Five Master of Social Work students from Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) have found a gap in the Long Beach community that needs closing, an intergenerational gap, to be exact, and they’ve organized what may be a step forward in engaging residents of all ages.
Students Carol Cuadros, Cathy Furukawa, Chantel Tanuvasa-Strotman, Sonia Vasquez and Linda Torres will present “Building Communities,” an intergenerational art showcase, on Saturday in the Michelle Obama Library Community Room from noon to 2:00PM.
Their goal is to promote social well-being, specifically in the North Long Beach community, through connecting people of all generations, using art as a medium to generate conversation, so attendees can find commonalities between each other.
“A desired outcome from this event is for event attendees to increase their confidence with talking to people from a different age group, social connectedness, social engagement, and increased social well-being from attending the art showcase,” Torres told the Post.
Following interviews with North Long Beach community members, the project team found a lack of events and gatherings allowing intergenerational interaction. Senior interviewees also expressed that they felt disconnected due to a lack of senior-friendly events, said Torres.
“Based on research completed by the project team, an Intergenerational Art Showcase was organized since art can serve as a catalyst for community members to engage in conversation,” Torres said. “In addition, the event creates a space for seniors to interact naturally within their community.”
Artists were asked to depict what the theme of “Community Building” means to them. Eighteen artists from Senior Center Houghton Park, Jordan High School, Andy Street Community Association, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSULB and the North Long Beach community participated.
“A long-term goal is to establish at least five individuals who demonstrate an interest in creating a potential advisory committee to continue to develop intergenerational events or activities that will promote arts and foster social connectedness in North Long Beach,” Torres said. “This intergenerational event addresses the social challenge by creating an initiative for future intergenerational events/activities where older adults have the opportunity to interact with people of various ages.”
Sponsored in part by Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and the Arts Council for Long Beach, the event will also feature an art contest where attendees will be able to vote on which artworks are the Most Creative, Most Inspirational and the Best Art. Free appetizers and refreshments will also be provided.
For more info, check out the Facebook event page here.
The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library is located at 5870 Atlantic Avenue.