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Creative Aging

Older adults have vital contributions to make to society as creators and community members. Abundant evidence shows that arts participation improves the emotional well-being of older adults, supports good health, strengthens social bonds, and brings a heightened experience of purpose and joy to our lives as we mature. However, older adults all too often experience the effects of ageism, isolation and limited access to meaningful arts learning experiences. State arts agencies can help to address these gaps by facilitating creative aging programming as an antidote to isolation, an affirmation of life and a pathway to flourishing for older adults.

State Arts Agency Program Examples

Recommended Resources

Evaluation and Research

States Leading Creative Aging Grants

In collaboration with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, NASAA is making available up to $700,000 in grant funding to help state arts agencies strengthen meaningful arts learning experiences for older Americans. Grant funds for this initiative can be used to build on existing creative aging programs led by state arts agencies as part of the Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging initiative.

Grant Guidelines

Grant Guidelines FAQs

Grantee Information (password required)

For more information, contact NASAA Arts Learning Projects Director Susan Oetgen.

Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging Grants

As part of our Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging initiative with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, NASAA awarded $1,440,400 in grant funding to state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the country to grow their creative aging programs, practices and partnerships. State and jurisdictional arts agencies share a public mandate to make the social, educational, economic and health benefits of the arts available to all residents, especially underserved populations. Older Americans are an essential part of this commitment.

Our cohort of 36 grantees comprised 64% of all state and jurisdictional arts agencies, and included every region of the country, five out of six jurisdictions, and state arts agencies of every budget size. Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging grant funded activities took place between March 1, 2021 – August 31, 2022.

Please visit Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging to learn more about this initiative.

For more information, contact NASAA Arts Learning Projects Director Susan Oetgen.

Professional Development

With Gratitude

NASAA expresses sincere appreciation to E.A. Michelson Philanthropy for its partnership as well as financial support of the States Leading Creative Aging and Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging initiatives. We salute E.A. Michelson Philanthropy’s visionary advocacy on behalf of the creative capacity of adults 55 and better. NASAA also thanks Lifetime Arts for its leadership and expertise in propagating exemplary creative aging practices nationwide.




From top:
Young@Heart Chorus; photo courtesy of Young@Heart. Explore their concert footage on YouTube
Photo courtesy of Virgin Islands Council on the Arts
Teaching artist Sangue Mboup with participants and family members after a New Jersey workshop in African drumming; photo by Erik James Montgomery
Playwriting with the Delaware Theatre Company; photo by Moonloop Photography
Utah artists at Sunshine Terrace; photo by Maria Ellen Huebner
A creative aging design class at ARCHbeta; photo by Ryan Leighton, courtesy of Maine Arts Commission
Delaware Art Museum’s adult education program; photo courtesy of Delaware Division of the Arts