Lifetime Arts has stayed true to our mission and expanded our impact in our field in each of the years since our founding in 2008, and 2021 was no exception. This past year, we added 20 new state arts agency partners, and continued work with national, state, and municipal partners, such as the American Alliance of Museums, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education. We delivered hundreds of training hours to more than 800 people across the U.S., and coached 42 partner organizations in 26 states and territories to successfully deliver 116 creative aging programs. We did all of this through the continued, generous support of Aroha Philanthropies, New York State Council on the Arts and Office for the Aging, The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, The New York Community Trust, and The Wyoming Community Foundation. This video has been edited and produced by Jacqueline DuMont, Digital Media Producer.
This lecture, by Professor William E. Haley of the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies, provides an excellent analysis of ageism, how it can affect the mental health of older adults, how it distorts the realities of aging, and how it persists. Professor Haley reviews core stereotypes of older adults and provides evidence to refute those stereotypes such as older adults are not more depressed than young people, they have stronger reservoirs of “crystallized intelligence,” and they are more emotionally resilient. These reserve capacities can help society and have helped older adults even during the current COVID 19 phenomenon. Professor Haley argues for the need to replace negative stereotypes with more positive concepts of aging.
From the report details:
A review of the development of the UK creative aging sector over the past decade, examining how far has it come and considering where it should go next.
In this white paper, Roberts defines cultural engagement as “successfully engaging in an active (music making) or passive (attending a concert) cultural endeavor with others.” She examines the insights of researchers from a variety of disciplines who have studied cultural engagement in the context of participating in a choir, a dramatic workshop, art or craft-making programs. Evidence shows that older adult engagement increases self-efficacy and also improves self-confidence and sense of control. She references an example of a participatory program on Mardi Gras traditions at the Louisiana State Museum’s Cabildo, which demonstrated the value of planning and familiarity with the traditions, interests and needs of local adults. She concludes that “Cultural engagement is a viable, accessible option for connecting communities and working toward the best health possible for older adults.”
The NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing is a broad interdisciplinary initiative designed to showcase the scientific evidence that explains why and how engaging with art, either as maker or user, can help us thrive. A partnership between the Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics and the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine & Society Program, the program engages leading brain scientists, performers, arts educators, and practitioners to “drive the paradigm shift necessary to fully integrate arts and aesthetic experiences into activities that will advance individual and collective health across the planet.” After two years of identifying the state of current research, convening specialists and practitioners, and conducting surveys regarding the needs for a cross-cutting field of NeuroArts, the initiative has published the NeuroArts Blueprint, a roadmap to building the field.
The NeuroArts Blueprint opens with the statement “At the core of being human, the arts are a vibrant path to health, community and possibility.” It reviews current work on brain science, identifies gaps in policies, knowledge and fiscal support, and references effective and replicable practices, with the goal of creating “the conditions for a deep commitment to neuroarts, in all its transformative power.” An implementation phase is underway, including further research, training and “practice components of the field.” Although the Blueprint does not precisely target the ways in which engagement with the arts impacts the lives and health of older people, it provides powerful context for institutional and community based arts activities that contribute to positive aging. Overall, it provides an important new development in our collective effort to build recognition, evidence and practice in creative aging.
Dr. Laura Carstensen, Founder and Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Longevity Forum at Stanford University. In this talk she summarizes the “dramatic and profound” increase in life expectancy that is reshaping our basic understanding of human life. She sees an urgent need to re-consider the 20th century cultural and institutional norms that govern how we live, and to envision a society organized around a 100-year life. To advance this process the Center on Longevity has initiated The New Map of Life, a project to catalyze interdisciplinary research and planning around the challenge of creating a long life society for the 21st century. The talk is an excellent summation of the new knowledge that supports new approaches to financial security, learning, health and work; it provides context for the work of today’s educators, including those in the arts, who recognize the significance of lifelong learning in a long life society.
The Lifelong Learning Virtual Panel convened by The Longevity Project in Collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity brought together experts in the sociology of education, global education and digital learning to discuss how the coronavirus is changing, and will continue to change, learning — not only for young students but for learners of all ages. The panel included presentation of the results of a Longevity Project-Morning Consult poll showing that 40% of all adults reported that they had engaged in some form of online learning during quarantine, with high levels of satisfaction. Presenters reviewed the ways in which the pandemic is accelerating trends towards continuous learning across the lifespan while transforming conventional approaches to “higher education” and “adult education.” The discussions provide stimulating context and new visions for “long life learning” that are relevant to the work of arts educators and those involved in creative aging programming.
The 4-day 2020 Longevity Summit, held virtually, was organized by The Longevity Project and the Stanford Center on Longevity to bring together leaders in multiple sectors to discuss “the implications of the 100-year life.” Building on the knowledge that we are living longer and healthier than previous generations, the Summit elicited visions for how society “can restructure work, reorganize our cities, enhance lifelong learning, create financial security and promote greater health and vitality in the new age of longevity.” Summit presentations also included new insight about longevity in the “Age of Pandemics.” Two presentations, both on December 10 — “Re-inventing the Second Half of Life,” and “Reinventing the University for Lifelong Learning,” — provide context for considering how continuous learning, including participation in the arts, can contribute to a healthier and more vital “age of longevity.”
This research reports on findings from a qualitative focus group study designed to assess the experiences of healthy older people, living at home, who engaged in participatory arts activities. What makes the study stand out from others is the emphasis on participants’ subjective experiences, using their voices to clarify “participatory” arts engagement and support emerging theories of creative aging. The conclusion states: “Findings suggest that participation in everyday creative experiences can lead to a sense of achievement and purpose, which provides support and structure in the construction of changing identity in later life.” The study adds to the growing body of evidence regarding the social and psychological benefits of arts participation for active older adults.
The Stanford Center on Longevity initiative, The New Map of Life, has issued a summary report outlining a set of “principles” as the basis for “momentous and creative changes in the ways we lead our 100-year lives, at every stage.” The New Map of Life builds on research and trends across many sectors indicating that nearly half of today’s five-year olds are likely to live to 100 and, as adults, they will work, create, contribute and learn throughout their lifetimes. It asks: “Are We Ready?“ The long life blueprint identifies policies and investments that will be needed to ensure vitality and equity for all during their lifespans, including “Age Diversity is a Net Positive,” “Invest in Future Centenarians,” and “Align Health Spans to Life Spans.” “Learn Throughout Life,” is a core principle of the blueprint and implies the importance of varied and continuous access to arts education as an aspect of the new aging society.