Leaders of aging services programs and organizations who want to connect with the arts field should focus on the local level, specifically on agencies that conduct community arts education programs, are experienced at working in partnership, and employ professional teaching artists. Americans for the Arts maintains an Online Field Directory of local, state, regional, and national arts organizations. The following organizations are good places to start when seeking participants, partners, and information:
Community schools of the arts
Resources: These nonprofit, nondegree-granting, community-based institutions offer open access to quality arts instruction by professional faculty. Many are represented by the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, which promotes best practices, provides professional development, and develops policy. More than 40 percent of members offer programs designed for older adults; most enroll older adults in lessons or classes; and more than 15,000 professional artists are employed as teachers, making these institutions a good resource for teaching artists. Community schools of the arts are also adept at partnering with nonarts agencies to deliver arts programs.
For information: Click “Find a School” on the guild’s Web site, and contact the program director.
Arts and aging programs
Resources: Potential partners and models for effective practices and program design, located nationwide
Resources: Groups such as choruses and orchestras typically include teaching artists as performers or conductors and, like community schools of the arts, have a mandate to connect with all segments of the community. Community arts groups in dance, theater, the visual arts, and other disciplines are also potential partners.
Various national organizations have expertise relevant to arts and aging programs:
Arts and healthcare programs: The Society for the Arts in Healthcare provides professional development, consulting, and grants that promote the use of the arts to enhance the healthcare experience.
Community livability:Partners for Livable Communities has programs and initiatives that demonstrate how cultural resources can contribute to community design, among other livability issues. An aging in place initiative provides workshops, grants, and a guide to help state, local, and community decision makers better meet the needs of an older population.
Private funding:Grantmakers in the Arts has an extensive searchable database of articles, transcriptions from presentations and panels, and book reviews.
Arts education and various artistic disciplines (e.g., theater, media, dance, chamber music, performing arts centers, poets, writers, folk arts, and museums): The National Endowment for the Arts has a comprehensive list.