NASAA Notes: April 2024

April 3, 2024

Delaware: Access Creative Aging

Participants engage in a workshop the Selbyville, Delaware, Public Library. Image by Moonloop Photography

The Delaware Division of the Arts, in collaboration with the Delaware Division of Libraries and Lifetime Arts, has been committed to promoting creative aging across the state through innovative programs. The Access Creative Aging project, launched in April 2021, aimed to promote artistic expression and social interaction and to enhance mental and physical health through meaningful, community based engagement in the arts for Delaware residents aged 55 and older.

Over the initial 17 months, the project demonstrated its success, engaging over 100 participants in eight-week programs at eight libraries totaling more than 140 programming hours, led by professional teaching artists spanning various artistic disciplines. Feedback from participants, librarians and teaching artists highlighted the program’s significance and impact. An especially positive outcome was that 92% of surveyed participants reported an increase in their self-confidence in learning new skills and in their sense of accomplishment. The Division of the Arts exceeded its initial pilot-year goals, and the success of the inaugural year resonated with Delaware’s secretary of state and the director of the Division of Libraries. As a result, special one-time funding was secured to continue supporting creative aging programs at libraries through May 2023.

Recognizing escalating demand for their aging programs, positive program outcomes, and a plan to accommodate Delaware’s growing older adult community, the Division of the Arts is spearheading an ambitious expansion under the States Leading Creative Aging program, set to run from 2023 to 2025. Eligible organizations can request up to $4,500 for programs lasting eight weeks, with applications accepted year-round. These grants support programs led by trained teaching artists, and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. This initiative seeks to intensify partnerships with libraries, broaden outreach to community based senior service organizations, and enhance professional development for teaching artists and organizational staff. By 2025, the initiative aims to serve over 400 participants across 20 libraries and three community based organizations, with an expanded network of trained professionals facilitating workshops. Moreover, the creative aging programs align closely with Delaware’s policy priorities, particularly supporting aging-in-place initiatives. Through the promotion of social engagement, cognitive stimulation and emotional well-being, these programs address critical issues such as social isolation and health disparities among older adults. To learn more, contact Delaware Division of the Arts Program Officer, Arts in Education, Sheila Dean Ross.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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