Creating Communities of Care
Lifesongs is a life-affirming, intergenerational arts program that engages local communities to heal the fear that shrouds aging, illness, and death. Through deep relationship-building, storytelling, music, and performance, Lifesongs promotes dignity and inclusion for elders and those at the end of life.

Lifesongs brings youth, community members, and elders together to share stories and life experience. Active in the national conversation around creative aging, Lifesongs brings elders and people in hospice together with artists, youth, and other community members in creative exchange. Working one-on-one and in ensembles, participants develop original works that incorporate music, movement, and multimedia to explore the richness of all stages of life.

After many months of collaboration, the pieces are performed in a public concert by professional musicians, local choirs, and artists of all ages. Through witnessing our elders’ songs and stories, we connect around what we share as opposed to what separates us, we bless and heal the past, and we hold our elders and the dying in their potential rather than their decline.

In addition to public performances and scalable concerts, Lifesongs provides free and public facilitated dialogues on death and dying with community partners. In 2015, Lifesongs launched the Story Gathering project. The Story Gathering project brings youth, community members, and elders together to share stories and life experiences. Participants collaboratively shape stories into new works of writing and art to present to the wider community. While deepening its roots in northern New Mexico, Lifesongs is carefully fostering and mentoring projects in other communities around the country.

Lifesongs was founded in 2007 by The Santa Fe Opera and Littleglobe under the leadership of Acushla Bastible, Andrea Fellows Walters, and Molly Sturges. Our founding partner was Christine Sandoval from the Santa Fe Care Center. In 2011, Lifesongs became a program of the Academy for the Love of Learning in partnership with Littleglobe.

“Lifesongs is a cutting-edge intergenerational arts program that brings everyone into the folds of collective creative expression, regardless of age, ethnicity, language, economic status, physical mobility, and cognitive capacity. I am inspired by the special ways Lifesongs uses story-sharing, music, poetry, and other art forms to bring the experiences of people in nursing care and hospice out of isolation, and into the fullness of a robust creative community.” — Gary Glazner, Founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project

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To learn more about Lifesongs use the form below to contact The Academy.