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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Age, The Arts & Education: Historic Examples

By ANGELA WAMPLER | August 26, 2008

The art world offers prime examples of continuing creativity:

? Maya Angelou, at age 65, was asked to present her poem "The Rock Cries Out to Us Today" for President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration.

? "Grandma Moses" didn't begin a serious painting career until age 78. Her last great canvas, "Rainbow," was created at age 101.

? Sophocles, one of the great ancient Greek dramatists, wrote his noted play, Oedipus at Colonus, when he was 90.

? The Russian lyric poet and novelist Boris Pasternak wrote his first novel, Dr. Zhivago, at the age of 66.

? Playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote Back to Methuselah when he was 66, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature at 69. He was working on a comedy when he died at age 94.

? In The Mature Mind, Cohen writes, "Many marvel that Guiseppe Verdi was in his eightieth year when he composed his celebrated opera Falstaff....It turns out that Verdi had unfinished business that had gnawed at him for more than half a century. When he was twenty-five, Verdi composed a comic opera, Un Giorno di Regno (King for a Day)...[which] was received so poorly that it was canceled after one performance. The failure was especially crushing because Verdi had recently lost his wife and, a year earlier, his infant son. Verdi vowed never to write another opera, but...eventually wrote Nabucco, the success of which launched Verdi's decades-long career.... [Fifty-five years later, Verdi] decided it was time to try again. The result was Falstaff, one of the finest operas ever written."

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who are passionate about The Arts and education.

ALMA RIGBY, 73, can usually be found taking one of Virginia Intermont's classes for seniors: "I love to do things with young people."

-- JOAN HORSCH, 76, has participated in the Arts Array Film Discussions for 10 years: "The film discussions are really interesting because someone else always sees something you didn't see or has an extremely different impression of what the ending means."

REBECCA HARRINGTON, 64, has been swept away in The Barter Experience: "I almost didn't go see Dracula, thinking 'how many times do I need to see that production?' But I went to the theatre and I'm so glad I did."

CAROL BELL, 67,joins in discussions at SVHEC about women writers: "Some people mention other books. Everyone does away with news things to read and a new focus on the Appalachian region and the writers."

, 60, loves words so Improvisation & Creative Movement is right up her alley: "The class provides exercises not only for the body, but also for the mind and imagination."

SEAN O'SULLIVAN, 87, views the College for Older Adults as "a jewel in the mountains." He says, "It's like a social mixer, also. I've met people there that I would not have met otherwise."

PROGRAMS for older adults available in the region.

BACK to the main story: "The Arts & the Brains of Older Adults."