Exhibition Celebrates Professional Artists 63-100 In Saving Their Legacies

Sep 04, 2013, 13:41 ET from National Center for Creative Aging

"Never before could we have imagined a structured project that would involve helping me in my life's work." Carmen Torruella-Quander, ART CART artist

"A transformative experience, one that I will cherish and reflect on for the rest of my own life." Sarah Durkee, ART CART Fellow

NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a society that runs on consumption, exalts reality shows on hoarders, and entices people to bring the junk from their basement to find it appraised at thousands of dollars, it's difficult to know what to preserve. Vital works of art, and the creative histories that comprise an important component of American cultural heritage, are imperiled by the lack of a functional, sustainable model for documentation and preservation. Couple this situation with the fact that in 2013, the concept of retirement is undergoing a serious re-evaluation, partly for economic reasons, and that more people are now living (and accumulating) into their 80s, 90s and beyond –sometimes in better health – than at any other time in history. Artists, however, don't retire.

ART CART: CHERISHING THE LEGACY is the culminating exhibition of a project documenting the work of older artists while giving students in the arts, health, and aging an unparalleled learning experience.  Created by the Research Center for Arts and Culture at the National Center for Creative Aging, the two-site exhibition features ten New York City artists and nine Washington DC artists ages 63-100 whose media include drawing, painting, quilting, installation art, photography and sculpture. They represent a living history of America – from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to the Civil Rights Movement to the Women's movement. Matched with a documentation partner and two student fellows to organize, label and document their work, their records are then archived at Columbia University's open source archive, Academic Commons.

The exhibition will open September 5 at New York University's Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, and run until October 20, and September 11 in Washington DC at the Corcoran's Gallery 31 until September 29. The exhibitions will include some of the work the artists, their working partners and student fellows documented in the last year, a composite of their oral histories and the launch of a new documentary, "Living the Legacy." 

The project, ART CART: SAVING THE LEGACY, grew from research conducted by the Research Center for Arts and Culture at the National Center for Creative Aging. Above Ground revealed that artists are in many respects a model for society, maintaining strong social networks and an astonishing resilience as they age. Yet 61% of professional visual artists age 62+ have made no preparation for their work after their death; 95% have not archived their work; 97% have no estate plan; three out of every four artists have no will and one in five has no documentation of work at all.

This celebration of the resilience and tenacity of people who have spent a lifetime making art is a testament to creative aging and learning through the lifespan.

The Research Center for Arts and Culture at the National Center for Creative Aging, founded at Columbia University, provides data and information in service of artists and the arts. It has examined the condition and situation of living artists for almost three decades. www.creativeaging.org/rcac; www.creativeaging.org/artcart

SOURCE National Center for Creative Aging