SageArts is an intergenerational arts project located in New York’s Hudson Valley that promotes social inclusion and dignity for elders in our communities. We pair elders with local artists to collaborate on original songs that define and celebrate their life experiences. The songs are then performed at concerts, enabling elders and the wider community to share in an intergenerational celebration of moving art. SageArts inspires and invigorates our elders, who are no longer viewed through the lens of their physical limitations and needs, reminding the community of the incredible value they have.
— Our Vision —
Elders are rarely included and celebrated in our society. More often than not, they are devalued, isolated, and marginalized. They face the challenge of staying engaged and connected—25% of elders in their homes and 50% in institutions are clinically depressed (Geriatric Mental Health).
The Vision of SageArts is to celebrate our elders, and engage and empower them to share their life’s wisdom with the entire community and leave an artistic legacy. In doing so, we strive to forge new intergenerational connections that strengthen our communities.
— Our songwriting process —
We partner with elders in the community who are living in their homes or in senior housing. Our songwriters meet with the elders weekly for two to three months to build relationships and share stories of their lives. Over time a theme emerges that has been essential to the elders’ lives—a lesson, or an insight, or a memorable moment—that is collaboratively captured in a song. Elders participate in choosing lyrics and melody, and in how to best present the song musically.
The elders need no previous experience in the arts, as our trained songwriters will be their muses, mentors, and guides in co-creating their songs. Projects culminate in community performances that include local musicians and inter-generational singers, as we honor the elders and share their songs.
— Our founder —
Since its founding in 2013 by Colette Ruoff, SageArts has trained 13 talented songwriters to work with elders, produced three standing room only concerts in Stone Ridge, Accord, and Woodstock, raised $30,000 from donors, and created a short documentary film about our work.