Age is just a number, baby.
It’s the concept behind Islip Arts Council’s latest statewide virtual art exhibit, “Forever Young,” which will begin accepting submissions from individuals aged 50 and older on May 1.
The latest exhibit, organized with support from AARP Long Island, will be on display online from July 1 through Aug. 15. It builds on the success of last year’s joint exhibit from both entities, “Art at 50 Plus: New Beginnings.” Both exhibits were curated by Bay Shore artist Holly Gordon.
Gordon said the exhibition is part of an effort to dispel negative stereotypes and bias towards aging.
“I am a firm believer that the older American population is not recognized and acknowledged for the value that they can provide,” Gordon said. “Our years of experience and perspective provide a patina of time that is far more invaluable than what young people have.”
New York-based artists can submit any form of media that they feel symbolizes how to stay “forever young.” As part of the submission, artists are asked to provide a maximum 80-word written statement about their work and a 30-second audio recording of that statement.
“The whole idea is that we have this senior population and for many, anything to do with technology is out of their realm of experience. For them to be articulate and participate in this, they need to understand how to use the technology,” Gordon said.
The audio from each artist is expected to play during the exhibition, so viewers can understand how each piece reflects the theme of the exhibit. Waldo Cabrera, videographer and co-curator of new exhibit "2 Together," will add closed-captioning for people with hearing loss and set the work to the music.
Northport painter Ward Hooper, who has collaborated with Gordon on projects in the past, has completed his submission for the exhibit. His submitted statement reads: “I’m 92, walk with a cane or walker, and have Meals on Wheels. Who would have thought that at age 85, Facebook would connect me to Holly Gordon and she would energize and inspire me to paint again... with a paintbrush in my hand, the years disappear and I am forever young.”
Gordon, an Islip Arts Council member whose work has been featured in numerous local exhibitions, called art a “wonder drug.”
“It needs no prescription, it can’t be overdosed,” she said, “and creating art releases feel-good endorphins... In some respects, it’s a release for us to expend our joy and expel our aggravation.”
The Islip Arts Council will host a virtual Zoom Q&A on how to submit artwork for the exhibit on May 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. A virtual reception will be held on July 10, and a final closing virtual reception and symposium will take place on Aug. 14.
Another virtual exhibit is expected to be unveiled by the Islip Arts Council this fall, called “2 Together,” which aims to blur generational ages. For that exhibit, an elderly artist will be paired with a younger artist. It will be co-curated by Gordon.
The Islip Arts Council, created in 1974 as an advisory body to the Islip Town Board on cultural matters, offers arts programs across the disciplines to Long Islanders. The council and Islip Art Museum's 2020 exhibit, "Art at 50 Plus: New Beginnings," saw submissions from nearly 600 artists across the area.