A woman in an artist's apron looks at an array of black-and-white prints.

Creative Aging at Saltgrass Printmakers

Our agency has distributed funding to support creative aging initiatives. Here’s a highlight of Saltgrass Printmakers, one of our grantees through this project. We recently interviewed Stefanie Dykes, the host of a 10-person workshop at Saltgrass, to find out more. 

Q: Tell us a little about the project.

A: At Saltgrass Printmakers, the Creative Aging participants are learning how to build and print collagraph prints. 

Q: What are collagraph prints?

A: Collagraph prints were created from common materials found at a hardware store, in a junk drawer, or discovered during a walk. Students in this course will use various techniques to build textured surfaces with common materials. We explored form, texture, and composition, as well as developing a conceptual approach to our prints. Conceptually, students combined the idea of topophilia, or the “love of place,” with the physical attributes of collagraph printmaking to create what I am calling a “printscape.” W.H. Auden defined topophilia as “a landscape infused with a sense of history.” We spent time reflecting on our unique definitions of place. 

Q: What are some key takeaways?

A: Each participant brings their unique perspective and experience to this class! They are eager to learn and willing to discover new ways to translate their ideas into a new artist’s process. I love seeing how they learn to trust their instincts. Their energy and joy is infectious – in a good way!

From Tracy Hansford of our Creative Aging team: Our Creative Aging grants provide sequential learning opportunities. The participants learn a lifelong skill over the course of several weeks leading up to a cumulative event, such as a gallery showing, to showcase their new skills. The Creative Aging program is about combating isolation, socializing, learning together, and growing as individuals. 

More than half of the individuals who chose to participate in a Creative Aging program did so to meet new people and learn a new art form. And almost every individual felt the program they participated in helped them be more social and connected to a community. 

We received so many positive comments from those who participated in the classes hosted by various organizations across the state, including museums, art centers, and senior living facilities. We expected positive outcomes, but we were pleasantly surprised at how much people have enjoyed mastering a new art form and making friends in a creative learning environment.