For the past three years, Dane Stauffer has been teaching a storytelling program series at the Park Square Theater in Minneapolis, MN. Dane was in the middle of teaching the last segment when COVID-19 forced the theater to close. With the theater’s blessing, Dane shifted to an online format and retitled the program: “Storytellers Online: Bringing Our Stories to the World.”
Minnesota Opera sought and successfully built organizational support and buy-in for their Seeding Vitality Arts pilot program, “Voices of Opera.” The older adult community members’ incredible interest, the education department’s commitment to designing responsive programming, and the board’s involvement in the program itself were the building blocks of a creative aging infrastructure. Minnesota Opera is a model for other organizations as they grasped the importance of full organizational support from the beginning to ensure that a program is sustained beyond a grant-funded pilot.
Rumriver Art Center’s Seeding Vitality Arts programming exceeded their expectations and became a driving force behind their organizational strategy. Having realized that sustaining creative aging programs at the Center would require total alignment of programmatic, administrative, and financial goals, they realigned priorities to ensure that their work in this critical area could continue and flourish.
From the engAGE website:
“EngAGE is a nonprofit that takes a whole-person approach to community and creative, healthy aging by providing arts, wellness, lifelong learning, community building and intergenerational programs to thousands of seniors and families living in affordable senior and multi-generational apartment communities in California, Oregon, and Minnesota.”
Creative Aging Focus:
EngAGE in Creativity is a community-based multi-disciplinary arts program led by professional artists who provide college-level arts classes, programs, and events to older adults in affordable senior and multigenerational apartment communities.
Teaching artist, David DeBlieck currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Dance in the Theater Department at the College of St Benedict & St John’s University. Since 2010, David has conducted numerous workshops and residencies in the community through the Paramount Center for the Arts, including participation as a lead artist in the Growing Artful program part of Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts Initiative.
Teaching artist, Peyton Scott Russell’s earliest memories as a child were making art and being creative. This continued into high school where he discovered graffiti art from the film Style Wars in 1984. This consumed his art interest. As a Bush Fellowship recipient, 2012-14, Peyton formed SPRAYFINGER. This is a program used for teaching, Graffiti: The Art of Creative Lettering, to youth, adults, seniors and the community at large. Peyton talks about his experience teaching a visual arts program at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), part of Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts Initiative.
In this blog post, Lifetime Arts Co-Founder and Executive Director, Ed Friedman, talks about Theatre 55, a company founded in 2018 by Richard Hitchler in St. Paul, Minnesota, whose mission is “to enrich the lives of elders, as artists, audiences, and lifelong learners through theatre performance and education.” Ed also talks about the Young at Heart Chorus, which provides its older participants the opportunity and instruction to perform modern music — a far cry from the usual “sing-along” fare.
In July 2019, Aroha Philanthropies and the Minnesota State Arts Board offered the third in a series of Creative Aging trainings for teaching artists working in all arts disciplines. The event, held at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, was designed to equip teaching artists with the skills to design and teach successful, skill-based, socially-engaging arts education workshops for older adults. Aroha and Lifetime Arts recruited a diverse team of teaching artists for this, the largest teacher training that the two organizations have partnered to design and deliver.
Graffiti artist, Peyton Scott Russell, taps into the interests of older adults through his eight week visual arts program offered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and selected through Aroha Philanthropies’ Seeding Vitality Arts initiative.