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TimeSlips Project Brings Milwaukee Elders & Artists Together During A Time Of Isolation

When You See Birds, Think Of Me
Micheal Snowden
/
TimeSlips
One of the posters included in the 'Always Home' video project.

TimeSlips Creative Storytelling and the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services on Aging collaborated with Goodwill, St. John’s On The Lake and the United Community Center to bring meaningful engagement to elders living at home during the pandemic.

The participants of the Beautiful Questions project responded to a series of open-ended questions, such as “What do you treasure in your home?” and “If you could add something to your neighborhood, what would you add?” Their responses were brought to life through a dance, video and audio collage by three Milwaukee artists.

Always Home: Reducing Social Isolation Through Beautiful Questions

Sam Goodrich is TimeSlips' program manager and Michael Snowden is a local artist who contributed to the project's video and animation. "We’re finding it kind of helped destigmatize the people living in our community that might be living alone, might be older or with different abilities, this shows them in a really beautiful, creative light," Goodrich acknowledges.

Goodrich explains that the since the pandemic, there's an even greater need for the project. Since most people are staying at home, she notes that more communities outside of the elderly are experiencing an increase in loneliness. "So this was sort of an expansion of that trying to reach more people in a slightly different ways," Goodrich says.

As one of the three artists on this project, Snowden has interacted heavily with the elderly community in Milwaukee. Most of the artists worked remotely to create art and chat with elder members of the community. "Honestly, that was another big part of kind of just reframe that whole idea and how important it is," Snowden notes. "Whether it's listening to an elder by the phone, or even listening to people in your house, just ask these beautiful questions and be imaginative and have a chance to take your mind somewhere other than what is exactly going on right now."

The feedback for this projects has been overwhelmingly positive. Goodrich reflects, "I think ... there's a bit of pride from it. Being a part of something the artists did such a great job, making this beautiful product out of just a series of voicemails and, in some instances, written responses, and also from the broader community, getting a lot of pride in their neighbors, being able to be a part of this."

Audrey Nowakowski hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2014.
Kobe Brown is WUWM's Eric Von fellow.
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