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Evidence demonstrates the powerful impact that the arts can have on the health and wellbeing of older people – enhancing quality of life for people who are seeking to remain fit and well as they age and for people who live with a chronic condition such as dementia or depression.

Health benefits through arts activities, such as dancing and singing, include improved mobility and motor control, improved heart and respiratory function, greater self-esteem and confidence, less reliance on medication and personal care, higher social engagement and beneficial effects on mental health.

Such activities are increasingly important for the Mid North Coast region, which has one of the highest ageing populations in NSW with 32.7% of the region’s population aged 60 years and over. Projections show the Mid North Coast will have the oldest population in Australia by 2021. (ABS Data, 2016 Census).

Our Creative Ageing Feature seeks to provide information to assist those who wish to age creatively, whatever their interest. 

See more about our Creative Ageing Projects

2022 Creative Ageing Festival

The Creative Ageing Festival is an annual celebration promoting the benefits of arts and creative activities for older people.

Creative Ageing Resources

We provide access to resources including creative ageing research and publications for those interested in learning more about the field of creative ageing.

Creative Ageing for All

Creative Ageing for All is our strategic pathway to provide access and participation to creative ageing activities in the Mid North Coast Region.

Creative ageing news

2022 CASP Recipients Announced!

July 20, 2022

We are thrilled to announce the successful recipients of a share in $17,368 funding for Creative Ageing projects through our Country Arts Support Program. Evidence demonstrates the powerful impact that the arts can have on the health and wellbeing of older people and these projects will enrich our communities by providing participatory arts activities that benefit older…

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Renowned Jazz Pianist to Perform with Hastings Choristers

July 3, 2022

  Dr Kevin Hunt, jazz pianist and composer, is the special guest artist at Hastings Choristers’ A Jazzy Afternoon concert, 2.00pm on Sunday July 24th at The Players Theatre – tickets $25 at the door and from the Glasshouse Box office. Kevin has been a regular performer on the Sydney Jazz scene since 1979. He…

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FEARLESS FILMS is back for a third season!

February 17, 2022

Now in its Third Season, Fearless Films inspire, challenge, surprise, and entertain us. They are short films about long lives, lived to the fullest without fear. They amplify the voices of people who are often not heard or listened to, striving for broader and more diverse representation of those who have been pushed to the…

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NSW Creative Ageing Framework 2031

April 12, 2021

The NSW Government has released (April 2021) a framework of information and policy guidelines relating to the concept of creative ageing and the many benefits the arts can deliver to older people.  There are many firsts in the 24 page document which can be found at Arts Mid North Coast has produced this summary…

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Creative Arts Therapist Registry

December 2, 2020

Creative Arts Therapy is a form of therapy, and includes disciplines such as art therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, poetry therapy, and psychodrama. Unlike traditional arts expression, the process of creation is emphasised rather than the final product. Creative Arts therapy practice involves the use of imagery, storytelling, dance, music, drama, poetry, movement, horticulture, dreamwork, and visual arts together, in an…

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Musicians in Health delivers online Music program for Seniors and Carers

September 9, 2020

Arts Mid North Coast is excited to be launching the Musicians in Health project – offering online music programs to Seniors and Carers support networks on the Coffs Coast. ‘Musicians In Health’ (previously Musicians in Hospitals) is part of Arts Mid North Coast’s commitment and continuing work in the area of Arts, Health and Wellbeing.…

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Treasured Stories, Poetry and Song

August 26, 2020

A project that brings together technology, historical images, shared moments, meaningful engagement and stimulating conversation especially designed for people living with dementia and their carer or support person. Lisa Hort (Unique Collaborations) has engaged the creative expertise of Graeme Atkins, a local and well-known musician & songwriter with the lived experience of dementia and Internationally recognised…

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Wednesday Morning Group

February 14, 2020

The Wednesday Morning Group is a volunteer collective of spritely seniors, who love to dress up and sing and dance to raise people’s spirits. They primarily perform at nursing homes across the Macleay Valley, with two shows at this years’ Macleay Seniors Festival. We had a chat with president, Gay Pettit to find out a…

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Sing on Q with Sandra Kwa

February 10, 2020

Wingham creative Sandra Kwa is passionate about music and shares this joy with the wider community. She is the musical director of choirs Wingsong, Sing on Q, and the Baraya Wakulda Indigenous Choir. Sandra and her husband Rob Butler own the Queen Street Hall in Wingham which serves as a bustling creative hub, hosting the…

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Creative Ageing Notebook

We gather all the latest research, news and opportunities in the Creative Ageing world. Keep up to date and subscribe below to our Creative Ageing Notebook. Click here to catch up on past issues.

Creative Ageing Directory

Our Creative Ageing Directory provides a list of organisations and groups from all across the Mid North Coast who provide creative activities and events for older people.

There's something for everyone, so get out there and get creative!

Pick your interest and find whats on locally:

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Join a Community Gallery or Group

Many of the Community based art groups and galleries on the Mid North Coast offer tuition as well as the opportunity to exhibit.

They are also a good place to volunteer if you have an interest in art.

Art and Alzheimer’s

Our Regional Galleries each provide Art and Alzheimer programs, as first developed by the National Gallery of Australia, to provide people living with dementia with an opportunity to connect with the world in enriching and life-enhancing ways.  These discussion-based tours of works of art provide intellectual stimulation and social inclusion. Participants are able to contribute knowledge, engage in interpretation, express emotions and recall memories.

For more information contact:

Cultural Companions

Cultural Companions in Port Macquarie-Hastings creates local networks of people interested in arts and culture that will accompany each other to events – like minded people that meet up regularly to go out together as part of a small group. Its aim is to provide increased opportunities for older people to engage with our local vibrant cultural and arts scene.

The PMHC Cultural Companions is free to join. If this sounds like something you might like to join, contact Council’s Volunteer Coordinator on telephone 6581 8111 for more information or visit

Free Galleries

A feature of most art galleries on the Mid North Coast is that entry is normally free with the major galleries only charging for the occasional a major exhibition. There are over 60 galleries in the region and these can be found at

and also in many cafes and wineries:

Our Events Calendar also features all current exhibitions during the year:


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Craft Centres & Groups

Crafts are simply activities involving skill in making things by hand. Many of these are seen as traditional pursuits but there is renewed interest in many of these. A range of groups and activities are available on the Mid North Coast.

The Mens Shed

The modern Men’s Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard that has long been a part of Australian culture. Men’s Sheds are springing up all around Australia and internationally. Not all Men’s Sheds are the same – if you looked inside you might see a number of men making furniture, fixing lawn mowers or making a cubby house for Camp Quality to raffle.

You might see local Elders making traditional weapons or designing arts and crafts. There are at least 25 Sheds on the Mid North Coast.

The quickest way to find your nearest is to go to the Find a Shed locator at

Knit one Purl one

Knitting is one craft that has gone through a major resurgence in interest in recent years. A number of groups now give you the chance to either learn its intricacies or dust off old skills.


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Volunteer at a Museum

Did you know we have over 20 museums on the Mid North Coast and all depend on the passion and contribution of their volunteers.

You can find details of your local museum(s) by visiting

Family History

Joining a local family history group will give you lots of benefits for researching your family history.

You also get to meet others who have a similar interest, may be researching similar areas and families, and those who have lots of knowledge that they are willing to share.


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Dance for Parkinson’s

The Dance for Parkinson’s Australia program has been developed using a model developed in the United States. Dance for Parkinson’s classes engage thought, senses and imagination in the service of movement. Teachers encourage participants to use images, narrative, and musical input to hone control over how they express themselves physically. Active demonstration by professional dancers inspires participants to recapture grace, while guided improvisation fosters creativity.

Currently there is one affiliated group in Port Macquarie:

Take Your Partner

Why not learn the Tango as part of a much broader range of ballroom dances just to have fun and stay fit and connected.

Keep Rockin’ & Rollin’

Keeping Rock & Roll alive across the mid north coast


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Local Film Societies or Clubs

Interested in film then why not join your local Film Society or Club

Visit our Events Calendar anytime to find out the latest film events in the region from Film Festivals to one off screenings.


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Its never too late to learn something new

As life expectancy increases, more attention is being given to the developmental needs of older people through creative engagement and life long learning.


University of the Third Age has member groups across the Mid North Coast that often run arts and creative courses/groups.

For further information in your area contact:

Community Colleges

A community college near you may offer a range of creative courses so check out what they offer as they do vary from term to term.

Below are the contact details of those on the Mid North Coast and some of the courses they may offer.


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Learn to play the Ukulele

All over the world the ukulele has become the favourite challenge for those wanting to connect through music.

A number of opportunities and groups can be found on the Mid North Coast:

Borrow a Ukulele

Port Macquarie Hastings residents can go the Port Macquarie Library and chat to one of the friendly Librarians about how to borrow a free uke kit which includes ukulele, tuner and case.

So far over 120 seniors have participated in this project and a group of them have formed a Ukulele Ensemble

Learn another Instrument

Want to refresh you skills on an instrument you already play or played as a child or take up a new challenge then visit the Arts Mid North Coast Directory of all music teachers in the region.

You can search by local government area.


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Sing Australia

Sing Australia accepts that everyone can sing and it makes no judgement on how well that happens. It is inclusive and welcoming of everyone. It is about making happy connections with people from all walks of life and demographics within groups and through performances.


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Writing Groups

The written word can be a powerful tool of art and creativity. There are a number of writing groups throughout the region where you can share your love of writing or seek to improve your skills. In addition an important resource is the extensive network of libraries throughout the region. Libraries are much more than a place to read; they also stage a range of artistic events from book readings and launches, to workshops and presentations.

Our Libraries

Please check for varied opening hours especially the smaller branch libraries.

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