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Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1743-5234
  • E-ISSN: 2040-090X



The objective of this participant observation was to better understand how older adults respond to diverse art education curricula and self-directed learning. The study involved teaching a weekly two-hour art class of eight to ten adults at a low-income residential facility over a four-month period. Findings suggested that curricula should encompass the broad range of student backgrounds, levels of art expertise, and life experiences. Older adult participants were largely self-directed to varying degrees, depending on their art knowledge, media expertise, and confidence in the subject area. The instructor best served the older adult learner as a facilitator or resource for learning. It was important to build on what students wanted to learn and to introduce artists and styles that broadened their perspectives and inspired art-making. Not all students responded to planned curriculum, but themes with an enduring idea such as healing or ritual evoked stories and inspired meaningful art.


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  • Article Type: Article
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