Mid-Year Update from Lifetime Arts

As we reach the half way point in the year we’d like to share with you what has been happening at Lifetime Arts since the end of 2015.


This three-year project, funded primarily by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), has supported 72 Creative Aging workshops in public libraries across the country. The workshops have taken place in a variety of disciplines such as theater, dance, ceramics, poetry, painting, drawing and many more.

Over 1,000 older adults registered for these free programs with almost the same number placed on waiting lists. Over 2,500 people attended 73 public culminating events which consisted of exhibits, readings, performances, and more. To add to the capacity building aspect of this project, we (along with our partner, Westchester Library System), conducted a webinar on sustainability for all of the libraries and library systems taking part in this initiative.

A mid-term evaluation of the project issued by independent evaluators, Touchstone Center for Collaborative Inquiry reported encouraging and informative results. The full report will be issued in early 2017 and will be made is available upon request.,

Here’s what some participants and audience members had to say:

… It has given me an outlet to relax & express my feelings, I was encouraged to be less critical of my attempts. I learned techniques. I never did any work with watercolors before & I loved it. I hope to continue to paint and perhaps, develop into a true artist.”

– Nancy Bellusio, Participant

I saw how older adults have a deeper appreciation of music, movement and culture and they add a richer level of expression and performance. It was very beautiful and moving to see the joy and pride in their execution. Their eyes were twinkling and full of spirit. It was very touching to see the role reversal in the adult children watching their parents’ performance and the wonder and amazement in the grandchildren and younger generation as they watched their elders. Thank you for this program.”

– Reyna Bianca, Audience Member

Take a look at one of our Creative Aging programs at the United Senior Citizens Center of Sunset Park in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library!


Annie Montgomery joined the Lifetime Arts team in January as our first Director of Professional Development. Annie designs and leads trainings for artists, arts councils, libraries and other Creative Aging stakeholders.  Earlier this year, we welcomed two new board members: Fatima Perkins, former Adult Services Manager and Director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Community Outreach & Advocacy, Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, in Cleveland Ohio; and Catherine Guzman, Business Analyst, MTA NYC Transit Authority.



Cuyahoga Pic

In order to help identify important issues and address gaps in the field, Lifetime Arts conducted three national surveys. In conjunction with last year’s survey, Teaching Artist Training in Creative Aging: A National Survey, we’ve released the results of our second survey: Creative Aging and State Arts Agencies: Program Support and Teaching Artist Training. Later this year, in cooperation with the National Guild for Community Arts Education, we will publish the results of the first ever Creative Aging teaching artist survey. Together these surveys underscore the need for resources, training, and funding to support teaching artists, help organizations develop new programming approaches for older adults and strengthens the role of SAAs in furthering this work.

Lifetime Arts has been engaged by Aroha Philanthropies to provide technical assistance for a national initiative: Seeding Artful Aging. Over 200 organizations from over 40 states responded to Aroha’s invitation with a letter of inquiry requesting support to launch new Artful Aging Programs. Our expert staff have been working with the almost 50 organizations from both the arts and senior service sectors invited to submit full applications. We’re providing guidance on program design, budgeting and Artful Aging implementation. In October, Aroha Philanthropies will convene a multi-day training in Minneapolis for the final 15 grantees – with Lifetime Arts providing presentations and guidance on the nuts and bolts of instructional arts programming for older adults. The Artful Aging projects will be implemented during 2017.

Following their successful participation in Creative Aging in America’s Libraries, Cuyahoga County Public Library (Ohio) has allocated funding to sustain Creative Aging programs in 10 new branch libraries this year. Lifetime Arts is working with Cuyahoga’s Adult Services librarians to design and implement the best possible projects for this fall.


We are proud that organizations across many sectors seek our advice and routinely invite us to share our expertise and encourage continual advancement of Creative Aging best practices.  So far this year, we’ve shared what we’ve learned over these past nine years with a variety of audiences.

Our CEO, Maura O’Malley, presented our work as part of a panel on arts and aging at Philanthropy New York this past January; and in March, she was a featured “thought leader”  for Grantmakers in the Arts’ Forum on Artists in Community Settings, in St. Louis. Later that month, Maura was a guest presenter at a training conducted by The Creative Center in NYC.

Our Executive Director, Ed Friedman, along with our new Director of Professional Development, Annie Montgomery, conducted a presentation on Creative Aging for artists, hosted by The Bronx Council on the Arts. Later that month, Ed presented our work at a panel dedicated to combating isolation, which was hosted by The Museum of Modern Art’s Prime Time program. In June, Maura, Ed and Annie conducted two artist training workshops for the Brooklyn Arts Council.

The Lifetime Arts staff recently traveled to Troy, NY, to conduct a two day workshop for cultural organizations hosted by the Arts Council of the Capital Region. Two more Training Institutes are coming up in October – sponsored by the Huntington Arts Council and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County – and presented in part with funding from New York State Council on the Arts.

To learn more about our upcoming training institutes, visit our website.


We’ve added 49 new teaching artists to our Roster this year, bringing the total to 189 artists representing 20 states. Our new “Teaching Artist of the Month” web feature profiles a Roster artist each month. On line, we also spotlight teaching artists’ upcoming events and accomplishments such as exhibitions, publications, and productions. Check out this month’s Featured Teaching Artist.


As an extension of the 2015 Training Institute at Lincoln Center, we assigned our first mentorship teams.  Teaching artists who attended our training at Lincoln Center Education last winter were paired with master teaching artists from our Roster in the NYC metro area.

Mentees worked side by side with their mentors through actual residencies in a variety of older adult settings. This intensive field experience, coupled with professional development sessions led by Annie Montgomery and Lifetime Arts staff, built a solid grounding for teaching artists new to Creative Aging. At the completion of the program, all trained Mentees were added to Lifetime Arts’ Roster.


Our Creative Aging in America’s Libraries programs are featured on Programming Librarian, an online periodical published by the American Library Association’s Office of Public Programs.

Next Avenue, the PBS blog focusing on issues for 50+ Americans also featured our library programs in How Library Classes in the Arts Are Changing Aging .

This past April we introduced EdTalks: a monthly blog by our very own Ed Friedman. Enjoy Ed’s reflections on the arts, aging and related issues.

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