Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

The arts and culture play an intricate role in our programmatic offerings at the Center for Modern Aging, Princeton. Whether you’re seeking to learn a new skill, explore a captivating hobby or engage in enlightening experiences, CMAP presents a diverse array of options tailored to every individual’s journey. For a general outline of the types of programs and classes we offer, you’re welcome to browse our selection below.


Word lovers unite

At different times, CMAP will bring in faculty instructors and authors to teach different classes on topics in literature, as well as offering writing courses and workshops. Please see below for some examples of courses we have offered in the past.


Book Clubs

A Novel Idea

A Novel Idea offers an engaging forum for readers to discuss a carefully curated novel with leader, Helen Burton. Come for the joy of reading, camaraderie and fun.

Club De Lectura En Español

Sumérgete en maravillosas historias, disfruta de conexiones literarias y participa en amenas discusiones. ¡Todos son bienvenidos a ser parte de esta comunidad de lectores entusiastas! Te invitamos a nuestro club de lectura en español, donde el libro elegido es ‘Como agua para chocolate’, de Laura Esquivel. Inscripción requerida, sin costo.

Spanish Book Club

Immerse yourself in wonderful stories, enjoy literary connections and engage in lively discussions. Everyone is welcome to be a part of this community of enthusiastic readers! We invite you to our Spanish book club, where the chosen book is “Como agua para chocolate” (Like Water for Chocolate), by Laura Esquivel.


Literature Lectures

Turn-of-the-Century American Women’s Ghost Stories

This short course explores the history and development of ghost stories written by American women during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—highlighting cultural phenomena and influential authors of that era.

Introducing the Gothic

This short course introduces students to the history and development of Gothic literature, from the eighteenth century to today. Covering early Gothic (Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and its predecessors), Victorian Gothic (Bram Stoker’s Dracula and other monsters) and Post-War Gothic (Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House on page and screen), it explores some of the ways in which Gothic literature reflects, shapes and helps us deal with society’s fears and phobias.


Writing Classes & Workshops

How to Write Playfully

In this six-week creative writing class offered via Zoom, we will read playful and inventive poetry and short-short fiction (also known as flash fiction). We will unlock our creativity through fun forms like one hundred-word stories, found poems and micro memoirs. And we will employ writing prompts and exercises to write playful drafts of our own in class. No previous experience necessary. Just bring an enthusiasm for reading, an open mind and a willingness to share your work!

Memoir Writing

Offered in various forms throughout the year, most of our Memoir Writing Workshops allow participants to tell their stories—the big ones, the little ones and everything in between. The class includes weekly writing prompts, along with tips and techniques to consider as your write. During each session, participants will share their pieces and get feedback from a supportive group of fellow writers. No memoir writing experience necessary, just a willingness to write, learn and share.

Show, Don’t Tell

“Show, don’t tell” is the single piece of advice that writers are given most often to help them craft compelling, evocative writing that captivates readers’ imaginations and keeps them reading. But what exactly does this mean? In this writing workshop, we will learn what “showing” is, how to do it, and how to spot “telling” in our writing. We will focus on showing through highlighting actions and reactions, writing vivid descriptions and crafting crisp dialogue. Writers are encouraged to share their in-class writing in a supportive community of like-minded individuals. Novice and more experienced writers can benefit from this course as can writers of different genres.


Dive into the joy of learning and socializing through hobbies and passions.

Our various visual arts classes are offered throughout the year to meet different interests and skill levels. Some examples of the classes and workshops we’ve offered in the past are below.


Visual Arts Classes

Figure Drawing
Open to all skill levels, this class will focus on all aspects of figure drawing, including basic drawing techniques, anatomy for artists and portrait drawing. Students will work together online, in sketchbooks with a pencil. Classes include short demonstrations and draw-a-longs, with time for individual feedback. Long poses are assigned each week for additional personal enrichment and critiqued in class the following week.

Mastering the Art of Painting
For intermediate painters, this eight-session class emphasizes the components of the creative painting process.



Creating with Clay
Make your very own clay creations like succulent planters with self-hardening clay and learn various hand building techniques such as slab building, coiling and carving. No prior experience is needed.


Lights. Camera. Action.

Whether you prefer to be on stage or sitting in the audience, CMAP offers a variety of performances throughout the year.


OnStage Seniors

The OnStage Senior program is a transformative initiative dedicated to crafting compelling documentary theater performances that delve into the rich narratives of our local community. By spotlighting the life stories and experiences of individuals over the age of fifty-five, our ensemble members bring these captivating performances to a diverse array of venues, including theaters, libraries, schools, and senior centers. Through their artistic expression, they skillfully weave together poignant tales, generating a profound impact that resonates with audiences of all ages. By celebrating the cherished memories and unique experiences of seniors, the program sparks a sense of delight, insight, and affirmation, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the collective wisdom and legacy of our older generations.

OnStage Seniors is a year-long program. New participants are invited to join in the early fall, when OnStage holds an interest session and auditions.


Now Showing

We show a variety of films, operas, television shows, and radio broadcasts throughout the year. Below is a small sampling of the many “Now Showing” offerings available to you.

Double Features
Why get just one film, when you could have two! On special occasions we’ll show back to back films that typically share a connection like Zero Hour and Airplane.

First Friday Film
On the first Friday of every month, we show a film in our Nancy S. Klath Center for Lifelong Learning or virtually over Zoom. Participants can choose to attend either in-person or virtually.

Summer at the Opera
Summer is for the Opera at CMAP. We show varying operas spanning across the centuries in all different languages and styles.

Radio Hour
Experience the old broadcast shows through Radio Hour at CMAP—every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 4pm.

Television Shows
Catch up on popular streaming shows without the commitment of monthly subscriptions! Examples of shows include Ted Lasso, Only Murders in the Building, Wednesday and The Crown.


Put on your dancing shoes

Immerse yourself in the rhythm of live music and enlightening lectures at CMAP. Explore a taste of our music-focused offerings below.


Music Based Lectures

The Dizzying Perfection of the String Quartet
Join instructor Brenda Leonard on a captivating journey through the history and evolution of the String Quartet. Explore its creation, study famous composers, and immerse yourself in the beauty of their music.

The History of Classical Music
Traverse time through the exploration of classical music in this six-week course. Starting in the era of Western Art music, you will get a historical overview, learn about the birth of opera and orchestra, and explore the evolution of classical form through the twenty-first century.


Live Music & Performances

Music on the Patio
Summer at CMAP means sun, jams and refreshing snacks to be enjoyed on our patio at the Nancy S. Klath Center for Lifelong Learning. Live musical performances allow participants to sit back, relax and even sing along.

Concerts and Performances
Typically, once a quarter, we will invite different musical guests to come and perform concerts/recitals for our participants. Previous performances include a classical music duet with the NJ Symphony Players and the musical theatre talents of Keith Spencer.

June 24, 2024
  • • 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    The Wonders of Wordplay


    A weekly cooperative style poetry workshop.

    Read More
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“OnStage has given me so much joy in my first year with the group. I have learned to have more confidence in myself and love being a part of this connection to the community”




Your generosity is truly the fuel that empowers CMAP to change lives and to help older adults discover their “why!”

We invite you to donate to the 2023–2024 Annual Giving Campaign by June 30 to help us reach our goal.