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99-year-old Philly artist shows how fine arts keeps him young

99-year-old Philadelphia artist example of how fine arts keeps you young
99-year-old Philadelphia artist example of how fine arts keeps you young 02:14

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A 99-year-old Philadelphia artist will be featured at an art exhibit opening at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Research shows staying active and being engaged helps people live longer, and healthier lives. 

Being involved in the arts can be especially beneficial. 

Painting is his passion. Philip Cohn's world is surrounded by his art. 

"I lose myself in it," Cohn said. 

He's been at it for decades, creating art that will be featured at the Penn Academy of Fine Arts, a PAFA exhibition called "My Life's Work." 

"The important big deal is me getting in front of the canvas and working today, that's the big deal, not the show," Cohn said.

Maybe the big deal is Phil is 99 years old and still painting every day at his home studio in Philadelphia. 

"I feel OK, good. I feel good," Cohn said. 

Longevity depends on a lot of different things, including genetics and luck. And there's research that shows frequent engagement in artistic activities reduces mortality rates by 31%. 

Benefits of art include: 

  1. Activating the brain reward center
  2. Reducing stress and anxiety
  3. Boosting mood and self-esteem
  4. Providing a sense of accomplishment

"I'm very much influenced by the Italians. Because Italians deal with people, and they have a history," Cohn said. 

After World War II, Phil attended PAFA and then traveled a lot. Always with his sketch pad that turned into hundreds, probably thousands of paintings. 

"Everything is from nature," Cohn said. 

Phil says he doesn't have a specific style, he just paints things he sees and loves. A passion that's helped keep him productive for almost a century.

"My work, I guess, my work, I always had something to do," Cohn said. "I'm lucky, I'm a lucky man." 

An opening reception for Phil will be held Friday at PAFA. For more information on the exhibition, click here.

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