Older Americans Month

Marn Jensen, Untitled (I wish doctors would care . . . ), 2021; mixed media assemblage on paper, vintage photos, found objects, thread, 22 x 28 1/2 x 2 inches; Courtesy of the artist.

Every year, the U.S. Administration for Community Living takes the month of May to celebrate diverse aging experiences and combat misconceptions about elderly populations and their capacity for independence and engagement.

According to the 2020 Census, 16 percent of the United States population is comprised of people over the age of 65. By 2040, that number is expected to increase to 21.5 percent. As our loved ones age, it is important that we cherish the advice and stories they have to offer younger generations.

Our newest exhibition, Art of the Wish, is a poignant and memorable reflection of the beauty in generational storytelling.

In 2017, artists Marn Jensen and Andy Newcom spent six months traveling the country, talking to dozens of 80 to 100-plus-year-olds asking, “If you had a wish for the world, what would it be?”. They contacted senior living communities, visited hospices, and connected with caregivers to create artworks embodying each individual’s wish.



The works in Art of the Wish are composed of several mediums—from photography to sculpture, textile to encaustic, mixed media to painting—allowing the “wish” to inspire the direction of each piece. The artists are very intentional about the materials used, often incorporating repurposed, found objects that had once been discarded and tossed aside. They scoured thrift malls and flea markets to look for things that were discarded or had “vulnerability” because those characteristics applied to so many of the people they spoke with.

The artists’ “wish” is to inspire people to have a simple conversation with an older person because “it not only will make their day, it will make your day, too.”

Inspired by more than 250 wishes, Art of the Wish offers plenty of engaging intergenerational programming opportunities, creative reuse and hands-on “making” workshops, storytelling activities, and much more.

Above Images: Andy Newcom, Untitled (I wish women would educate themselves . . . ), 2022; 1800’s door mat/boot scraper, spun and dyed wool, jute cord, 70 x 19 1/2 x 3 inches; Courtesy of the artist.; Marn Jensen, Untitled (I wish everyone could know me . . . ), 2021; found vintage portrait painting, acrylic on plexiglas, 44 x 34 x 2 inches; Courtesy of the artist.