Aroha Philanthropies recently awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to 15 nonprofits through its “Seeding Artful Aging” initiative, which is designed to develop and enhance successful artful aging programs throughout the U.S.  Grantees were chosen from a highly competitive field of more than 200 applicants from 42 states.

Grafton County Senior Citizens Council, Inc. (GCSCC), which operates eight senior centers in Grafton County, New Hampshire, is one of those grantees. GCSCC is partnering with the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire (AANH) to deliver a new program, “Experience/Arts,” that will bring eight art-making programs of eight weeks each to senior centers and community arts sites in their region.

“We are excited to be part of Seeding Artful Aging, and our constituents are already responding with enthusiasm to the program during the planning phase,” said Roberta Berner, GCSCC’s Executive Director. Within less than a week, a survey of GCSCC senior center participants elicited 180 responses with creative movement, photography, and singing as respondents’ top three choices. “In our rural area, substantive arts programs for older adults can be difficult to access. We have the facilities and participants hungry for the experience; AANNH has the depth of understanding of the arts and the connections with the artists who will make the program happen!”

“This national initiative will demonstrate the potential impact of artful aging programs for older adults,” said Aroha Philanthropies’ Director of Programs, Teresa Bonner. “These 15 organizations are leaders in an emerging movement that recognizes the powerful role that the arts can play in transforming aging.”

A subset of the broader field of creative aging, artful aging programs inspire and enable older adults to learn, make and share the arts in ways that are novel, complex and socially engaging. Successful artful aging programs are led by teaching artists whose creative process and understanding of older adults bring joy, connection, improved health and well-being, and a renewed sense of purpose to older adults in community and residential settings.

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