NASAA Banner Image

New Initiative Expands Creative Aging Nationwide

October 21, 2020

Dear colleagues:

NASAA and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy are pleased to announce Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging, a joint initiative to advance creative aging across the United States.

There couldn’t be a better time to launch an effort of this significance, given the demographic shifts under way in our country. The number of people aged 65 and older will more than double by 2060. Seniors today are living longer, healthier and more active lives, yet many still experience isolation or loneliness, which harms physical and psychological well-being. This was true before COVID-19, but the pandemic has intensified the obstacles many older adults face in staying connected to their communities. And while attitudes about aging are improving, bias and ageism remain powerful forces affecting how older adults are viewed and treated.

In partnership with the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts councils, NASAA and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy are proud to meet these challenges by raising awareness and expanding the scope of creative aging programs nationwide. Rigorous evidence and practical experience demonstrate that arts participation offers a powerful pathway to lifelong learning, joy, social engagement and improved quality of life for older adults. By expanding their creative aging programs, state arts agencies will amplify what older adults can achieve, create and contribute to their communities. With support from NASAA and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, state arts agencies will nurture new programs and partnerships that help older adults to flourish.

Present in all 56 states and jurisdictions, state arts agencies are the most geographically inclusive funding network in the country, poised to take great ideas to scale nationally. Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging will help them elevate the importance of creative aging while activating networks, training teaching artists and expanding state level capacity to serve older adults. NASAA and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy will support these advancements by:

1. providing grants to state arts agencies to deepen or expand creative aging programs at the state level,

2. offering technical assistance and professional development to state arts agencies, including a two-year online Creative Aging Institute, and

3. initiating national and state partnership activities to reinforce support for creative aging as a policy priority.

Through advocacy and strategic investments, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy empowers older adults to discover their creative capabilities and form meaningful connections within their communities. Starting in 2018, NASAA and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy have collaborated to raise awareness about creative aging, conduct research on the creative aging work of state arts agencies, and consult with state arts agencies about opportunities they see to grow their work in this issue area.

For more information about this exciting new initiative, contact NASAA Arts Learning Projects Director Susan Oetgen,

Pam Breaux
President and CEO
Teresa Bonner
Executive Director
E.A. Michelson Philanthropy

Photo: Young @ Heart Chorus in concert with soloist Joyce Dearman. Courtesy of Young @ Heart