Leading arts venue, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), is pioneering creative programmes designed to empower the older generation to share their stories and feel both seen and heard. MAC will be hosting a number of artistic events throughout September, October, and beyond, focused on helping to reconnect over 65s through art and community spirit after a year of loss and loneliness.
MAC’s monthly arts club for over 65s, Culture Club, offers seniors across the Midlands the chance to engage with a variety of art forms: from theatrical performances and carefully crafted exhibitions; through to hands-on workshops and expert-led classes. Alongside practical artistic opportunities, MAC has also provided a number of opportunities for older people to be personally involved in the programme – from helping to curate a major exhibition, to being part of a theatrical installation. Each activity aims to help combat feelings of isolation and improve wellbeing for a generation where many have found themselves shielding for months.
In autumn, events will include the eagerly-anticipated theatre performance, Little Earthquake – The Stolen Year from 23 – 28 September; an immersive experience that focuses on older people and their stories from the pandemic. It will be based on interviews with older people to shed light on the unique journey that the over 65s have had and the experiences that they have lost, in a way that is designed to be relatable, cathartic, humorous and moving.
Alongside the production MAC will present two exhibitions. The Butterfly Effect exhibition, which launched at MAC on 26 September, has been co-curated with members of the MAC’s Culture Club themselves. Opening the discussion of artwork that exhibits change in an often-complex world, the exhibition brings together renowned artworks chosen by the members, including favourite artworks from museums and places they’d visited with during day trips with the community across the region.
Nilupa Yasmin’s solo exhibition তেরা Tera- A Star, also launched on 26 September. Yasmin’s exhibition follows several Culture Club weaving workshops held throughout 2020 and 2021 led by the artist, which offered talks and an introduction to weaving and craft, demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of art and the social element it can offer.
Nilupa Yasmin, comments:
“As a proud ambassador for my hometown Birmingham, it is both tremendously exciting and a huge honour to be bringing my brand-new exhibition and my events to the MAC. Art for me has always been therapeutic, and I can’t wait to help others in the community to unlock its benefits for their own journey of healing.
“It’s been great to be part of the MAC Culture Club and to help elderly people foster that sense of togetherness both during and after lockdown. I hope that everyone is able to enjoy my latest installation, and that it inspires all to connect with art.”
Deborah Kermode, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at MAC, comments:
“At MAC, inspiring community spirit sits at the heart of all that do, and our Culture Club is the prime example of that. Art has such an important role in encouraging connectivity, compassion, and creativity, and the impact that this has on wellbeing is undeniable, particularly for those in our older communities. We find that many, especially since COVID-19, have felt lonely and detached, so we are so proud that MAC can offer a safe space for people to connect with others and art.”