'FaceAge' community days and outreach events make exhibition personal

Viewers watch FaceAge footage on screens. Credit: Stephanie Swindle / Penn StateCreative Commons

“FaceAge,” the multimedia exhibition featuring cross-generational encounters, opened on Sept. 30 in the HUB-Robeson Center Art Alley. In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition, a series of events will transform what visitors see on the screens and walls into personal experiences.

“’FaceAge’ can stand alone as an installation at museums, festivals, and other venues. But we also view ‘FaceAge’ as a seed event for community engagement and have taken great care to construct a robust engagement program to tour with the project,” explained Andrew Belser, “FaceAge” director, professor of theatre, and director of the Arts & Design Research Incubator (ADRI).

Programming includes Community Days and Story Circles, both intended to connect older adults and undergraduate students in dialogue during and after viewing the exhibition. The programs will take place throughout October and November (see full schedule below).

The programming begins on October 11 with the first Community Day event, when residents of The Village at Penn State will visit the exhibition.

“As we’ve been promoting “FaceAge,” more groups are becoming interested, including retirement communities. We are looking forward to the residents’ upcoming visit,” said Amy Lorek, community engagement director for “FaceAge” and research and outreach associate at Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging.

Also on October 11, Belser, Lorek, and Caroline McDermott, “FaceAge” research director, will give a public lecture, “FaceAge: A Transdisciplinary Template for Research and Engagement,” at noon in the Art Alley.

The Story Circles, 90-minute facilitated discussions, will be held on four different dates during the installation, beginning Oct. 17. They will be facilitated by Lorek and Bill Doan, professor of theatre and ADRI affiliated faculty member.

“FaceAge promises to be powerful and personal,” said Lorek. “We’ve designed the continuing education component to be layered. People can opt into the depth of experience they choose. It begins with visiting the exhibition and seeing the video.”

The subsequent layers, according to Lorek, begin with the Community Days, followed by the Story Circles, and conclude with the opportunity to take a course based on “FaceAge” in the spring.

In the one-credit course, “FaceAge: Perspectives on Aging,” taught by Lorek, traditional and non-traditional students will engage in in-depth conversation to exchange perspectives on aging. Throughout the eight-week course, students will spend two hours a week  learning together about different perspectives and generational cohorts. Pairs of students will then create a story, video, or podcast as their final project. The course is cross-listed with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) courses to recruit older students to promote intergenerational exchanges.

According to Belser, the response to “FaceAge” has been overwhelming. “As an artist, it’s gratifying to experience this project’s capacity to generate empathy, and reach across divides between people.”

“FaceAge” partners include the Arts & Design Research Incubator, Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, Center for Healthy Aging, Penn State College of Health and Human Development, Penn State College of Nursing, and the Department of Film Studies at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.

"FaceAge" will be on display in the Art Alley through Dec. 9. Information and materials about upcoming events and engagement opportunities will be available in the exhibition space.

For more information or to schedule a group activity, visit

For more information about the “FaceAge: Perspectives on Aging” course, contact Amy Lorek at, 814-863-7903.

Schedule of Events

Story Circle Dates:

Monday, October 17, 2:30-4 p.m.

Tuesday, October 25, 9:30-11 a.m.

Monday, November 7, 2:30-4 p.m.

Tuesday, November 15, 9:30-11 a.m.

Community Days:

The Village at Penn State Day – Tuesday, October 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Senior Center Day – Thursday, October 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Day – Monday, November 14, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.                                                                                   

Juniper Village at Brookline Day – Tuesday, November 15th, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Foxdale Village Day – December TBA


Last Updated October 07, 2016