But getting older – and less mobile – presents some challenges for seniors who still want to experience arts and cultural events.
For our series Aging in Place, a few local seniors shared strategies for connecting with the arts — such as looking for new sources of transportation, reaching out to arts opportunities at home and volunteering. Getting active in the arts in retirement Two hours before former Tonight Show host Jay Leno takes the stage in mid-September at the Kauffman Center, volunteers in crisp white shirts and royal blue vests are already starting to arrive for that night’s assignments. "I’m in mezz two today," says Joanne Mehmurt, when asked where she's stationed. The Kauffman Center opened in September, and by October, Mehmurt was volunteering. "It was like their gift to me. I said, 'This is my retirement gift.'" Four to seven times a month, Mehmert hands out programs and shows people to their seats – and she also helps them navigate in and out of the building.
Before the Kauffman Center was up and running, they were part of a membership group called "The Ambassadors." Volunteering in retirement has deepened their commitment to cultural events.


We thoroughly enjoy the arts."  The Kauffman Center has nearly 600 active volunteers, and about a third of them are over 65.
It's giving back to the community at a time when they have the flexibility to do so."  Schofer says volunteers also provide valuable feedback that’s led to changes, like better signage and added seating for people with mobility issues.
Reaching out to new services to access the arts But if you’re a senior and no longer driving, it can take an extra effort to get to a performance. But, when Haugh wanted to see a favorite musical, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Lied Center on the campus of KU, she had to make other arrangements — a ride with Community Village Lawrence.  "We really just want to facilitate people getting out, getting to places, or getting the support they need in any way," says Ben Tasner, who heads up a pilot program with Community Village Lawrence to fill some of the transportation gaps for seniors, especially on evenings and weekends. The Lied Center has a cluster of ushers – about 40 on this day – greeting patrons, and directing traffic flow.
Standing in the balcony, Haugh says she and her late husband loved to attend musicals and plays.


The retirement community opened 15 years ago at 123rd Street and Nall Avenue – and this white box gallery was always part of the plan.
She lives in one of Village Shalom’s independent living villas, and still plays the piano every day – including regular gigs for the gallery’s Sunday openings. Pachter just turned 100.  "You know what I love to play?" she asks, as she sits down on the piano bench.
The non-profit Kansas City Senior Theatre is teaming up with the Missouri Arts Council for a new program called the KC Arts and Aging Initiative. The idea is to bring together stakeholders — in the arts community and the aging network —to make the arts are  accessible, through all stages of life.



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