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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

Playful Postcards: Artist Study

It's time to get creative and have a little fun sending and receiving colorful postcards. Each student will receive a special art kit to keep that includes everything you need to get started including blank postcards, stamps, watercolor pencils, paint brush, glue stick, fun paper, and weekly lesson plans. All you will be asked to do is to explore new art techniques inspired by an artist then create and send a postcard a week to a classmate. Miss. Brianna will also check in with students throughout the program via a desired contact via digital platform or by phone which will be determined at a later date. (includes all art supplies & Winona Delivery or pick-up)*

Dates: Sept. 10-Oct. 29 (self-paced)

Instructors: Brianna Haupt

Fees: In-person $24 (includes at-home art kit with pick-up or delivery in Winona or for an additional $12 kits can be mailed anywhere in the US) Need based scholarships are available. 

*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.

Creating Winona with Oil Pastels

We know you love Winona, so now is your chance to create mini-pictures of your favorite spots such as Sugar Loaf and the Winona Bridge. You will learn how to play with color, blending, and design during this one-of-a-kind virtual class.

Day/Dates: Thursdays, 1-2pm

Ages: 55+

Cost: $24 non-members, $22 for Winona Friendship Center Members, (includes all art supplies including a set of oil pastels, art paper, drawing pencil, paint pen, and more, & Winona Delivery or pick-up, Kits can be mailed in the US for an additional $10)*

Instructor: L. Douglas

Location: Online presented in real-time via Zoom (participants just need an internet connection and a device with the free version of Zoom downloaded) 

*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. 

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.

Unlock Your Creativity

Unlock Your Creativity

We know times are strange, but we also know that art can be a great way to help you get through these times. Whether you are a parent of a child who just needs some new art supplies to help spark their imagination or if you an adult who needs to make a little room in their schedule to relax while also learning something new, we have a kit for you. Kit details are below, both of our kits are designed to promote creativity, and provide experience with new mediums and tools. Both kits also come with access to a series of previously recorded visual art classes that can be watched on-demand at a time that works for you or your family. The class subjects range a great deal covering art techniques and materials ranging from creating landscapes oil pastels, perspective drawing, lettering techniques, creating with model magic and more.

Doodle Club Continues

Doodle Club Continues

Join Miss. Lisa and other MCA community members virtually for a live, interactive drop in art session on Wednesday nights 7:30-8 pm, now through Dec. 16, 2020. Each week students will have a chance to unwind from their day as they explore using shapes, lines and patterns to create new doodle designs. Come create and even relax the mind with us.

Fostering Creative Aging

Fostering Creative Aging

On September 10th MCA will begin it’s second of five Creative Aging art workshops designed for older adults. In August students learned over Zoom how to create beautiful oil pastel works of Winona landmarks including Sugar Loaf and the Winona bridge over the Mississippi. Throughout September- October older adults are invited to register to participate in Playful Postcards: Artist Study. This unique class will inspire students to paint with watercolor pencils, collage with fun paper and more using a postcard to be sent to a classmate as a canvas.


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 limited to the following:

Mondays: 3:30-6:30pm
Tuesdays: 5-7pm
Wednesdays: 3:30-6:00pm
Thursdays: 3:30-6:00pm
Fridays- 3:30-6:00pm



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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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