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Jump-Start Your Creative Journey

Learn how to unlock your imagination with these resources.

tubes of paint

— Dave Robertson/Masterfile

Feeling the urge to paint, dance, sing, share your life stories or otherwise challenge your creativity and craft? Here are some resources that may help spark your mission of finding beauty and meaning through artistic self-expression.

The Arts Map is an interactive tool that can point you to schools, programs, galleries, museums and organizations in dozens of artistic fields worldwide. 

• For instant gratification, go to JacksonPollock.org, where your mouse becomes a paintbrush—and you a master of digital splatter and dribble. Or download the app (for 99 cents) and finger-paint on an iPhone or iPad.

• Julia Cameron's The Artist’s Way books have inspired millions with their gentle, spiritual approach, spawning communities of like-minded seekers. 

The National Endowment for the Arts website highlights programs for older Americans who want to participate in dance, theater, music and other arts. 

Live & Learn: Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within by Steven Aimone—the first volume in AARP’s Live & Learn series—lays out step-by-step exercises and advice emphasizing basic visual elements students can readily grasp and enjoy (Lark Books).

Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life Into Story, by Barbara Abercrombie (New World Library), provides clear, friendly guidance and exercises to help get your personal storytelling on track.

•  ArtAge Senior Theatre Resource Center is a treasure box of publications, programs and support services for performing arts organizations across the country, many of which are listed on its website.

•  ArtistsNetwork, the umbrella site for The Artist’s Magazine, offers inspiration and instruction as well as visual arts workshop listings in the U.S.

•  Collage-making is a welcoming art form for beginners; a website called collageart.org, “Dedicated to the Art of Collage,” will lead you to instruction, materials and just about anything else you might need to get gluing.

•  In two books—Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?: Teaching Great Poetry to Children (Vintage), and I Never Told Anybody: Teaching Poetry Writing to Old People (Teachers & Writers Collaborative)—the award-winning poet Kenneth Koch elegantly demonstrates the delights of poetry for young and old alike.

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