Literature has suggested that societal expectations of seniors leisure pursuits have remained relatively static (Pedlar, Dupuis & Gilbert, 1996). However, it has become apparent that leisure pursuits of retiring baby-boomers are very different than those of their parents. Due to these differences, a greater variety of recreational programs will need to be offered in the future.
In reality, this group of older adults is becoming more active and adventurous, both intellectually and physically. In order to fulfill their educational, social and recreational needs, they often choose to participate in lifelong leisure learning opportunities, such as art education or art instruction programs. Their involvement in leisure helps them with personal growth, and fills their free time with opportunities that enhance their skills (McGuire, Boyd & Tedrick, 2004).
Nationally, some older adults are choosing to pursue art instruction through programs offered at colleges, universities, recreation centers, churches or senior centers. They may have different reasons for pursuing art instruction, such as for skill development, intellectual curiosity or social interactions. These decisions may enhance their creativity, expand their curiosity or create new acquaintances. In recreational settings, these intangible outcomes are considered benefits (Riley, 2002).
Researchers agree that art participation is an accepted and important leisure pursuit among older adults (Carpenter, 1999; McCarthy, Ondaatje & Zakaras, 2001). Art participation can be active, in which people engage in the act of creating or performing the art, or it can be passive, as is the case when an audience views a performance or a person visits an art gallery.
Active and passive art experiences provide an individual with the benefits of discovery, stimulation and relaxation. It is important for this age group to participate in lifelong learning art activities because this participation offers them valuable rewards and benefits (Riley & Mitchell, 2004).
Even though art educational opportunities currently exist for an older population, many of these opportunities have been considered by the participants to be inappropriate and frivolous since the program objective does not match the expectations of the participants (Cordes & Ibrahim, 2003). Since these are baby boomers who are more active and expect greater …