The Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC) program is once again open in senior centers. The program offers residencies for artists at senior centers, where they create art projects and cultural programs. The artists are given studio space and a stipend in exchange for participating in the program.
This year, nine senior centers in the Bronx alone will be participating. A total of fifty residencies are being offered throughout the city. Programs are varied among the arts—painting, writing, sculpture, dance, and theater are all available. SPARC gives seniors an opportunity to participate and enjoy physical and mental activity.
SPARC is up and running with the recent announcement by the city Department for the Aging of $200,000 in funding. The program is put on through a collaborative effort of the city Department of Cultural Affairs, the city Department for the Aging, and borough local arts councils. Its aim is to create a more livable environment for seniors in NYC.
With a growing elderly population in the city, the program offers a chance for artists to create a larger portfolio of skills and work, and for both participants and artists to work together creating art while building positive, new relationships with each other.
Last year, SPARC was a success, with fifty artists participating in a total of 44 senior centers. The announcement of the renewed funding to continue the program received an incredible amount of positive feedback. Hopefully, the program will continue to grow and expand in the coming years, keeping art alive in the senior community and allowing seniors and artists to work together.