Arts & Minds Symposium

The Syracuse Jewish Family Service (SJFS) and IMPARA: Institute at Menorah Park for Applied Research on Aging (IMPARA) ,in October, 2018, invited all older adults, family care givers, and aging services and healthcare professionals to this two-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 "My Annie Hall" and “A Reason to Get Up in the Morning: Creative Self Expression and Wellbeing in Later Life” was be held respectively from 5:30 - 8pm on Tuesday, October 30th and 9 am to 5 pm on October 31, 2018 at Menorah Park in Syracuse, New York.

Attendees were invited to "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! Registration is limited... click here to register on Eventbrite.

My Annie Hall

Join us October 30th in experiencing a re-boot of the classic film by Woody Allen, starring older adults from the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House on Manhattan’s Upper West Side conceived and directed by artists Ellie Sachs and Matt Starr. The light deli supper, film screening and directors presentation will offer a captivating – and hilarious – illustration of what happens when we offer older adults the chance to engage their creative selves. For tickets click here.

The all-day program "A Reason to Get Up in the Morning: Creative Self Expression and Wellbeing in Later Life on October 31 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*

* 1.5 LMHC CEU credits


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 learned:

  • 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 reviewed 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 explored 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 focused 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 gave an 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 gained 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 guided attendees 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

Gary Glazner is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, (APP). The APP was the recipient of the 2013, Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award and the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award. The National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a “best practice.” NBC's “Today” show, PBS NewsHour and NPR's “All Things considered” have featured segments on Glazner’s work. Glazner is the author of Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care. In 2014, Glazner began working in the Arts and Corrections field with his Poetry and Improv program, at the Unit for the Cognitively Impaired, at Fishkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York. In 2016, Glazner designed and co-taught “Creativity in Elder Care,” for the University of Arizona Medical School. In 2016, with support from the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, Glazner launched “Poetry for Life,” an intergenerational program that brings students of all ages together with people living with memory loss to perform and create poetry. The APP has provided programming in 32 states and internationally in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Poland and South Korea.

Don Carr is a professor of design in the Syracuse University School of Design. He currently serves as the coordinator of the MFA in design as well as the industrial and interaction design program. He also serves on the DCC (Disability and Cultural Center) Advisory board, the Blackstone Launchpad e-roundtable and is an affiliate faculty member of the Aging Studies Institute. Don is also a founding member of the Adaptive Design Association Syracuse and co-founder of the Central New York Biomimicry regional network.

Don has taught numerous classes in Design Thinking and how this process can be applied to helping interdisciplinary groups achieve innovative design solutions.

Barbara Baum is a self taught portrait painter who enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for art with others. For several years now she has met with seniors at the Oaks of DeWitt to look at pictures. She likes nothing better than to project a painted image onto a screen to encourage a lively discussion of observations, leading to enjoyment and appreciation. Using her background in Education, she has been facilitating “paint parties” around our community where the goal is for everyone to have fun playing with paint and participants leave with a canvas they can be proud of.

Gloria Heffernan’s upcoming poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, will be published by New York Quarterly Books in 2019. Her chapbook, Some of Our Parts, was published by last spring by Finishing Line Press. In addition, her work has appeared in over fifty journals including Anchor, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Stone Canoe, Main Street Rag, Columbia Review, Louisville Review, and The Healing Muse. Gloria is an adjunct instructor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, and holds a Master's Degree from New York University. She teaches a workshop entitled “Poetry as a Spiritual Practice” at Trinity Episcopal Church, Menorah Park, and Fayetteville Senior Center.

Jason T. Duffy, PhD, LMHC, NCC, ACS is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Assistant Professor at a leading CACREP-accredited institution who conducted his dissertation on this topic as well as two additional studies. In addition to conducting research, presenting, and publishing in leading journals on the use of metaphor in the context of the counselor training and the transition from counselor to counselor supervisor, he has also published an article outlining a novel approach to counseling using metaphoric stories with clients experiencing significant life transitions. The presenter has presented many times on constructive approaches to counseling, counselor education, and counselor supervision and utilizes these approaches in his private counseling practice, teaching, and supervisory activities. The presenter has counseling experience in both clinical mental health (currently has a private practice in Rochester, NY) and school counseling. Prior to embarking on his journey as a counselor and counselor educator, the presenter was a high school English teacher and administrator for over a decade.

Maggid Jim Brulé is a transformational storyteller whose career has spanned multiple worlds: he has worked as a family therapist, computer scientist, entrepreneur, and specialist in healthcare regulations. He received s’micha (ordination) as a Maggid – a Jewish spiritual storyteller -- nearly a decade ago, and now brings his stories and guidance to both secular and spiritual communities. He teaches transformational storytelling online and in person, working with groups, individuals, and organizations. His online school is entering its third year, and his podcast - - provides listeners with a chance to hear storytellers from around the world tell their stories and share their craft.

Jimbo Talbot founded DrumQuest to provide programs where individuals develop and flex creative muscles through fun rhythm-music play, become more consciously aware of their bodies, minds and spirits to heal and deepen awareness of connections to others through spontaenous community. With over thirty years experience as musician, percussionist and group facilitator, he supports intentional communities in discovering their rich resources, redefining themselves and focus through increased listening, communication, empowerment, leadership, physical activity and creative play skills. He has taught and performed extensively for older adults in social, residential and learning communities for the past fifteen years. Medical studies reveal regular drumming sessions and music play support individuals with improving fine-motor skills and coordination, gaining mental clarity and focus, letting go mind chatter to experience relaxation, relieve stress and chronic pain, increase brain function and immunity which help in the anti-aging process. He provides special populations, including autism, downs syndrome, sight/hearing impaired, learning disability communities w/ compassionate, focused play increasing social and thinking skills, as well as supporting caregivers w/tools for compassionate play. His sound healings ellicit deep relaxation and mindful practice. Email: or go to

Megan Perioli is the owner of Move With Me, LLC a Mental Health Counseling and Dance/Movement Therapy practice in Syracuse New York. As a Dance Therapist and Mental Health Counselor she uses breath and movement to help clients connect their bodies and minds, thus deepening their sense of clarity, understanding, focus, balance, and connection to their own internal wisdom. The body/mind connection is key to living whole, healthy lives, connected to oneself and others, in alignment with your individual truth and purpose. Megan specializes in Dance/Movement Therapy in eldercare, having offered drop in sessions to more than 20 senior living communities over the past 8 years. Through her private practice she is able to bring the body/mind connection to even more populations including those suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and phase of life issues.

Melissa Luke, PhD, is the Associate Dean for research in the School of Education and a Dean’s professor in the department of Counseling & Human Services at Syracuse University, where she also coordinates the doctoral program in Counseling and Counselor Education. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the State of New York. Dr. Luke is a fellow in both the American Counseling Association and the Association for Specialists in Group Work. She is currently serving as President of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) and serves as the Editor of the Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy. Dr. Luke’s research focuses on counselor preparation and practice to more effectively respond to the needs of underserved persons, with a focus on the use of expressive modalities such as sandtray. Dr. Luke maintains a small private practice in the community.

Click here to register.

Thank you to our sponsors...

Health Foundation for Western & Central New York

Health Direct, WRVO Public Media

Employee Benefit Systems, National Grid, Pomeranz,Shankman & Martin Trusts, Sodexo

SU Aging Studies Institute, Jewish Home Foundation, MatrixCare, Upstate Printing

Miller Agency of New York, Inc., The Michalak Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisers, Marilyn Pinsky, Wegmans

Upcoming Events

Center for Healthy Living/OASIS classes

Enroll through Syracuse OASIS at
o Sundays, 1/19; 2/16; 3/22; and 4/26, from 3pm - 5:30pm: “Views on Aging: Through the Movie Lens”, with SJFS Director Judith Huober, MS

o Wednesdays, 226-4/1, from 1:30pm - 3:00pm, “Zen and the Art of Graceful Aging” with Peg Miller, LMSW (at Fayetteville Library)

o Tuesday, 1/28 from 3:30pm - 4:30pm, “A Taste of Mind Aerobics” with Ellen Somers, LMHC (free)
o Tues-Thurs, 2/25-5/14, 3:30pm - 5:00pm, "Mind AerobicsTM: Mind Sharpener with Ellen Somers. Pre-screening required; contact Ellen at 315-446-9111, x225

New! M-Power U Now Enrolling for Parkinson's Community

Enrolling now: M-Power U — A Learning Community for Early Memory Loss: A Parkinson's Community, on Tuesdays from 9:30am to 1:30pm at Menorah Park. Launching in January 2020. Contact SJFS Assistant Director Ellen Somers at x. 225 to make an appointment for screening and information!

Syracuse Jewish Family Service...

Building Well-Being in Central New York

For Generations Past, Present and Future