Sunday, February 20, 2011
Creativity and Aging
My Wife Elizabeth is both a very intelligent and creative person. For one thing she already has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Now, at age 61 she is in her third year in moving toward achieving a BA degree in fine arts, has a blog wiredliz.blogspot.com and has also been exploring the idea of getting a Masters Degree. Every room in our house is decorated with paintings done with oil, acrylic or watercolor. She has also created several digital art projects.
So I thought it might be interesting to explore the relationship between aging and creativity. The designation of creativity can be both ambiguous and confusing. Some distinguish between the exceptional creativity like Picasso, who remained painting into his 90s, and ordinary creativity that not only works in formal art projects but also manifests itself in everyday activities. For ordinary persons it is thought that artistic skill declines with age as they become more passive and unlikely to use their talent.
One of the negative factors in understanding these views is ageism, which tends to see older persons as passive and less exciting. The opposite of that is being creative not only helps the brain stay focused it helps older artists maintain a sense of self esteem. Creativity also contributes to successful aging by helping older persons use their sense of competence in problem solving and practical creativity that helps them to manage their ordinary lives. In summary, artistic creativity not only helps individual artists, it helps us all.