Creative Aging classes: Participatory arts classes for older adults

Pictured above: The Israeli Dance class.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service is offering a new 8-week session of its popular Creative Aging classes for the spring, beginning the week of March 18.

The program offers four classes in northeast Phoenix/Scottsdale and one class in Sun City.

Story Telling meets Tuesdays, March 19-May 14, at Temple Solel, 6805 E. McDonald Dr. in Paradise Valley and Thursdays, March 21-May 16 at Temple Beth Shalom at 12202 N. 101st Ave. in Sun City. Both classes are from 10 am-noon. These classes are taught by Kim Porter, who is an award-winning playwright and performer, and was recently named Best Storyteller by the Phoenix New Times.

The Sunshine Singers, a senior Chorus, meets on Thursday mornings at Temple Chai at 4645 E. Marilyn Road in Phoenix, March 20-May 15. The chorus is led by Dan Kurek, who has 35 years’ experience teaching music and who has been the Temple Chai choir director for nine years. Dan also teaches a small group voice class providing individual attention, at Temple Chai on Wednesdays, March 20-May 15.

Israeli Dance runs March 19-May 14 on Tuesday afternoon from 2-3 pm at Congregation Beth Israel at 10640 N. 56th St. in Scottsdale.  The classes are taught by Nancy Stone, a local dance instructor.  “This kind of dance is great for both mind and body,” Nancy says, “plus it’s great fun!”

Creative Aging is a national initiative based on studies showing that older adults live longer and better if they are actively involved in the Arts. The movement is aimed at fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and quality of life for older adults (

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in four people in Arizona will be over age 60 by the year 2020,” reports Janet Arnold Rees, JFCS director of the Creative Aging program. “We need to find innovative ways to keep our older adults actively engaged. Creative Aging is based on an ‘assets approach’ to aging, emphasizing what ‘can’ be done rather than what limitations there might be.”

The program began in January of 2017. Since then over 300 older adults from ages 63-94 have participated in the classes. “We’ve gotten great feedback,” says Janet. “Participants appreciate the professionally-run classes, the chance to learn new skills and the time to connect with their contemporaries.  Classes are kept small to ensure quality.”

Partial funding for the classes is provided by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.  Jewish Family & Children’s Service is a non-profit social service and behavioral health agency serving the greater metropolitan Phoenix area.

All classes are open to adults 60 or older. Registration fees vary.  Registration is available on the JFCS website:, by contacting, or calling 480-599-7198.


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