Up On The Roof

Today I followed Buildings Exploratory with Age UK Islington into the Angel Building in Islington itself. Boy oh boy! The elephant in the room was ignored; the treacle spoon, that gorgeous sculpture /art installation in the foyer and which celebrates the nursery rhyme “Half a pound of tupenny rice”. We went upstairs to see Design Council staff beavering away overjoyed to be working by a window with trees blowing in the April wind. Didn’t see the point of that excursion: We did notice the patterns on the lift floors matched those on the landing floors. Whoop whoop. Take me to the roof.
It was blowy up top but what a scene!
I did realize the tour was for we seniors to appreciate that built environment that apparently irks us so.
Yesterday was excrutiatingly awful for me. I couldn’t escape for I’d left my Freedom Pass in the workshop space. I had joined a group of about ten seniors as we visited an art gallery and then we were led into a space for brainstorming, squiggling, and a stroke of art appreciation. We were exploring our reactions through our senses to objects in order to apppreciate , never mind ‘understand’ the curated exhibition. Tis the way of the community engagers in all the art galleries now. An assumption is made that seniors who arrive in community groups are ignorant about art and have limited means of seeing and going to art. The ways of engaging seniors is big business. The fear now is that as seniors live longer with 91 years of age soon to be the new three score and ten then the community engagement programmes will stretch as same in content to be delivered to seniors described as from age 55 to 91. Clearly irksome.
Big business indeed but as a receiver I am neither engaged nor tempted to go deeper into galleries. Others will be. I am tired of being treated as someone with special needs simply because I am an older person.
One fat gallery’s director in north east London has declared support for studies which say that illness is the main reason older people do not frequent art galleries in London and intends to address that situation by installing a coordinator to do workshops for appreciating art with bussed in older people. Same ole, same ole.
Admirable maybe. Do-gooding yes. Appealing perhaps. Box-ticking surely.

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