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Person dancing outside with text "Western New York Tele-Stories Project: Creative Gifts"

Western New York Tele-Stories: Creative Gift Sharing

Our most recent round of Tele-Stories recently came to a close in Western New York, and we are eager to share some of the beautiful artwork that has been inspired by the phone calls between TimeSlips Community-Based Artists and the elders they were able to connect with through this project. 

This latest Tele-Stories project was generously funded by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. As a part of the first Western New York Tele-Stories project, TimeSlips partnered with Hearts & Hands, an organization that connects frail or vulnerable older adults in Erie and Niagara counties with needed services. 

Four local artists were matched with up to seven elders and facilitated creative conversations and activities with them by phone. This talented group of interdisciplinary artists from across Western New York, were all trained and certified in TimeSlips, receiving additional training on how to facilitate creative engagement remotely, by phone.

Throughout the eight weeks of calls, artists collaborated with their “Tele-Buddies” to work towards a beautiful creative gift that is shared back to the participants, and the broader community. These gifts were made by each artist with words, ideas, and inspiration from the elders that they worked with. Today we share the work created by two of the four artists, showcasing the words of elder participants they were paired with. Stay tuned as we share the other two artist’s gifts next month!

Sukanya Burman

Sukanya presents a dance film that is a culmination of the answers to the “Beautiful Questions” provided by the participants in this collaboration. In this film, the content of these answers is explored through dance movements in different locales: in the mountains, by the lake, and in the city.

Christina Muscatello

Christina collaborated with her participants to create small books of poetry that feature words inspired by the conversations they had. Each book begins with an artist statement of each elder, setting the tone for their work in the following pages. Each elder also received a framed drawing that Christina drew, based on one of the poems they wrote.

To read through these poems, please click on the links below.





Mary Ellen

Robert G

Robert R

Please stay tuned for more Creative Gifts to be shared in July from this project!

Artist Bios

Sukanya Burman (She/Her) is a dancer and choreographer born and raised in Kolkata, India. She began her formal dance training in Bharatanatyam at the age of 3 and trained in Kathak, modern, contemporary dance, and ballet. Sukanya holds a Diploma in Contemporary Dance and Movements Arts. She toured nationally and internationally as a repertoire member of Rhythmosaic Dance Company, later moving to NYC to pursue an Independent Training Program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Since then she has taught classes and performed extensively both in the US and in India. She is a guest faculty at the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet and a guest performer at the Indorican Multicultural Dance Project. She recently founded Sukanya Burman Dance Company in Jamestown, NY. Sukanya is interested in exploring socio-cultural discourse with an emphasis on bridging the gap between Western modern and Indian classical dance. She also hopes to raise awareness, accessibility and provide opportunities in dance through arts education. Sukanya is currently a resident artist in the Curriculum in Motion Institute at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Christina Muscatello (She/Her/Hers) is an Art Educator and Creative Aging practitioner, who specializes in drawing out the innate creativity of people living with memory loss and older adults. Since 2005, she has worked with hundreds of people living with memory loss—learning, developing, and refining thoughtful ways to make the arts accessible for them along the way. She is the Founder of Memory Maker Consulting, where she offers private and small group Creative Sessions for people living with memory loss, as well as Creative Aging Workshops and Trainings for museums, care communities, and other organizations. She is also the Co-Founder of the Memory Maker Project, a grassroots non-profit project offering free art and advocacy programs for older adults, people living with memory loss, their loved ones, and anyone seeking an intergenerational experience. She loves a good story and deeply believes that everybody has one to tell.

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