Court’s recent collaboration with For You and the University of Chicago Experimental Performance Initiative on Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift initiative connected ten artists with ten elders in Chicago. To break up the monotony and loneliness of isolation, these two communities met in virtual space to share a gift. This gift includes bonding over a creative activity, so the artist or elder often creates a physical item and promises to send it to the other or offers to perform for their partner via Zoom.
The interactions demonstrate the fulfilling outlet that creativity provides in distressing times and the power of the theatre to connect people across generations and locations. Pairing out-of-work artists with elders in quarantine provided a glimpse into how interpersonal and community connections can still be nourished even when necessary isolation challenges traditional methods of such connection. This heartwarming endeavor reflected the power of artistic exchange in practice and provoked new questions into how we can re-approach building meaningful connections with the surrounding communities during such difficult times.
As many speakers will surely testify in our upcoming December 10 virtual conversation about the initiative, this creative community outreach effort was fulfilling for all involved, providing well-needed creative sustenance and social interaction while facing the uncertainties of a pandemic. The virtual event during which participants will reflect on the program will be free to all. Click here to register for the event.
Viewers interested in seeing the different elements of Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift can also witness heartwarming encounters between the artists and elders that culminate in one final creative product in our digital gallery. Audiences can find a brief video clip documenting one snippet of the participants’ Zoom conversation, then a showcase of the process behind creating the gift, and finally the full display of the final gift and its virtual delivery. As you will see in their conversations and in the final gifts given, participants’ stories and voices meet in one memorable moment of creative exchange that is a testament to the power of creativity in connecting people no matter where they are.