Aroha and Taller’s ‘Artful Aging’ Program Enters a New Phase


Taller Offers Art Classes to Area Seniors

8/1/2017, PHILADELPHIA, PA — Funding from Aroha Philanthropies has enabled Taller Puertorriqueño to offer classes in the visual and performing arts to older adults in Philadelphia-area community centers. After the successful completion of the first phase of the program, Taller is embarking on the next phase, which will bring classes in quilting, theater, and dance to seniors at Lutheran Settlement House, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, and Northeast Older Adult Center. The classes began on July 28 and will run through October 20. The culminating event will take place on October 27 from 10–11:30 am at Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazón Cultural Center.

Aroha began its “Seeding Artful Aging” initiative with the intention of “…demonstrat[ing] the potential impact of [arts education] programs for older adults, arts organizations, senior service providers, senior residential communities, and diverse groups everywhere.” Taller’s contribution to Aroha’s initiative focuses on the perspective of immigrant cultures, under the title, “Imagine the Possibilities–Journeys to Philadelphia: From There to Here.” This year’s project aims to inspire seniors to continue their engagement with the arts long after the Aroha grant period.

At Lutheran Settlement House, textile/fiber artist Betty Leacraft will lead interactive quilting and fabric design workshops, helping seniors use quilts to express themselves, tell their stories, and connect with one another and their community through the textile medium. Leacraft is an award-winning artist whose work has been shown nationally and internationally. Seasoned theater director and actor Tanaquil Márquez will guide a group of seniors at Congreso de Latinos Unidos through the process of producing a play, including script writing, scene direction, props, and sets. Finally, choreographer and dancer Christina Castro-Tauser will teach traditional Latino dances like merengue, salsa, and cumbia to a group of seniors from the Northeast Older Adult Center, and will choreograph a performance for the culminating event that will take place on October 27. All participants in “Imagine the Possibilities” will be invited to this culminating event, which will include a display of quilts, as well as theater and dance performances.

Aroha began the “Seeding Vitality Arts” initiative in the spring of 2016. From an applicant pool of over 200 arts and social services organizations, Aroha selected Taller as one of the 15 organizations in the inaugural cohort. Aroha hopes to continue this initiative in the future, expanding the opportunity to more nonprofits around the US.

About Aroha Philanthropies

Aroha Philanthropies is devoted to the transformative power of the arts and creativity, inspiring vitality in those over 55, joy in children and youth, and humanity in adults with mental illness. We believe that learning, making, and sharing art enriches everyone throughout their lifetime.

Aroha works to improve the quality of life of people 55+ by encouraging the funding, development, and proliferation of arts programs designed to enhance longer lives, and by advancing the development of professional teaching artists working with those in their encore years.

About Taller Puertorriqueño

Taller Puertorriqueño (Taller) is a community based cultural organization whose primary purpose is to preserve, develop and promote Puerto Rican arts and culture, grounded in the conviction that embracing one’s cultural heritage is central to community empowerment. Taller is also committed to the representation and support of other Latino cultural expressions and common roots.