Marian Anderson, the singer, and Pablo Picasso, the painter, lived 91 years. Jazz pianist Eubie Blake lived 100 years and three days. All three stuck with their art well into their old age, and this may have extended their lives by ten to 20 years. The rest of us has to eat carrots and inhale fresh air every day to reach the age of Methuselah, because old dogs doesn't learn new tricks -- or do they? In America, more and more senior citizens get themselves a paintbrush or a song book, even if they haven't been active in the arts since their high school days. This may have to do with an optimistic, consumer-oriented attitude that has always been characteristic of Americans. The leisure industry and politicians have already adjusted to the new wave, trying to read from the lips of active senior citizens. They know that people who blossom in their old days are also active outside the arts -- they buy, and they vote. In any case, older artists can be role models who help younger people overcome their own fears of old age. Things that happen in the United States are likely to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and that's why Georg Hirsch has visited a host of artistically active senior citizens in America.
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