Stay young with a dose of art

There is no known cure for getting older. We are all doing it, one year at a time.

The good news is, science is documenting evidence that the creative arts are part of a healthy life for older adults. Participating in creative arts can help maintain quality of life amid deteriorating physical health, social isolation, loss of loved ones and life transitions. In particular, recent research (details at shows that singing improves mental health and perceived quality of life, playing a musical instrument reduces the risk of dementia and visual arts practice generates an increase in social engagement, psychological health and self-esteem.

February is a great month to participate in creative arts with the Austin Area Commission for the Arts.

Dip a toe into song writing waters by attending “Song Writing with Rogue Valley,” a free workshop at the Austin Public Library at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5.

Rogue Valley. Photo by Cameron Wittig.

Rogue Valley, a Minneapolis-based band named after a region in southern Oregon, plays music navigating the terrain of love, loss and wanderlust. Ben Stiller’s 2014 film, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” featured their song “The Wolves and The Ravens.”

The band is comprised of songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Chris Koza, drummer Luke Anderson, keyboardist/vocalist Linnea Mohn, guitarist/vocalist Peter Sieve and bassist/vocalist Paul Engels.

Rogue Valley is an artist-in-residence in Austin because of grant funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board. You can catch their stage show at the Paramount at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Get in-depth with drawing by attending a two-session series “Introduction to Drawing Buildings and Barns” with Bonnie Broitzman on Feb. 15 and Feb. 22.

Bonnie Broitzman. Photo provided

Broitzman is an established Albert Lea artist who will present a three-day watercolor master class in March. This class will give students basic perspective exercises to help capture barns and buildings quickly and confidently.

If buildings and barns aren’t your thing, consider drawing human subjects at “Charcoal Portraits” with Katie Hunerdosse on Feb. 20. Hunerdosse will explore the basics of drawing the landscape of the human face. Using provided charcoal and related tools, explore how different values and textures can mimic human features and how it translates to paper.

Finally, musicians will want to mark the calendar for the ArtRocks Open Jam session on Feb. 23, returning after a winter hiatus. The new season starts on Jan. 26.

The AACA house band will set up and back all musicians or groups. Players can bring their guitars, basses, horns, sticks, keyboards and voices. ArtRocks events are open to friends and family members of jammers, as well as the public. No need to play or perform; listening is an art too. Admission is free. Donations welcome.

Check our website for more opportunities to participate in the arts and stay young at heART.

Coming soon at the Paramount Theatre

•Jan. 24: $5 movie, “A Clockwork Orange,” 7:30 p.m. [Adult content]

•Jan. 31: $5 movie, “His Girl Friday,” 7:30 p.m.

•Feb. 10: $5 movie, “Rogue Valley, 7:30 p.m.

Coming soon at the ArtWorks Center

•Jan. 26: ArtRocks Jam Session, 7:30 p.m.

•Jan. 27: $5 Kids Studio: Winter Watercolor, 10:30 .m.

•Feb. 3: $5 Kids Studio, 10:30 a.m.