joan Didion and the Crime of Getting Old
Late one cloudy October afternoon, my sister sent me an email with the two-word subject “Uncle Ralph.” I knew before opening it what the email would say. I knew it would say that Uncle Ralph had died.
Trading Amber for Gold
Do Old Ladies Make World History?
Who influences history and how do we weigh that influence? Do we have biases about who qualifies as a “history maker”? When we read about historic events, for example, do we acknowledge the ages of the participants? Do some people count more than others?
Senior Sprayers Make Their Mark
Graffiti workshops and classes are popping up across the country, and they are surprisingly popular.If we want to challenge negative attitudes about aging, we sometimes need to examine our own attitudes first. That’s what German seniors are doing, with the help of younger artists. This intergenerational exchange takes place in the streets rather than in museums, through spray paints rather than oil paints.
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The Silver Century Foundation promotes a positive view of aging. The Foundation challenges entrenched and harmful stereotypes, encourages dialogue between generations, advocates planning for the second half of life, and raises awareness to educate and inspire everyone to live long, healthy, empowered lives.
"It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not poorer, but is even richer."
Cicero (106-43 BC)