We're Still Here Traveling Exhibition

Visitors learn what social isolation for older adults feels like, and what creative local solutions look like, in this powerful exhibition created by 186 seniors and advocates.

Inspired by incredible collaborative artworks, over 53,000 visitors explored the exhibition. Then people chose over 7000 "action cards" from the 45 different invitations to donate or volunteer with local agencies to provide solutions to this growing problem.

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Social isolation impacts all of us and is a growing health epidemic in all of our communities. For example, in 2017, in Santa Cruz County, people over 60 who reported feeling lonely saw a 45% increase in their risk of death and in that same year over 1 in 3 seniors in Santa Cruz reported feeling socially isolated. (Source)

Over the course of seven months, a community group of local seniors, advocates, and artists called C3 (the Creative Community Committee) poured their ideas, art, hopes, and stories together to create this inspiring exhibition. C3 created personal artwork about loneliness, brainstormed solutions to build connection and offered their words of wisdom for future generations.

“When we learned about this growing issue affecting senior health and well being, we felt that community and cultural groups like ours could collaborate with local agencies to address it...We’re all about creating connections and hope to ignite stronger links between seniors and the larger local community through this exhibition.”

- Jeff Caplan, Community Engagement Specialist

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In the News

Terming social isolation and loneliness an “epidemic” striking Santa Cruz County’s senior citizens, the Museum of Art & History has put the issue front and center at its downtown gallery for much of the past year.

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"It's not an easy set of stories to confront, but there's no more important set of stories to hear, in terms of confronting the quality of our collective humanity, or lack thereof."

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"A California museum’s new exhibit dedicated to exploring loneliness among senior citizens serves as an example of how to combat the very problem it highlights. By recruiting local seniors to design the exhibit, the museum fostered conversations and prompted participants to forge bonds that helped reduce the very social isolation they were working to illustrate."

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Collaborating with local Tech Companies to build Caring Connections with Older Adults

We worked with a local group of Amazon’s Alexa staff, a team of international engineers and accessibility designers, who enjoyed a deep-dive tour of this local exhibition. Then we hosted a focus group meeting of 25 seniors. Their reflections help designers build the next generation of adaptive technology to help older people feel connected, competent in using technology with ease.

Representative Sponsors for the Exhibition in Santa Cruz County