Urban Art Workshop for Seniors
a project by WOOL | Lara Seixo Rodrigues

Scientific developments and the democratization of access to health services in the last half-century have brought, among other things, the increase in average life expectancy. In any country considered developed, we know that we won't be so easily struck down by diseases like our ancestors. Thus, there is in each of us the clear notion that we have a fair amount of years to live, and this is, in fact, an admirable achievement of mankind, gained in a very short time of History.

But, as it is well known, quantity is not quality. And quantity without quality is just a big curse. As a society we are still trying to learn how to approach these recently won extra years, which we call “third age”.

In Europe, a relatively small territory there are many countries and many cities where the population ageing phenomenon is easily detectable. In the squares and gardens of the cities we see fewer and fewer baby strollers and more and more groups of retired people whose lives were not dynamically reworded.

With these certainties lived in our daily lives, we have been observing also, in every new intervention conducted by WOOL – Covilhã Urban Art Festival, the simplicity and ease with which urban art reached the most varied age groups, particularly the 'resident' older people in our areas of action.

These were and are the ones who always become our companions and spectators at all hours. Daily we watch day and night pilgrimages of senior citizens who get out of their homes, not to go to the usual mass or card game, but to follow every detail of the paintings. We heard a thousand stories on what it could be appearing on the walls and it moved us hearing things like “today I feel more safe with the image of the shepherd, who accompanies me everyday at the window”.

OBJECTIVES |

LATA 65-Urban Art workshop for seniors, has emerged as a challenge to take this interest shown by urban art beyond, with objective intentions:

 - to prove that concepts such as ACTIVE AGEING and intergenerational solidarity make more sense every day;

 - to demonstrate that Urban Art has the POWER TO FOMENT, TO PROMOTE AND TO VALUE the DEMOCRATIZATION OF the ACCESS to the Contemporary ART;

 - to bring the less young closer to a form of artistic expression usually associated with younger ones;

- to demonstrate that age is just a number.

FORMAT |

The template designed to 'verify these intentions' was simple: join small groups of people who have passed the age of retirement and assisted by urban artists, in a relaxed environment, they are taught about the history of Graffiti and Urban Art, various 'technical terms', and techniques to work in the street and finally, go outside to share with the world their ideas on a city wall.

These two components, theory and practice, are required in every new theme or technique of urban intervention under analysis, in order to achieve one of the primary objectives of this workshop, the recognition 'of what you see on the streets' and how it is done.

LATA 65 | day 01

module 01 | historical context 

images from the 1st workshop

2012. november

LATA 65 | day 02

module 02 | tag

images from the 1st workshop

2012. november

LATA 65 | day 03

module 03 | stencil 

images from the 1st workshop

2012. november

LATA 65 | day 04

module 04 | mural

images from the 1st workshop

2012. november

LATA 65 @ walk&talk | day 01

module 01 | historical context

module 02 | tag

images from the 3rd workshop

2014. july

LATA 65 @ walk&talk | day 02

module 03 | stencil

module 04 | mural

images from the 3rd workshop

2014. july

LATA 65 @ OPLX | day 01

module 01 | historical context

module 02 | tag

images from the 4th workshop

2015. january

LATA 65 @ OPLX | day 02

module 03 | stencil

module 04 | mural

images from the 4th workshop

2015. january

In all actions taken, the enthusiasm shown by the students was enormous, seeming that this project, of real collaboration and sharing, wakes up a forgotten creative spirit, and above all, brings the feeling of pure fun, which is essential in any age.

But to vouch for these ideas, we present some first-person TESTIMONIALS |

 “… it is an innovative way to show society that the elderly are not to be put aside. ”, Dr. Isabel Brito (Technical Director of CSPA)

 “… they come with a young spirit that fascinates me…”, Dr. Isabel Brito (Technical Director of CSPA)

 “… extremely motivated. ”, Dr. Isabel Brito (Technical Director of CSPA)

 “... now I look at the walls with different eyes, I know what's in front of me on the street.”, D. Lurdes aka Armando 

“… while I'm here, I don't think about the hours and days left until I die. ”, Mr. Manuel aka Balé

 “… I found something to live for…” , Luísa Cortesão

CONFIRMATIONS |

 - it is possible and DESIRABLE to AWAKEN, MOTIVATE and EXCITE the elderly through Urban Art;

 - it is desirable to present to these generations NEW ACTIVITIES, NEW TECHNIQUES associated with youth, as a way to escape and to break routines, GENERATING QUALITY, JOVIALITY and WELL-BEING in their lives.

Credits: Story

Background photo — by Rui Soares
Credits photos — WOOL | Covilhã Urban Art Festival

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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