Oct. 31: An Arts & Minds Symposium

“A Reason To Get Up In The Morning: Creative Self Expression And Wellbeing In Later Life”

The Syracuse Jewish Family Service (SJFS) and IMPARA: Institute at Menorah Park for Applied Research on Aging (IMPARA) invites all older adults, family care givers, and aging services and healthcare professionals to attend this one-day event inspiring us to reach for what it means to be alive and human at any age. This innovative and highly topical inaugural Arts & Minds Symposium “A Reason to Get Up in the Morning: Creative Self Expression and Wellbeing in Later Life” will be held from 9 am to 5 pm on October 31, 2018 at Menorah Park in Syracuse, New York.

Experience, understand, and learn to harness creative and expressive strategies that promote wellbeing in later life. A design thinking process will guide participants through an immersion into the transformative possibilities offered by creative and expressive arts and will provide insight into how and why these modalities influence wellbeing so powerfully in later life. The day will culminate with a conversation about collaborating to innovate creative self-expression programming in our community and our personal and professional lives.

Tickets on Sale now $59!    Registration is limited... click here to register on Eventbrite.

The Symposium will feature the following: 

Keynote by Gary Glazner, poet, author, and founder of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project: A Reason to get up in the morning: Creative self-expression and wellbeing in later life.

Professor Donald Carr of Syracuse University's School of Design will introduce the design thinking process that will guide the day and will facilitate the closing session on synthesis, visioning and beyond with design process.

Breakout sessions:

  • Gary Glazner will provide two sessions: Playing with Poetry; and Mixing Muses: Poetry, music, dance, drama and more with drumming by Jimbo Talbot, founder of DrumQuest
  • Dr. Melissa Luke, Dean’s Professor at Syracuse University: Meet me in the sand: Stories, drama and self-expression in sand tray work
  • Jim Brulé, CEO of Compass Narratives: Transformative storytelling
  • Gloria Heffernan, poet, author and poetry teacher: Poetry and the spirit, with rhythm accompaniment by Jimbo Talbot, founder of DrumQuest
  • Barbara Baum, artist, teacher and principal of Paint Partners: But what does it mean? Image and imagination in paint
  • Megan Perioli, LMHC, R-DMT and CEO/Owner of Move With Me, LLC and staff: Self portraits in becoming: Expressive movement with drumming by Jimbo Talbot, founder of DrumQuest
  • Jason Duffy, PhD, LMHC, Assistant Professor SUNY Oswego: It’s a metaphor, silly: Using change words to facilitate transitions


What is design thinking?

Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods.

Breakout session descriptions:

Gary Glazner, poet, author, and founder of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project – Poetry Party (with and without rhythm accompaniment by Jimbo Talbot of DrumQuest) Workshop attendees will learn:

  • How to structure an arts program for people living with memory loss.
  • How to perform and create new poetry with people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
  • Understand how to use art to engage people in group discussions that lead to the creation of new poetry, stories or songs.
  • The workshop participants will leave the workshop with increased knowledge of projection, articulation, pacing of the recitation, dynamics, and how to bring out the emotional content of
  • the poem.
  • Plan culminating events and poetry parties!

These skills form the core of good public speaking and build the participants confidence.

Dr. Melissa Luke, Dean’s Professor at Syracuse University: Meet me in the sand: Stories, drama and self-expression in sand tray work *CEUs available* This presentation will review the historical development and theoretical underpinnings of sandtray. The presenter will offer a critical examination of the use of sandtray with older adults. Both the benefits and challenges of use of sandtray with older adults will be explored. The presenter will demonstrate the use of sandtray for a variety of clinical and everyday purposes, and link the implementation of counseling skills across theoretical frames. Attendees will have an opportunity to experiment with a variety of modified applications of sandtray.

Barbara Baum, artist, teacher and principal of Paint Partners: But can you say it in color?Looking at art can be a journey of joy and inspiration for any age. We will explore some images together and then energized by this infusion of creativity and color we will make our own art. No experience or expertise is ever required to just play with paint and the adventure can often be insightful, exhilarating and a lot of fun.

Gloria Heffernan, poet, author and poetry teacher: Poetry and the spirit Breakout session descriptions:This workshop will focus on poetry as a pathway of spirituality with an equal emphasis on reading and writing poems. We will read several sample poems by both well-known poets and past workshop participants who have found their poetic voice later in life. If you have never written poetry, welcome! If you have been writing poems all your life, welcome! We all have stories to tell and this workshop is a place to explore them. The instructions for this workshop are simple and best expressed by the poet Mary Oliver in her three-line poem, "Instructions for Living a Life," Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Dr. Jason Duffy PhD, LMHC, Assistant Professor SUNY Oswego: The Power of Metaphor: Enhancing well being and self expression through story and language *CEUs available* This informative and experiential workshop will overview the use of metaphor in the helping professions and engage the attendee in various metaphor-based activities that can be used with older adults to assist them in enhancing self-expression and developing meaning during later life transitions.

Jim Brulé, CEO of Compass Narratives: Transformational storytellingAs humans, we are designed around stories: we learn best through hearing a story, we communicate most powerfully by telling a story, and in fact we view the world through stories we carry around with us, and those we create.

Transformational Storytelling is the art of telling stories that are intended to invite change: in the lives of the audience, in the life of the teller, and in the story itself. In this 90-minute session participants will gain a deeper appreciation of the neuroscience of storytelling and learn techniques which allow us to discover, craft, and tell transformational stories.

Megan Perioli, LMHC, R-DMT and CEO/Owner of Move With Me, LLC and staff: Self portraits in becoming: Expressive movement with drumming by Jimbo Talbot, founder of DrumQuest *CEUs available*Discovering Your Inner Play. Together, they will guide you on a journey of music and movement, play and imagination, using drums, props, and exercises meant to connect you to your child-like playfulness. The benefits of movement and music include but are not limited to:

- the ability to stay alert and oriented to the moment,

- improve brain function, concentration, and memory

- opportunities for personal expression, reminiscing, and humor

- decreases in tension, agitation, anxiety and isolation

- increased opportunity to exercise and reap the benefits of oxygenation and improved muscle tone in a relaxed and supportive environment

- improve circulation, lower stress and blood pressure, improve motor skills, relieve chronic pain, neutralize anxiety and calm nervous system, and increase immunity

- creative experiences triggering activity dependent genes, leading to feelings of well being, increased liveliness, joy, and verbalization

- creates spontaneous community, increases social networks, and provides a safe space for connections

- improves brain function, concentration, memory,

- calms mental chatter, develops mindfulness, gain mental clarity and peace of mind, increases self-acceptance

Presenter Biographies

Upcoming Events

Mind AerobicsTM

Contact Ellen Somers, SJFS Assistant Director, to learn about enrolling in these weekly classes. Mind AerobicsTM classes are organized by cognitive level and participants are grouped into classes based on their cognitive function. Each level has 24 one hour sessions over the course of 12 weeks taught by trained Mind AerobicsTM instructors.

Center for Healthy Living/OASIS classes

Register at Syracuse OASIS
o Thursdays, Sept 20-Nov 8, 1:00pm - 2:15pm, “Poetry as Spiritual Practice: An Intergenerational Women’s Experience” (women OASIS members and SU and LeMoyne students) with poet and poetry teacher Gloria Heffernan

o Sundays, 9/30, 10/21, 11/18, 12/16, from 3pm - 5:30pm: “Views on Aging: Through the Movie Lens”, with SJFS Director Judith Huober

o Tuesdays, Oct. 9-Nov. 13, from 2:30pm - 3:30pm, “Zen and the Art of Graceful Aging” with Peg Miller, LMSW

o Tuesdays, Oct. 9-Nov. 20 (no class Oct. 16), from 10am - 11:30am, “Lifelong Brain Health” with Ellen Somers, LMHC

M-Power U Now Enrolling for Arts and Minds Community

M-Power U — A Learning Community for Early Memory Loss: We are now  enrolling participants for a new section called An Arts and Minds Community on Fridays starting February 16 from 11:30am to 3:30pm at Menorah Park. Contact SJFS Assistant Director Ellen Somers at x. 225 to make an appointment for screening and information!

Learn More

Syracuse Jewish Family Service...

Building Well-Being in Central New York

For Generations Past, Present and Future