Master Class

Creativity is often considered the province of the young alone.

Perhaps it’s because we’re accustomed to seeing 20-something pop stars and actors fawned over as paragons in their fields. Perhaps it’s because for centuries we’ve idolized artists – from Mozart to James Dean – who died before their time. And perhaps we’ve even listened to artists themselves, who lament their lost youth. “Memories, impressions, and emotions from your first 20 years on earth are most writers’ main material; little that comes afterward is quite so rich and resonant,” novelist John Updike wrote when in his 70s. “By the age of 40, you have probably mined the purest veins of this precious lode; after that, continued creativity is a matter of sifting the leavings.”

It’s true that some artists burn out at a young age. Yet some continue to find pure veins of creativity well past 40 – into their sixties, seventies, and beyond. They embody the truth that art can transcend age, the truth that wisdom and experience can be an artist’s greatest resources. The three local legends profiled here – a dancer, a musician, and a visual artist – each have made creativity their life’s work. They are the masters, and we can learn much from listening to them.