30/09/2014 10:25 BST | Updated 30/11/2014 05:59 GMT

Artists Over 50: The Rise of Second Half Creativity

By the end of the year, there will have been three major exhibitions in Great Britain devoted to the work of artists at the end of their careers - Matisse, Turner and Rembrandt. Yet it wasn't until the middle of the 20th Century, that late life creativity was considered a possibility. We were considered old by the time we were 50 and decrepit and in serious decline by the time we reached 65.

We now debate could 50 be the new 30? 80 the new 50? 90 the new 60? Today people's experience of ageing differs as much as their experiences with adolescence. We have parents and friends who are 80 and older who are active, healthy, engaged with their community, discovering new hobbies, and who are redefining what it means to grow older. We also know 80 year olds who count the hours of each day, with nothing to live for, hoping their next breath will be their last.

You don't have to be creative with a capital "C" to keep your brain healthy and vital. There are many forms of creativity. Writing, cooking, learning a new language or dance routine, making a new friend, volunteering and helping others are all ways to exert a bit of mind bending thinking and doing. It's a great way to enlist the parts of the brain that can benefit from a mental workout. It has been proven, the more diverse an older person's social network, the greater the resistance to infection and disease, and the less the cognitive decline.

The Second Half Centre, a modern day community centre dedicated to improving the lives of all older people, will be hosting The Second Half Career Art Exhibition and Sale. The exhibition is an exciting and inspirational story of transformation and rediscovery of seven artists who all discovered the love of their craft over 50. This talented group is a wonderful example that hopefully will provide inspiration for people who are searching for new ways to develop in the second half of their life.

The government and the NHS have been working hard to promote the importance of tackling social isolation and loneliness to improve older people's well-being and quality of life. Increasing older peoples' participation in society has been a major component of recent UK government policies. Creating community hubs where older people from all social economic backgrounds can come to meet new people, pursue new hobbies, continue to learn, exercise and do all the things needed to make the second half of their life as meaningful as the first half, must become an integral part of the strategy and services the government delivers to our ageing population.

The Second Half Art Exhibition and Sale will be held on Thursday, October 2nd 630-830 by invitation only; Friday, October 3rd 11m to 6 pm, and Saturday morning from 10 am to 1 pm. The Second Half Centre is located in St Charles Hospital, Exmoor Street, London W10 6DZ. This event has been sponsored by The Second Half Foundation (Reg 1141988). All profits go to fund the work of the Second Half Centre. All artwork is for sale. Only cheques and cash accepted.

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