June 25, 2011 to July 16, 2011 - 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM


The Artists of SAGE Upstate – Opening Reception, Saturday, June 25 from 4-6pm.

This exhibition features the work of aging lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) artists with pieces reflecting feelings about aging. The artists are participants in the Art of Aging, a program of SAGE Upstate, a non-profit serving aging LGBT people in Central New York. Participants in the program learned or honed skills in three creative arts: photography, creative writing, and pastels. Art of Aging was made possible by a grant from the Gifford Foundation.

“Dessert First” by Joe Leonard

Participants learned about photography from Harry Freeman Jones, local artist and veteran LGBT activist for the past four decades. Playwright Kyle Bass, Resident Dramaturg at Syracuse Stage and two-time New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellow led the course in creative writing. The course in pastels was taught by Wendy Harris, award winning and collected artist whose work has been shown throughout Central New York.

“Untitled” by Patty Agne

Research has shown that social interaction promotes both physical and cognitive health in older populations, as well as quality of life and longevity. Studies also show similar benefits for creative arts pursuits. Learning to conceive and execute works in pastels, photographs or stories can stimulate brain functioning, improve emotional functioning, provide a new venue for self-expression, and promote self-esteem.

Mary Gillen (l) and Sandy Davis (r) – Creative Writing

In addition to the benefits creative arts provide to the participants, it is our hope that this exhibit will give visibility to aging LGBT people – a group that is often ignored in both aging services and LGBT agencies. The artists – both new and experienced – have something to say about the world they live in, and what it feels like to experience it as an older LGBT person.

Sage Upstate is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people in Central New York as they age. We do this by offering support, social programs, and education for health care providers and institutions about the needs of older LGBT people. Since LGBT seniors are more likely to live alone and less likely to have the support of children or other biological family members than other aging populations, Sage Upstate strives to provide opportunities for creating support networks through safe and affirming social activities. Finally, we collaborate with other organizations in a statewide network to better represent and serve LGBT individuals and families across the state.