You Are Looking at a Happy Man: Older Adults Thrive in Creative Aging Programs

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“You are looking at a happy man!
I am in a good mood, I’m not depressed, I am looking forward to life in general because of this experience.”

— Matthew Carlino, Brooklyn, NY

Creative aging programs use the arts to improve the quality of life for older adults.

In the video below, Mr. Carlino and his friends from the Bay Ridge Library in Brooklyn, NY talk about how participating in our free, fine arts workshops is fun, social, and makes them feel good about life:

Give What You Can, But Please Do Give.

Since 2008, we have engaged thousands of older adults in our programs, connected them to the arts and each other, and sparked new ways of thinking and living.

This game-changing work is redefining what it means to grow older in America.
Please support us as we expand our offerings from 4 to 12 states in 2014.

Make a Gift Today.

To donate by check:

Please make checks payable to Lifetime Arts, Inc. and mail to:

Lifetime Arts, Inc.
81 Centre Avenue, Suite 307
New Rochelle, NY 10801

To donate online:

Visit our Donate page to make a gift via credit card or PayPal.

THANK YOU and best wishes from Lifetime Arts for a happy, healthy holiday season.

$500,000 Federal Grant for Expansion of Creative Aging Programs in 22 Library Systems Across 12 States

SECOND NATIONAL LEADERSHIP GRANT AWARDED TO LIFETIME ARTS & WLS

Westchester County, NY — Lifetime Arts, Inc. and Westchester Library System (WLS) announced today their receipt of a $500,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. Creative Aging in America’s Libraries extends the work of Creative Aging in New York State Public Libraries, which was funded with a $450,000 IMLS National Leadership grant in 2011. This work builds on the past five years of Lifetime Arts’ work with public library systems and teaching artists to improve the lives of older adults through arts instruction.

Designed to improve, expand and sustain creative aging programs in public libraries AND position libraries as community cornerstones for positive aging, the Creative Aging in America’s Libraries project will serve up to 150 librarians in 22 library systems across 12 states who will form the inaugural cohort of Lifetime Arts Affiliates. Major project partners include AARP Foundation and Selfhelp Community Services.

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A recent Lifetime Arts creative aging program at Grove Hall branch of the Boston Public Library

Increasingly recognized as an important contributor to positive aging efforts, the field of creative aging focuses on the beneficial and powerful role of participatory arts education in enhancing the quality of life for older adults. American librarians have lacked arts-based program models, exposure to new knowledge on aging, and the resources required to offer sustainable, interactive programs. Now, with Lifetime Arts’ capacity-building initiative, they will have access to expert technical assistance and peer support necessary to create meaningful programming for the growing and increasingly diverse aging American population.

Creative Aging in America’s Libraries will provide a practical, replicable and sustainable approach for transforming older adult library services to align with new knowledge, societal priorities and collaborative practice. As members of the Lifetime Arts Affiliate Network, librarians will participate in in-depth training, receive ongoing technical assistance, participate in a national peer network and receive support to implement programs in their communities.

The first cohort of Affiliates will include public libraries in: Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe, AZ; Sacramento and San Diego, CA; Boulder and Pikes Peak, CO; Hartford and New Haven, CT; Miami-Dade, FL; Portland, ME; Boston and Somerville, MA; Brooklyn, Westchester and Queens in NY; Cuyahoga and Dayton-Metro, OH; Beaverton City, Cedar Mill and North Plains, OR; Allegheny County and Philadelphia, PA; and Seattle, WA.

Acknowledging the award, Lifetime Arts CEO and co-founder Maura O’Malley said,

“This significant grant from IMLS will help catalyze a major shift in how public libraries across the country respond to the needs and interests of older patrons. Along with our national partners, library colleagues and collaborating artists, we are eager to get to work and begin the institutionalization of creative aging programs across the country.”

Westchester Library System Executive Director Terry Kirchner added,

“Westchester Library System is so pleased to continue to champion creative aging in public libraries. Continued support from IMLS and this national expansion of the Lifetime Arts model is an important milestone for all of us who are concerned with the role of America’s libraries as centers for positive aging.”

About Westchester Library System

The Westchester Library System (WLS) includes 38 member public libraries located throughout the County and is one of New York State’s 23 public library systems. The mission of the Westchester Library System is to ensure that all residents have seamless access to excellent library service throughout Westchester County. For more information, please visit http://www.westchesterlibraries.org.

About Lifetime Arts

Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization working nationally to promote the creation, expansion and sustainability of professionally conducted arts programs for older adults. Lifetime Arts has gained national recognition as a major contributor to the development of creative aging policies, best practices, and information services, artists training resources, technical assistance, and advocacy.

For more information about Lifetime Arts visit www.lifetimearts.org, call (914) 355-2304, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Visit www.creativeagingtoolkit.org to learn how to plan, implement, evaluate and sustain creative aging programs in a public library setting.

Finding Great Teaching Artists for Creative Aging Programs

Valerie Hager, Teaching Artist, Ageless Improv, Lifetime Arts

Creative Aging Roster artist, Valerie Hager.

After people hear about our work, view our videos, and read testimonials from participants, we’re often asked, “How do you find the teaching artists?”

When we launched Lifetime Arts, we called on artists we have known over our 60 collective years of experience working in the arts in the metropolitan NY area. But since we wanted to help build the field of Creative Aging nationwide, we instituted the Lifetime Arts Creative Aging Roster. The Roster is a vetted list of teaching artists qualified to work with older adults teaching sequential arts instruction and providing the opportunity for meaningful social engagement.

What Does the Review Process Entail?

Prospective applicants go through a process which includes submitting resumes detailing their professional experience as an artist and a teacher, a sample lesson plan for an 8-10 week-long workshop, two references who can attest to the applicants effectiveness as a teaching artist, and a statement about why the applicant wants to work in the field of Creative Aging.

Each submission is reviewed by a panel mostly made up of teaching artists with a few arts administrators whose expertise is arts education.

Notes from a Recent Review Panel

Last week, our panelists convened to evaluate the latest round of prospective applicants. The panelists reviewed the qualifications of each teaching artist – not by a formula, but by looking at the whole story their submission package tells about what kind of Creative Aging teaching artist they would be.

The applicants in this pool represented a wide range in terms of both artistic discipline and experience. Some of them sailed right through the process garnering high marks on all aspects of their submissions. The few applicants who were deemed not ready for the Roster lacked the necessary experience or the understanding of sequential instruction and social engagement.

Probably most challenging to the panel were the submissions that indicated some definite potential but just missed the mark on one aspect of their work. The panel carefully crafted their feedback to give these applicants an opportunity to submit additional information that would put their submission over the top, reassure the panel about their qualifications and gain them admittance to the roster.

It was heartening to see the seriousness and rigor shown by the panel through this process, all the while considering the humanity of each applicant. – Ed Friedman