Eastside Friendship Center artist in a workshop led by Holly Nelson

Eastside Friendship Center artist in a workshop led by Holly Nelson

Recent grant project: Naming the Artist Within

(January through November, 2017)

Through previous initiatives, we worked with teaching artists in storytelling, dance, puppetry, music, visual art, theater, and videography to share skills and deepen the impact of arts experiences, discovering, along the way, the power of layering creative modalities—what we call the “multimodal” approach.

Thanks to a $10,000 Arts Activities grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, our multimodal project, "Naming the Artist Within," dove deeper into the pool of memory and association, connecting text with image, poets with visual artists, and elders with each other and their communities at Southwest Senior Center, Heritage Park Senior Services Center, Eastside Neighborhood Services’ Friendship Center, and Park Elder Center's Hmong DayElders Program. 

Workshops specially designed for older adults, led by visual artists Michèle Coppin and Holly Nelson, and APP-MN poets Zoë Bird, Diane Jarvenpa, Julie Landsman, and Rachel Moritz, encouraged exploration in and actual synthesis of the two art forms, allowing important themes and intimacy within groups to develop over time as participants created their own original visual art and responded to the art by creating poetry, and vice versa.

Our goal was for participants to enjoy and learn visual art and spoken word techniques, feel a sense of mastery over artistic processes, share stories, learn about each other, and surprise themselves and their communities with what they are capable of. We feel we met this goal, and that the project advanced APP-MN's mission by helping us bring engaging, inclusive poetry and visual arts programming to low-income elders who have few opportunities to learn about or make art, encouraging new connections not just between text and image, but also between parts of the brain, between people, and between generations.

At a time in life when older adults generally experience loss after loss, programming in creative engagement introduces new means of self-expression, and new possibilities for elders’ sense of identity within the community as artists, with an extraordinary creative capacity and so much to offer.

A thousand thanks to our many generous friends and supporters for their contributions to this project, which provided the vital matching funds that enabled us to deliver this programming to approximately 125 elders and adult day center staff and volunteers. 

If you'd like to donate toward more such programming for elders in Minnesota, please visit APP-MN's GiveMN page.

 THANK YOU for your invaluable support! 


current and ongoing residencies

Heritage Park Senior Services Center, Minneapolis, MN, 2013—15, present

Wilder Center for Aging, St. Paul, MN, 2012–present

Cerenity Humboldt, West St. Paul, MN, 2015—present

Ravoux Hi-Rise, St. Paul, MN, 2014, 2016—present


on the docket

Avinity, Richfield, MN, 2018


workshop and residency archive

Johanna Shores, Arden Hills, MN, 2017

Lake Fellowship, Excelsior, MN, 2017

McKenna Crossing, Prior Lake, MN, 2017

Park Elder Center Hmong DayElders Program, Minneapolis, MN, 2017

Eastside Neighborhood Services Friendship Center, Minneapolis, MN, 2013, 2014, 2017                       

Southwest Senior Center, Minneapolis, MN, 2013, 2014, 2017

Lyngblomsten, St. Paul, MN, 2016—17

Red Rock Senior Living, Woodbury, MN, 2016—17

Ecumen Parmly, Chisago Lakes, 2016

Shakopee Women's Prison, Shakopee, MN, 2016

Pilgrim House, Arden Hills, MN, 2015

Belle Plaine Lutheran Home, Belle Plaine, MN, 2015

Minnesota Jewish Theatre, St. Paul, MN, 2015

Redeemer Rehab, Minneapolis, MN, 2015

Ebenezer Loren on Park, Minneapolis, MN, 2015

Ebenezer Ridges, Burnsville, MN, 2012–15

Martin Luther Care Center, Bloomington, MN, 2013—15

Augustana Apartments, Minneapolis, MN, 2014—15

St. Paul Jewish Community Center, St. Paul, MN, 2013—14

Ecumen Lakeshore, Duluth, MN, 2014

Marshall High School, Duluth, MN, 2014

Ebenezer Minneapolis Adult Day Program, Minneapolis, MN, 2013                                     

Dragonfly Elementary School, Santa Fe, NM, 2008–2010                                                                                                          

Open Hands Adult Day Program, Santa Fe, NM, 2006–10                                                                   

Sierra Vista Retirement Community, Santa Fe, NM, 2006–10   



training and speaking archive

Augsburg College MFA Community Writing Panel, Minneapolis, MN, 2017

Weisman Art Museum Docent Training, St. Paul, MN, 2017

Rural Arts and Culture Summit, Morris, MN, 2017

Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conference, St. Paul, MN, 2017

Act on Alzheimer’s Training, Marshall, MN, 2016

Ebenezer Arts Activities Retreat, Bloomington, MN, 2015

Presbyterian Homes Annual Retreat, Roseville, MN, 2015

Minnesota Statewide Activity Professionals Spring Seminar, St. Cloud, MN, 2015

James J. Hill House, St. Paul, MN 2015

Midwest Arts & Aging Conference, St. Paul, MN 2013—2015

Minnesota Association of Senior Services Conference, Wellstone Center, St. Paul, MN, 2015

Arts and Aging Workshop, Rochester Arts Center, Rochester, MN, 2015

Arts and Aging Workshop, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND, 2015

Regional Arts and Healthcare Symposium, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 2014

The Loft Literary Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, 2014

Heritage Park Senior Services Center, Minneapolis, MN, 2013—2014