In October 2019, the National Guild for Community Arts Education presented the professional development workshop, “Age Equity: The Impact of Ageism on Arts Funding and Programs,” at the 2019 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference: Cultural Intersections in Denver, CO. This workshop featured moderator, Adam Johnson, Chief Operating Officer at National Guild for Community Arts Education, Annie Montgomery, Director of Education at Lifetime Arts, Eliza Kiser, Director at Pullen Arts Center, and Teresa Bonner, Executive Director at Aroha Philanthropies. This highly interactive workshop addressed, “the last socially acceptable prejudice,” ageism and how it is preventing full access to arts learning and engagement for upwards of twenty percent of the U.S. population.
A graduate of Brown University with a Master’s in Music Performance from New York University, Lifetime Arts Roster teaching artist, Lisa Spraragen is a classical and flamenco guitarist and dancer. In 2018, she taught three Creative Aging programs for us as a part of the National Guild’s Catalyzing Creativity in New York City initiative made possible by the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
Debra Pasquerette, teaching artist and Manager of Community Engagement at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CA, has worked with people of all generations across the community. As part of GRoW @ The Wallis, the center’s lifelong learning initiative, Debra teaches, “Staged Stories,” a Creative Aging workshop series made possible through the National Guild for Community Arts Education and Lifetime Arts. The Wallis was selected as one of 10 nonprofit arts organizations across the country to receive seed grants toward the launch of these innovative arts education programs for older adults in their communities, as part of the Catalyzing Creative Aging 2019-2020 Program.
Since the fall of 2018, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, part of the National Guild for Community Art Education’s Catalyzing Creative Aging Initiative, has continued to see an enrollment increase due to its adult 55+ programs, with offerings like Ukulele Jam, Adult Musical Theater Stage Presence Workshop, Glee Club and more. At the Conservatory, the Creative Aging programming is rolled into the Adult Department, fostering intergenerational learning and performance. The photo gallery includes Conservatory’s recital from spring of 2019 and features their growing student body of 55+ Creative Aging learners.
To meet the growing demand for Creative Aging programming across the U.S., for the first time ever, the National Guild for Community Arts Education introduced a Creative Aging Track at their 82nd national conference held recently in Austin, TX. Lifetime Arts CEO, Maura O’Malley, and Director of Education, Annie Montgomery, helped to guide the development of the new track and traveled to Austin along with our Trainer, Julie Kline, to deliver two sessions; the “Catalyzing Creative Aging Institute,” and “Arts Equity: Combating Ageism to Fuel Creative Aging Programs, Funders and Partnerships.”
In January, the culminating event for, “A Storied Life,” a 12-week digital storytelling workshop, taught by Theresa Dawson, was held at the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) and offered in partnership with The Knolls, a Bethel Community. During the program, eight filmmakers — all aged 55+ — created digital film shorts depicting personal stories of love, loss, and discovery.
Greenwich House has been pivoting many of their live programs to an online format during the crisis. Their teachers are quickly adapting to teaching via Zoom, and have worked with the Greenwich House communications team to post about 40% of their Seniors Online Learning Center classes online. In addition, they asked their members who are creating art at home to submit photos of their work to a virtual art show so that they can share their work with the whole community.
Debra Pasquerette, teaching artist and Manager of Community Engagement at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills CA, teaches “Staged Stories,” a storytelling/memoir program part of GRoW @ The Wallis, the Center’s lifelong learning initiative. Her and her students were preparing for their culminating event when the COVID-19 crisis forced them to cancel. Feeling compelled to find a way to stay connected, Debra extended the curriculum beyond the original 8 weeks to allow for additional meetings via Zoom.