Mary Crescenzo

Mary Crescenzo
West Hills, CA
Creative Non-Fiction, Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Acting, Choral/Vocal Music, Dance/Movement, Improvisation, Storytelling, Drawing, Media Arts
Adult Day Care, After School Program, Assisted Living, College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library, Senior Center

I am an original Lifetime Arts roster member with decades as a teaching artist specializing in arts with older adults (well, frail, and Alzheimer’s populations). When an older adult quality arts program includes skill building, social engagement, mobility and skill sustainability, the result is one of joy, accomplishment, satisfaction and community among participants. My mission to bring art to unlikely places while incorporating an intergenerational/interdisciplinary approach when possible includes expertise in literary, theatre, visual, and choral performing arts. The ability to teach older adults should not only come from a passion and proficiency in one’s discipline, but from knowledge and understanding of, and commitment to the process and methods proven for success with this population. I have worked with older adults (as well as all ages) within a wide range of socio-economic, cultural, and special needs backgrounds. My BA in arts education (Lehman College, CUNY), MLS (OU), and graduate studies in Art Therapy (CNR) inform my work as a teaching artist as well as professional writer, poet, playwright, director, singer and movement/performance artist. My first experience working with the arts and older adults was as a teenager at a nursing home. It is my honor to participate in Lifetime Arts’ mission and proud to be a part of its teaching artist roster. I have also had the privilege to be a speaker and workshop leader at Lifetime Arts symposiums, as well as curriculum developer and professional development lecturer for this organization.

Unfortunately, at first glance in our communities, older adults are either invisible to others as vital persons with experience and stories to tell along with a creative spirit (they are just seen as old), or they are seen as a group that can't or doesn't want to make art. In contrast, whether a person of low or high income, of special needs, or well or frail, I have found my way to create and implement arts activities and discussions with much success in the community. And, in all these situations the inspiration and learning goes both ways. I have always come away, humbled by my own confirmation of how art is accessible to all if the door is just opened for the taking and the making. I can tailor programs to your needs. Here are a sample of my programs: Monologue Memoirs: From Page to Stage - Writing About Our Lives and Sharing Who We Are; The Art of Acting: Preparing and Presenting a Dramatic Staged Reading of a Play; Write On…! Writing the Personal Essay: Expressing Yourself about You and the World Around You; Everything Old is New Again! Let's Sing the Songs of the Past and Present; For Women Only! The Family of Women: A Creative Writing Adventure into the Journey of Women's Lives; For Men Only! Writing about Women, Sports and War and More through Fiction, Essay, Poetry, and Letter form.