Centrum’s Creative Aging conference goes online

Two-day event features many speakers

Carol Kummet

Carol Kummet

PORT TOWNSEND — Back in early March, Centrum’s Creative Aging Conference — a public event at Fort Worden State Park — was one of the first to bow out due to the coronavirus.

Now the conference is back and open to a larger group of participants, as in the globe. The all-online event this Thursday and Friday is about artmaking, storytelling, love for the natural world — and ways to create a legacy for future generations.

Centrum and Seattle’s Frye Art Museum will host the set of workshops from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

“I’m excited by the diversity of speakers and their unique life experiences,” said Mary Jane Knecht, manager of creative aging programs at the Frye.

She’s come to Port Townsend many times for “Meet Me at the Movies,” a Rose Theatre program for the public, including people with memory loss.

The nonprofit Centrum foundation’s invitation to register, at Centrum.org, notes this week’s conference is for social and healthcare professionals, artists, educators and anyone else who wants to make a difference in the world.

Continuing education units are available, while admission is $75 general or $50 for Centrum donors; scholarships are available by phoning 360-385-3102, ext. 117.

Katie Schlenker

Katie Schlenker

Carol Kummet, a University of Washington Medical Center social worker, is among Friday morning’s workshop presenters. In “Leaving a Trace: Our Legacy Stories,” she and Dr. Katie Schlenker, a UW professor of medicine, will guide people through a discussion of the many things legacy can mean.

“Our presentation includes journaling prompts to get participants started,” Kummet said.

Through 20 years of hospice social work and counseling, she’s learned legacy isn’t just the material things we leave behind. It’s also the intangible stuff we give our loved ones.

It’s about “what you leave in their hearts,” Kummet said, noting family stories, especially those known only to you, and your hopes and dreams for the future.

Kummet and Schlenker join five others with their own inspirational sessions to present. They include:

Eddie Gonzalez

Eddie Gonzalez

• Eddie Gonzalez of the “On Being” project and formerly of NPR’s Storycorps, whose Thursday keynote talk is “Leaving a Mark: The Healing Art of Remembering Forward.”

Tom Ikeda

Tom Ikeda

• Tom Ikeda of Densho, an organization preserving the history of the Japanese-American incarceration, whose Thursday morning session is “Keeping Alive the Stories of a Community.”

Sonnet K. Coggins

Sonnet K. Coggins

• Merwin Conservancy Executive Director Sonnet K. Coggins, on Thursday morning, discussing “An Imagination Fully Inhabited: The Living Legacy of W.S. Merwin.”

Sarah Fetterman

Sarah Fetterman

• Seattle sculptor Sarah Fetterman, whose Thursday afternoon session is titled “Past Selves.”

Pam McClusky

Pam McClusky

• Pam McClusky, the Seattle Art Museum’s curator of African and Oceanic Art, whose Friday morning session is “Imagine Nutopia.”

The Creative Aging Conference’s two days bring together a variety of ideas and speakers, Knecht said, people with “interesting lives, based in decades of work in storytelling and spiritual care.”

Centrum.org has more about the presenters, while information about the Frye’s ongoing creative aging and art programs can be found at fryemuseum.org.


Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].

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