EngAGE Creative Programs Director Helene Weinberg shares her thoughts about her work in this personal essay, “A Second Life.”
Engaging in creativity lands me in a happy place; tweaking a new song, writing a blog, opening an art show, producing a video. Visual, literal, musical and highly impractical, these erratic shards of sparks hit me hard – most often in my car on my way to work.
I work in Non-Profit Land, which casts a dreamy, disjointed, down-home kind of vibe that resonates with my artist’s soul and reluctant administrative prowess. I’ve always considered myself a right-brained being, so doing left-brained things doesn’t always feel right.
I don’t excel at Excel. I prefer Word – well, words.
How did this entertainer from Cleveland land in Non-Profit Land in La-La Land?
After college I dreamed of moving to LA to be a writer/actor/comic.
I never thought when I finally got here – a few decades later – that I would find my happy place as a Creative Programs Director for EngAGE.
EngAGE, the art of active aging, gives seniors a second life as artists. In over 30 senior residential communities across southern California, EngAGE has built an astounding reputation in enhancing the lives of senior adults by bringing arts, wellness and lifelong learning programs to residents at no cost to them.
In the past couple of years, EngAGE has extended its reach to include multi-generational arts colonies, developing creative programming to help emerging and professional artists live, work and thrive within an artsy, affordable housing community.
I enjoy playing Fairy Godmother to artists of all ages, helping make their dreams come to fruition. I am honing my left-brain skills as a mediator, educator, administrator, arbitrator, negotiator, facilitator, expeditor and aviator. As a co-pilot, witnessing a spirit soaring to new heights is by far the best perk of this work. Creativity is joy and passion unleashed. It’s contagious and somewhat addictive. I hope to never recover from it.
I still get to perform, produce and write stuff, but I’ve learned that’s not all there is. To be a creative conduit and helping other artists engage and ignite their own shards of sparks is the coolest thing I’ve known in my own second life.
Helene Weinberg is the Creative Programs Director for EngAGE at The Long Beach Senior Arts Colony in Long Beach and The Pacific Avenue Arts Colony in San Pedro, California.