AHA Connects September 1 – Art Larks

AHA! CONNECTS! – September 1, 2023

Welcome to AHA! Connects, a celebration of AHA!’s programs and projects in the past 10 years. Today, we are championing Art Larks!, a program created during the pandemic to try to alleviate some of the isolation and loneliness many seniors across the province were experiencing. What we found was that engaging in the arts virtually was beneficial to older adults not only during the pandemic, but even after the pandemic isolation eased. Scroll down for more on this year’s Art Larks! …resuming next week!


AHA! is thrilled to announce that Art Larks! is returning this month. With the financial support of the

2023-2024 poster

Provincial Government, Art Larks! will be offered Monday to Friday, September to May. Our new coordinator, Kim Chisholm, is putting together an amazing fall line-up of diverse arts programs, including music, dance, visual arts and writing, with two programs daily Monday to Friday. We’d love to see lots of newcomers joining us, making art, laughing, singing and playing with AHA! artists.

Are you interested in participating in Art Larks!? Do you know an older adult who might enjoy participating? We’ll help navigate any barriers you/they might face. Currently, we are particularly interested in engaging artists of diverse ethnic backgrounds although all artists are welcome to submit proposals. Participants, please register for full class descriptions and program access. Interested artists and participants please contact Kim at ahartlarks@gmail.com.

Loneliness and social isolation experienced by older adults were exacerbated by the pandemic and have been identified as being significantly detrimental to their wellbeing. Other factors such as health challenges, transportation challenges and social challenges also contribute to the loneliness and/or isolation of many older adults. In recognizing the negative health impacts caused by loneliness and social isolation, the UK is making impressive efforts to combat these. They claim that older people living alone are more likely to access emergency services and to have more family doctor visits each year. The negative health impacts are well summarized by the UK Campaign to End Loneliness: https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/health-impact/, a campaign that recommends both the arts and virtual programs as ways to ameliorate these issues.

Recognizing that these health impacts aren’t unique to the UK, AHA! created Art Larks!, a virtual program available to seniors across the province, coordinated in its first two years by Rachel Power and facilitated by several professional Nova Scotian artists, art therapists and music therapists. Art Larks! offers participants a connection to artists, to other participants and to a community. It is available live (online) Monday to Friday with 2 sessions daily in music, dance, visual art, laughter yoga, seasonal celebrations, collaging, cooking, creative writing, poetry, and storytelling, depending on artist availability.

2022-2023 poster

Art Larks! has proven to be a lifeline for participants in the past two years; they have made new friends and enjoyed socializing, laughing, story-sharing and learning new art forms. Participants consistently reported that “these sessions are fantastic” and “this is so much fun”. For participants living with dementia, feedback from caregivers was: “it lifts her out of her sadness and engages her” and “this brightens her day”. Caregivers were also grateful that the programs gave them a much-needed break, knowing their loved one was “thoroughly enjoying” herself. Feedback from artists included, “It has been incredibly meaningful for participants to forge relationships and connect through the arts” and “I think…Art Larks! is having a hugely positive impact on those who attend”.

A brief promotional video created by Corinne Dunphy for the 2022-2023 program is available on YouTube:

We look forward to creating art with many more of the province’s seniors this fall. Hope you can join us!

AHA! Connects will be taking a wee break on September 15, and will resume in October.