“We’ve done poetry slams in wine bars where young people go to have yuppie food,” Carpenter says. “They see this group of 70- and 80-year-olds get up and start reading poetry. It just breaks the mold.”
In 2005, Carpenter and Huskey teamed up to develop an independent living community that centered around the arts rather than old age. At the now-thriving Burbank Senior Artists Colony, amenities include studios, performance spaces and a sculpture garden. There’s an independent film company, a music program and an intergenerational arts program with the Burbank Unified School District.
When the colony opened, it made the cover of the Sunday New York Times.
“It was the most emailed article for three weeks in the world,” Carpenter says. “I was shocked.”
He realized the colony was giving people a different way to think about their own old age. The story’s popularity wasn’t about, “Would I put my mom there?” he says. It was about, “Wow, I could live there.”