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New Creative Aging Program for the arts announced

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Age Strong Commission

Arts programming throughout the City will be tailored to older adults.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh along with the Age Strong Commission and the Office of Arts and Culture today announced a partnership with Goddard House Community Initiatives and Lifetime Arts that brings free arts programming to older adults in Jamaica Plain, Mattapan and the South End. The Creative Aging Program (CAP) expands creative arts education for older adults, broadens awareness of teaching artists, and demonstrates the benefits and efficacy of integrating arts into older adult education.

"With this program, we're looking to increase arts equity and access for our older residents, while giving them opportunities that decrease social isolation," said Mayor Walsh. "There are proven health and social benefits that come from programming like this, and we look forward to tapping into the creativity and talents of older Bostonians with this pilot." 

The pilot consists of three arts courses: ceramics, painting, and jewelry making. The City reached out to older adults in Jamaica Plain, Mattapan and the South End - communities with high percentages of seniors from groups that have historically lacked equitable access to these types of art opportunities.

"I did some painting in my younger years, and now I'm just getting back into it," said Quinton Wilkins, 69, from Jamaica Plain. "I'm learning that there's so many talented artists out there. These classes help me get inspired."

Introducing more accessible, free, and culturally-responsive arts learning for Boston's older adults is part of the City of Boston's first cultural plan released in 2016, Boston Creates. Lifetime Arts trained City staff and Teaching Artists to address implicit biases related to aging, and explain how to properly design older adult educational programming. As a result, 24 artists have been added to the City registry of teaching artists, who are trained to work with older adults. 

"Lifetime Arts has been honored to partner with Goddard House Community Initiatives and the City of Boston through this innovative public-private partnership," said Maura O'Malley, co-founder and CEO of Lifetime Arts. "Together we are advancing creative aging and collectively catalyzing a new and effective programming approach that enriches the lives of Boston's older adults."

"Goddard House is pleased to collaborate with the Age Strong Commission and the other partners to launch the Creative Aging Program, which will provide older adults with new opportunities for creative expression through arts learning workshops offered in Jamaica Plain, Mattapan and the South End," said Candace Cramer, CEO of Goddard House. "Many older adults, even those living in densely populated urban communities, experience social isolation and loneliness. We look forward to fulfilling our collective mission to empower older adults to thrive creatively while also fostering new relationships and strengthening ties to their community."

Creative aging programs are expanding across the country. This new initiative positions the City to meet older Bostonians' growing, diverse needs by partnering with organizations that are at the forefront of scaleable, sustainable arts programming. 

Mayor Walsh recently announced the launch of the first Age Strong Commission public awareness campaign, aimed at revealing implicit biases around aging and dispelling stereotypes about older adults to promote more positive messaging around aging. The campaign launch comes after the City's Age Strong Commission updated its name and brand earlier this year, and redefined its mission and values reflecting a growing trend and national movement towards more inclusive aging language and actions.

For more information about the program, please visit www.boston.gov/age-strong or call 617-635-4366

Jamaica Plain Mattapan South End