Author Archives: jeff

We made a Toast to our Future Together!


We made a Toast to our Future Together! The final C-3 Meeting on March 5 was exciting and satisfying. 63 older adults, artists, MAH staff and advocates joined together to celebrate and complete our work together. Stacey reviewed and renewed our vision of the whole process from last August through next September. Ashley asked for help getting the word out. She will be providing a recipe page of suggestions  about how to to invite friends and families to enjoy the exhibition

Jeff shared an overview of related events coming this Spring and Summer.  Then he asked everyone to join him in a workshop. The focus was to give him advice for the upcoming programs. C3 members enjoyed tasty snacks and a sneak preview of the artwork that they had helped create. This is the artwork that will be on display during the exhibit.  Artists Ry, Cid, Wes, Gina and the Pajaro Valley Quilting Association all shared C3 work. Some seniors dropped off their personal paintings for the exhibition. Everyone got a chance to take an old-school Polaroid photo that will be include in the wall of C3 participants. If you didn’t get to take your picture taken then, please pose for the Polaroid photographer at the C3 members special opening on April 4, from 4-7pm.

After the workshops, munching and milling about the art, we joined in a giant final circle. Four of our guests sang a beautiful ballad in Spanish about.  Then we all raised our Champagne glasses for a toast…but wait…the glasses were all empty. Why? Because that is what the exhibition is about. Noticing the empty glass of another person, and taking the time to fill it with bubbly, sweet connection. So that’s what we did: we filled each other’s glasses with organic, locally bottled sparkling apple cider. Jeff recollected that this day was a lot like a rocket mission launch. Do you remember the Apollo missions? We all celebrated our C3 Mission: to replace isolation in our county. With party poppers in hand we all said the most important words of any lift off: 10…9…8… Well you can see the result in the photos above. Cake was eaten, smiles and hugs were exchanged.

We’ll all come together with our friends and families at the big C3 and MAH members’ opening on April 4 from 4-7pm. Register here if you are going to bring a friend or family member!

C3 Meeting 5 – So Much Light on a Cold & Cloudy Day

C3 Meeting 5 – So Much Light on a Cold & Cloudy Day

Written by: Jeff Caplan, Community Dialogue Catalyst

February 12 was a cold and cloudy day, yet the MAH was full of light from the art and activity of the 57 seniors, advocates, artist and staff. We all joined over coffee and cookies to take the next step to end senior isolation in Santa Cruz County. On behalf of the newly registered members of C3 we reviewed of our process and goals for the exhibition.

After Stacey presented the plan for the morning, Cid showed a short video of local seniors connected and in isolation.  Then she invited all seniors to take part in the recording of a short video of movement and portraits. Then the workshops began! Gina displayed the photos taken by seniors and asked advice on how to arrange them. Ariel lead a workshop using watercolor and collage to create isolation art.  C3 members could finish these collages and submit to the exhibition.

Whitney asked seniors in Spanish and English for quotes about how their connection with the  exhibition building process has changed their connections in the community. The Pajaro Valley Quilting Association passed out scissors and cloth for people to cut into materials for crafting a quilt during the exhibition. Jeff led a workshop to distill and then expand ideas of related events for the exhibition.


After the workshops Rogelio sang a beautiful song to the group in Spanish, and Pedro led an impromptu dance party. We closed out with a moment of gratitude and silence to honor all of the seniors, both living and passed on, who have worked to make our county a better place through their dynamic lives and spirits.

We are excited to have you join us for our next and final meeting of C3 on March 5. The exhibit , We’re Still Here opens one month later on First Friday April 5. There will be a special celebration opening for C3 members and MAH members on April 4.

C3 Meeting 4: We’re heading into the Home Stretch for “We’re Still Here”

C3 Meeting 4: We’re Heading into the Home Stretch for “We’re Still Here”

Written by: Jeff Caplan, Community Dialogue Catalyst

In keeping with our goals to end isolation, everyone shared some personal history and pride in their life achievements with two new partners. Next, we celebrated how far we have come in this six month tapestry of weaving seniors, artists and advocates. Stacey highlighted our process for developing the exhibitions, actions and
events of “We’re Still Here”

Next, we self sorted into action groups working with the different artists.

Ruth and Helen from the Pajaro Valley Quilting Association helped seniors make fabric, ink and image quilt squares. These share our visions of a future Santa Cruz beyond isolation. The squares will join evolving fabric inspirations made by visitors to the Museum during the six months of exhibition.

Cid’s group motivated the entire audience with a mini-performance of dance, evoking the issues that seniors experience as our bodies age. These dance vignettes will play at the opening of the Exhibition on April 5. Visitors will also enjoy them through live and on video performances throughout the six months.

Jeff hosted a “Lluvia de Ideas” (Rain-storm of ideas) about different events that we can host both at the MAH and at community locations. These ideas aimed at three target actions with are foremost in the MAH’s theory of building a stronger community:

  • Bridging Events that bring diverse communities together. For example, an audience participation and performance event inviting High School Seniors and Senior Citizens to exchange wisdom across their different ages and experiences.
  • Bonding Events which strengthen connections among people from similar communities. For example, a senior mixer event.
  • Empowering Events which give skills and opportunities to people in the community. For example, a workshop on Balance and Falling Safely (so that one is less likely to break a bone)

Ry presented the Senior Game of Life project and got feedback about specific stations that visitors would experience.  Gina shared self taken photos from seniors expressing isolation in their lives. People weighed in on which were most moving.

Our next meeting is coming up soon on February 12. Only two more meetings before all of our hard work and passion sparkles before the public eye. Please mark your calendar with the First Friday opening of “We’re Still Here” on April 5. If you are a MAH member, or want to join before then, you are invited to the extra members opening on April 4, complete with food & drinks, dance and music, and crafty opportunities.
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a member, this might be the right time to do it!


C3 November 20 Meeting: We’re Still Here!

Summary of C3: Meeting 3, Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Written by: Jeff Caplan, Community Dialogue Catalyst

Gratitude to all of the 63 seniors, advocates, artists and program staff who gathered together just before Thanksgiving to plan artistic pathways to a Santa Cruz county beyond senior isolation.

Blog Overview:

  •    Seniors gave guidance to the artists as we worked on the big exhibit
  •    Advocates began to build the invitations for visitors to take action
  •    All seniors were invited to prepare and share personal artwork about isolation in the show in April. This artwork will balance all of the other solutions to senior isolation that the show will represent. More details below.

Stacey began with an overview of our steps so far: generating our goals for the exhibit, choosing artists to help us express our vision of isolation and a community full of connection. Next we voted on the exhibition title, “We’re Still Here: Stories of Seniors and Social Isolation” won the popular vote and the electoral college!

Each of the artists introduced their work goals for this session before we broke into workshops at six stations:

    • Station #1 Gina: Photo Stories: Discussing the isolation issues that will be illustrated by interested seniors/photographers
    • Station #2 Ariel: Future of SC: Drawing quilt squares of what a world without loneliness would look like.
    • Station #3 Wes: Audio Stories: Generating questions and stories about our lives, asking who wants to be recorded?
    • Station #4 Jeff: Action Cards: Brainstorming direct actions visitors can take in our organizations to end senior social isolation.
    • Station #5 Cid: Choreographing Empathy: Brainstorming on the scenes and participation possibilities
    • Station #6 Ry: Game of Life: Discussing the life experience triggered our realization that we are seniors.

After two rounds of workshops, C3 members gathered for some final notes and a good will send off for all involved.

If you have any questions, or want to participate in either of the documentation projects, please contact the artists directly.

  • Wes Modes,
  • Gina Orlando,

We also made a call for all county seniors to submit art that will be included in the show.  These invitations are available in English here. Also available in Spanish here. The invitation is very broad including both 2D and 3D art of different sizes.

Work will be be accepted based on three criteria:

  1. Is the artist a Santa Cruz County Senior
  2. Does it fit the size requirements (see details)
  3. Does it illustrate loneliness or isolation as represented by the artist.

See more details here. In order to plan the layout, we need to know how many pieces of art we are including; so an application and a picture need to be submitted by February 14.   The artwork itself does not need to be finished and submitted until March 29.

There is no December C3 meeting, so the next meeting of C3 is Tuesday, January 22, 2019. See you there! If you have questions or comments, or need a ride please contact


Summary of C3: Meeting 2, Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Written by: Jeff Caplan, Community Dialogue Catalyst

At Tuesday morning’s meeting Nina Simon enthusiastically began with an overview our last meeting. The recap introduced the five big ideas that C3 members felt the projects should focus on. You can view the slides here.  Nina introduced also introduced the artists/MAH Staff who will facilitate seniors expressing these ideas:

  1. Visitors will understand the diverse causes and impacts of loneliness on seniors.
  •   Gina Orlando will coordinate a photography project by seniors and of seniors that illustrates the causes and impacts of loneliness.
  1. Visitors will build empathy by experiencing what loneliness and isolation feels like for seniors.
  •   All Senior are invited to submit artwork expressing loneliness for inclusion in the exhibition.
  •   Cid Pearlman will facilitate 3D scenes/sets that represent senior isolation and disconnection, further activated by performance and videos with dancers and seniors.
  •   Ry Faraola will facilitate Life size game of senior life for visitors to directly experience challenges and triumphs of being a senior and experiencing loneliness
  1. Visitors will honor and learn from the wisdom of culturally-diverse seniors.
  •      MAH staff facilitated a brainstorm on the idea of a Wisdom exchange for visitors and seniors. Possible formats: Lucy’s Advice Booth/Wisdom Hotline/ Correspondence/Snail Mail
  1. Visitors will build a collective vision of a connected, inclusive, inter-generational future in Santa Cruz County.

MAH Staff will coordinate warm inviting scenes to inspire shared visioning.

  •   MAH staff facilitated brainstorming participatory activities for visitors to create this vision

o   Carmen Lomas Garza Paintings of intergenerational families living together

o   Videos from Seniors thriving around the world

  1. Visitors will take action beyond the exhibition to end senior social isolation.
  •   MAH staff received ideas about Action cards for visitors to take direct action through our advocates and their programs to end senior social isolation. We will brainstorm this in November.

The remainder of the meeting consisted of the C3 members brainstorming on how to visually represent these big ideas for 5 of these projects. You can view the notes here.

We heard a lot of great ideas at this meeting. MAH staff will be meeting with artists to hone in their project idea based on C3’s suggestions. By our November C3 meeting we’ll have a plan to share with you based off of your suggestions. That next meeting is from 10am-12pm on November 20, 2018. If you have questions or comments, or need a ride please contact