When the Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness opens for its first day of business on Thursday, Oct. 26, it will become a place unlike any other in the US. The facility on West 30th Street will bring together 21 local health care providers, arts organizations, and nonprofits in one space. The goal is to foster community connections, help people celebrate every stage of life, and promote aging with dignity.
Senior Services, Inc. spearheaded the project after a community survey of older adults identified gaps in access to health care, arts programming, and opportunities to socialize with people of different ages. T. Lee Covington, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, told WStoday that discussion about a center began four years ago.
“We began talking about ‘how can we bring generations together? How can we engage people in arts and creativity — activities that promote and support health and wellness?’” Covington said.
The Creative Connections capital campaign launched in July of 2021. It raised more than $28 million dollars from the community for construction and programming costs. It took about six months to determine the ten acres owned by Senior Services — at the corner of Shorefair Drive and 30th Street — was the best place to build the center. Over 200 people attended the groundbreaking on April 27, 2022. Construction began that summer.
“It really built on all the strengths of this great community. You think about higher ed, health care, arts and creativity, human services organizations — this is just a really unique community that has so many strengths and this project really brings all that together in one space,” Covington said.
Nine collaborators that have signed 10-year leases will have dedicated space inside the 62,000 sqft building. Other partners will utilize 21,000 sqft of shared space and will pay a portion of shared operational costs. Some of the features of the new building include:
- Main Street Atrium that resembles a small town streetscape
- A clinic and research space focused on healthy aging and Alzheimer’s prevention
- Meeting + classroom space equipped with nearly $800,000 worth of technology
- Space for Winston-Salem State University Health Sciences students to work with older adults and experience health care scenarios through virtual simulations
- A gallery theater that can seat 180 attendees
- A pottery studio and a kiln to fire pieces on site
- A full demonstration kitchen
- A child development center for Family Services’ Head Start + Early Head Start programs
- More space and new amenities in Senior Services’ Elizabeth and Tab Williams Adult Day Center
A space for community
The facility will be called the Generations Center. The public can take a tour and see the amenities at a ribbon cutting and open house on Friday, November 17. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 40 different activities will take place in all spaces. A showing of “Singing in the Rain” will be held in the theater space until 4 p.m. A website with a full calendar of community events is in the works and will be operational at the beginning of 2024.