The arts fosters creativity, connection for older adults

Alicia Colombo

Lois Yampolsky, 79, of Northeast Philadelphia, has always had a passion for painting. She has been an artist since the age of 6 and has honed her craft over the years, experimenting with different techniques and mediums. Yampolsky passed her zest for life and creativity down to her son and grandson, who are also artists. The process of artistic expression has afforded her the opportunity to meet a community of like-minded individuals who keep her professional and personal lives interesting.

In recognition of Older Americans Month in May, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) hosts festivities to highlight that art is inclusive of everyone. Since the program’s inception in 2002, PCA’s Celebrate Arts & Aging month-long exhibition focuses on enhancing the quality of life for older adults by providing an outlet for self-expression and presenting countless benefits, such as relaxing from the pressures of everyday life by participating in the arts. This commitment to arts-based programming is supported by research, which has shown that such activities can boost cognitive functioning, reduce loneliness and social isolation, and promote overall well-being.

Over her lifetime, Yampolsky, who still works as an executive assistant, has cultivated her creativity through various artistic methods to develop a broader insight into her own techniques. Several of her original art creations exemplify her love of classic architecture that can be found across America and across the globe, in cities, such as Paris and Marseille.

Her latest work, “House on Broad Street,” is a stunning watercolor that captures the essence of Philadelphia’s historic architecture. The painting features a regal three-story, rusticated stone, eclectic-style house situated on Broad Street, with colorful flowers and foliage adorning the front yard. Yampolsky’s ode to local architecture (pictured) was selected as the signature piece for the 2023 Celebrate Arts & Aging festival due to its exceptional detail and representation of the city’s unique character.

Yampolsky, who began displaying her art again in her 50s, is among 145 older artists, including 39 new to Celebrate Arts & Aging, ranging in age from 55 to 98, whose original artwork will be exhibited throughout the month. Now in its 21st year, Celebrate Arts & Aging features original works created by older artists in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, photography, drawing and acrylic.

“Art is something that I have had the joy of sharing with my family, friends and colleagues as a means of communicating my passions with others,” Yampolsky said. “As someone who has been working for over 40 years, my art is a terrific outlet for me to express my artistic side with a community of inspiring older adults who I may not (otherwise) have ever crossed paths with.”

Celebrate Arts & Aging spotlights the period of immense growth, creativity, and productivity that often occurs later in life. The expression of creativity can lead to improved general wellness and a sense of connection to artists with similar interests.

“We are excited that in PCA’s 50th anniversary year, we get another opportunity to invite older Philadelphians to highlight their talents and creativity,” said Najja R. Orr, M.B.A., D.B.A., PCA president & CEO. “Through this empowering program, older adults can meet others with similar interests and experiences and build lasting relationships through their shared love of the arts.”


Coloring outside the lines

This year’s Celebrate Arts & Aging exhibition is a hybrid event, offering an in-person connection and the opportunity to reach a larger audience virtually. The full collection of original artwork created by older adult artists has been compiled into a virtual show at pcaCares.org/art.

PCA’s Celebrate Arts & Aging also features three in-person exhibits of selected artwork on display for public viewing, weekdays in May from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the following locations:

  • Parkway Central Library, First Floor, West Gallery, 1901 Vine St. | Artists’ reception: Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m.
  • South Philadelphia Older Adult Center, 1430 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19147 | Artists’ reception: Thursday, May 18 at 4 p.m.
  • Center on the Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave., behind the Presbyterian Church | Artists’ reception: Wednesday, May 31 at 4 p.m.

PCA’s 2023 Celebrate Arts & Aging is sponsored by PECO and Always Best Care Senior Services.


Bill Conallen is the public relations specialist at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

Categories: Arts & Crafts Milestones eNews News about PCA

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