Update Regarding COVID-19

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55+ Adults at MCA

Creative Aging

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) established Creative Aging programs in 2017 after being one of fifteen organizations in the state of Minnesota to participate in the Seeding Vitality Arts MN initiative. Thanks to generous funding from Aroha Philanthropies MCA teaching artists and administrative staff received training and support to create unique workshops that were offered for minimal fees to Winona area community members who are 55 years or older.

Today MCA continues this important work thanks to the support Aroha Philanthropies, Elizabeth Callendar King Foundation, and Southeastern Minnesota Art Council (SEMAC). MCA also brings arts to individuals and groups of assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and more. For more about Creative Aging in Facilities or to bring a Creative Aging program to you, click here.

Why Arts?

Creative Aging programs are designed to improve the health, well-being, and renewed sense of purpose for older adults. Research from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) – and others – found that social isolation constitutes a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults. Research has also shown that loneliness may have a physical as well as an emotional impact. For example, people who are lonely frequently have elevated systolic blood pressure.

In addition to these workshops, MCA welcomes Older Adults to explore other opportunities to engage in and observe art through our wide array of classes, exhibits, and performances. MCA can help you re-discover your love for an instrument or start learning one for the first time or just help brighten up a chilly evening by taking in a performance by our Jazz Combos or Dance Repertory Company.

Participation gave me permission to do something I enjoy. I learned about the other participants via online searches and found so many people or activities we had in common. I, also, began to have new insight into artists’ techniques illustrated in a series of art history classes that I have taken: the preliminary sketch (or iPhone photo) used as a foundation for a more elaborate painting ; creating a painting in panels, working on one at a time as almost a project in itself (divided photo into six sections and drew the piece section by section). The entire experience provided much needed anxiety relief and diversion from our current crazy/scary world.

Playful Postcards Participant

July 2020

Fabulous program! I explored new techniques and observed in new ways. Sharing the postcards helped me to set aside a regular time for engaging in the process. I knew someone else was waiting. I also learned from the approaches others took to the same prompts!

Playful Postcards Participant

July 2020

I so appreciate the time, creativity, work, and collaboration given by everyone who designed this unit. There was obviously the difficult task of not being virtual but also giving materials accessible, useful, friendly yet not childish, interesting and new but not academic. All, a difficult balance and the designers did an admirable job of making it work. Thank you!

Playful Postcards Participant

July 2020

Weaving (Ages 55+)

During this zoom class, explore weaving terms and concepts through the creation of 4 projects: a place mat, cotton dishtowel, tapestry, and continuous strand weaving (can be used for handbags, scarves, rugs, etc.)! Looms are available for rent with a deposit.
Day/Dates: Saturdays, Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30
Time: 10am-noon
Age: 55+
Instructor: Lisa Douglas
Fees: $24* (includes supplies except loom with pick-up or delivery in Winona or for an additional $12 kits can be mailed anywhere in the US. Looms available to rent locally with a deposit.)
*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund, Aroha Philanthropies, and the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation.

Mindful Journaling (Ages 55+)

Be present in the moment and channel your creativity through written and visual expression, learning techniques in drawing, painting and mixed media. This self-paced course provides 8 weekly emails containing journaling techniques and mindfulness prompts to inspire your creativity. Finish the course with a zoom social to share what you learned and, if you’re brave, show off your work!

Day/Dates: February 7-April 3 (8 weeks, self-paced) + Zoom social (date TBD)

Age: 55+

Instructors: Brianna Haupt

Fees: $24* (includes supplies with pick-up or delivery in Winona or for an additional $12 kits can be mailed anywhere in the US.)

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund, Aroha Philanthropies, and the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation.

Schedule Creative Aging Programs

MCA’s Creative Aging programs are customizable to fit the needs of your organization. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask! Contact MCA’s Creative Aging Program Coordinator, Catie Deysach, at cdeysach@smumn.edu to discuss your options.

MCA Cre-active December Challenge- Week 1

MCA Cre-active December Challenge- Week 1

This December is looking different for most of us due to COVID-19, so we wanted to find a way to inspire you and your family to have a Cre-active December (yes we made up a word that combines Creative & Active). We have chosen four weekly themes: Explore, Create, Move, & Connect. Each week we will challenge you to interact with the arts in a new way, we will provide ideas, and anyone who submits a photo either themselves participating in the challenge or a sample artwork by the deadline will be entered into the weekly prize drawing. 

Winter Creative Aging Programs

Winter Creative Aging Programs

As we enter month 9 of this pandemic and also the winter season, meaningful opportunities for engagement between older adults is more important than ever. Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is working hard to meet that need. Adults ages 55+ are invited to join for two COVID-safe class opportunities this winter season. 

Escape into Art

Escape into Art

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic many of us our finding ourselves at home more often while searching for way to connect with others or a way to mentally escape from the stress our ever changing routines. One way to escape and connect without leaving your home is through art. Art, by definition, is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. Visual art can take many different forms and express a variety of emotions. Whether you are new to creating art or returning to practice, it can be a powerful way to cope with stressful times.

As COVID cases are rising and opportunities to see other humans in-person are diminishing for a (hopefully) short time, we want to let you know that we are here with many opportunities to help you create, connect, and learn. Below is a list of our live zoom visual arts classes happening though this December as well as a handful of unique art kits that can help time pass along in a fun and productive way.


Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts
1164 West Howard (10th) Street
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: 507-453-5500
Fax: 507-453-5507

E-Mail: mca@smumn.edu

Contact Us


Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our office hours are by appointment only.




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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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