"pARTicipate in the ART of Life" at The Woodruff Arts Center for Free

September 6, 2017

Sept. 10, 1 – 4 PM; Special Performance at 3 PM

ATLANTA, (Aug. 29, 2017) – Ortrude White loves art. A Harvard graduate architect for a living, she enjoyed painting as a pastime. But early on-set Alzheimer's brought about an early retirement, and her artistic endeavors became less frequent. And, more recently, nearly nonexistent. 

But that changed last year when Ortrude's eyes lit up as she led an art workshop in her retirement community of Lenbrook. And this year, with the help of her friends at Lenbrook, she's created one of the hundreds of butterflies that will become the backdrop for a very special intergenerational performance at 3PM on September 10 in the Rich Theatre of The Woodfruff Art Center. It's all a part of The Woodruff's Family Fun Festival open to the public for free from 1 to 4 PM on Sept. 10. 

Called "pARTicipate in the ART of Life," this interpretive and collaborative performance will bring the lyrics and music of the beloved 70s' hit "Lean on Me" to life in a whole new way by combining dance, theatre, song, music and visual art -- created and performed by people of all ages and abilities. 

Experience this uplifting interactive performance featuring Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians; Johnny Hibbert and the Atlanta Street Singers; one of the Southeast's finest tenors Sam Hagan; the Lenbrook Singers; the Academy Ballroom Atlanta; and dancers, musicians, and visual artists from the Decatur Family YMCA and the Lenbrook and Park Springs senior living communities. Watch as large painted canvases of butterflies unfold to create the backdrop, demonstrating how we are all a part of the bigger picture of life. 

"This project is about participation, not perfection. We want people to experience the joy of creating something artistic without the pressure of being perfect. It's about community and the joy in sharing our journey of life together," said Lisa Kiely, Director of Enrichment for Lenbrook, and project initiator.

Rosemary Newcott, Artistic Director of Theatre for Youth and Families for the Alliance Theatre, has been leading workshops at Lenbrook to create the interpretive portion of the production. "Theatre is storytelling. The Collision Project is named such because participants ‘collide” with a text, in this case the lyrics to Lean on Me, and then create their own stories and poems in response to words and ideas in the lyrics. It is theatre in its purest form – going back to the roots of early civilizations, sitting around a campfire, telling stories. I have been both delighted and humbled by the participants' open hearts and minds and have learned a great deal from each of them."

"PARTicipate in the ART of Life" is co-sponsored by the senior community of Lenbrook, the Decatur Family YMCA, The Woodruff and the nonprofit association LeadingAge Georgia. Live streaming of the performance will be broadcast at Lenbrook and Park Springs, ensuring residents who are unable to travel to the Rich Theatre can experience and enjoy this unique artistic collaboration -- in real time -- by youth, seniors, professionals and art enthusiasts.

The Sept. 10 Free Family Festival day is part of the larger CREATE ATL Family Fun at The Woodruff Arts Center initiative, in which families can participate in art making, interactive musical story times, composers-in-training sessions, instrument making, drop-in acting classes and more, for free, every Sunday from 1 – 4 PM. In addition, families have the opportunity to experience world-class productions and exhibitions at The Woodruff Arts Center. 

Free tickets for this event can be reserved online at woodruffcreateATL.org or by calling The Woodruff Box Office at 404.733.5000. 

About Lenbrook

Lenbrook (http://www.lenbrook-atlanta.org) is the first and only life plan community in Atlanta to achieve national accreditation by CARF. The community enables its residents to enjoy the gifts of independence, good health and personal fulfillment through engaging programs and services. Its health care center is rated five stars by Medicare and also by U.S. News & World Report in its 2016/17 Best Nursing Homes Report. Visit www.lenbrook-atlanta.org. 

About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Ga. is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre, the Grammy Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and the High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in the Southeast. One of the only arts venues in the United States to offer both visual and performing arts on a single campus, The Woodruff produces outstanding theater, music and exhibitions for nearly one million patrons each year. Through the combined efforts of the Alliance, the ASO and the High, The Woodruff also offers remarkable educational programming, with close to 200,000 students taking part annually, making The Woodruff the largest arts educator in Georgia. woodruffcenter.org

Media Contacts:
Kathy Hart, Hart Communications, 404-271-1489,. kathyhart@hartmcc.com
Ariel Thilenius, The Woodruff Arts Center, 404.733.4254, ariel.thilenius@woodruffcenter.org
Photos of previous CREATE ATL Free Family Festivals can be viewed here.