Creativity a Cornerstone of United’s Winter Program Guides

Honens Prize Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs for residents
Honens Prize Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs for residents

Listening to an exceptionally talented pianist or putting a paintbrush to canvas touch only a small part of the extensive list of programs that United offers the residents of our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. Thanks to United’s partnerships, residents will be heading out to see the St. Mary’s University Choir, Calgary Civic Symphony, Lunchbox Theatre, Mount Royal Conservatory’s Sounds of the Season, Calgary Jazz Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. Some high-calibre performances will be coming to United’s theatres as well. On top of all that, both communities will be hosting a door decorating contest as well as multiple bus tours of Calgary’s best Christmas light displays. Due in large part to these many and various programs and events, there is much for residents to enjoy over the course of the chilly winter months.

“Aging in an engaged and creative way opens the doors to so many new experiences and social connections. We’re finding that age is no barrier to creativity,” said Kim Coulter, United’s creative expressions manager. “United provides the right atmosphere and opportunity for residents to express themselves. Our philosophy is to encourage residents to do that through the arts: singing, music, drawing, painting, dance, pottery and sculpture, plus the opportunity to attend professional and amateur performances both outside the community and in our own theatres.”

Resident Mary Fenwick performs with the Calgary Youth Orchestra
Resident Mary Fenwick performs with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

United’s extensive list of programs, including specialty programs and events, partnership events with many of Calgary’s art and cultural organizations and regular programs, sets United apart.

“At United, being creative isn’t a hobby or a way to pass the time. It’s a way of life,” said Monica Schmidt, program coordinator at United’s Garrison Green community. “We have professional artists on staff who provide support for every level, from those who have never picked up a brush or a handful of clay, to residents who were attracted to United because they can continue their lifelong passion for art.”



Resident Con Irving's owl carving hangs in the Fish Creek art gallery
Resident Con Irving’s owl carving hangs in the Fish Creek art gallery

United has fully stocked art studios at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities, plus art galleries to display resident artworks as well as showings of professional work. Not only is it fun, but expression through the  arts can have health benefits researchers are just starting to understand.

As well, participation in the arts encourages connecting with others and making new friends – a cornerstone of United’s philosophy. Research shows that older adults who are the most socially engaged remain healthy and active. Communities develop when people get to make their own choices and when residents are active, learning new things and participating in community events that they find interesting and stimulating.

United’s comprehensive guides of upcoming specialty and ongoing programs at both communities are available online. Each contains about 40 pages of programs so that residents and their families can see what’s available and make plans to participate. Monica says, “Working together with other departments, the creative team is able to brainstorm unique themes to guide programming ideas for each month. In this way, we are able to avoid falling into a rut of repetitive offerings month after month and instead, keep our programming fresh and interesting.”

Both guides are online at these links:

Garrison Green program link

Fish Creek program link

“When you see everything written down in one location, you realize just how extensive the programs are,” said Kim. “It’s what makes living in a United community exciting and fun. There’s always something new and the programs are changing and evolving all the time based on resident input.”

Photos by Sherana Productions, United Active Living, Mount Royal Conservatory.
Video by Sherana Productions

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To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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