Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums

Aroha Philanthropies Announces National Initiative in Collaboration with the American Alliance of Museums and Lifetime Arts.

Press Release – MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Aroha Philanthropies, the American Alliance of Museums, and Lifetime Arts announced today that they will collaborate to launch Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums, a new national initiative developed, funded and managed by Aroha Philanthropies.

The project will enable a diverse cohort of 15-17 museums across America to develop and implement high quality, intensive arts learning opportunities for older adults. All types of museums will be eligible to apply, including art museums, science centers, history museums, arboretums and zoos. Aroha Philanthropies will provide program funding to selected museums for up to two years as well as access to the training and technical assistance needed for them to be successful.

All three organizations feel there is an urgent need to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism, and promote a healthy change in societal attitudes toward aging as growth and older adults as contributors.

Aroha will issue a request for proposals in early June 2018 and announce the grant recipients in September. Grantees will attend a two-day in-person training session in November, and public programming by grantees may begin as early as March 2019. Aroha’s total philanthropic investment in Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums will exceed $1 million.

Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums will build on the success of Aroha’s two previous cohorts, Seeding Vitality Arts U.S. and Seeding Vitality Arts MN.

The goals of Seeding Vitality Arts are to:

  • Demonstrate the power and impact of creative aging programs to a broad national audience
  • Encourage arts and cultural organizations to develop participatory arts education programs for older adults
  • Encourage organizations that serve older adults to develop arts education programming
  • Disseminate effective program models

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) will advise on the initiative, assist in recruiting a new museum cohort and assist with documenting and disseminating the outcomes of this work. AAM has played a similar role in Innovation Lab, a program created and run by EmcArts with funding from the Doris Duke Foundation. AAM also will tell the stories of museums that participate, setting the stage for more institutions to offer programs and services for creative aging in their own communities. The Alliance and Aroha Philanthropies are already in discussions about more ways they can work together to advance this important cause.

Lifetime Arts, the nationally recognized leader in designing and disseminating model creative aging programs for active older adults, will provide training and technical assistance to museum grantees. Lifetime Arts has partnered with Aroha Philanthropies in its two previous Seeding Vitality Arts cohorts.

Aroha Philanthropies Founder and President Ellen A. Michelson said, “Aroha is thrilled to develop this new partnership with AAM and our long-time partner Lifetime Arts. We believe that museums, which have provided arts education to youth for decades, are natural partners in bringing the gift of creativity to older adults.”

“Museums can enrich the lives of people at all ages, and they’re proven to stimulate creativity, compassion, and critical thinking skills,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott. “We look forward to working with Aroha Philanthropies to help demonstrate museums’ positive effect on social connections, happiness and health outcomes. We are particularly pleased that the initiative will encourage museums to design programs that are affordable, accessible, and relevant to audiences that are diverse in terms of race, culture,­ and socioeconomic level.”

Lifetime Arts CEO and Co-Founder Maura O’Malley said, “Expanding Lifetime Arts’ capacity-building services to American museums is a long-held goal of ours. With this latest Vitality Arts initiative, these important institutions will join a growing cohort of stakeholders who embrace today’s older adults as creative learners and in doing so promote a cultural shift towards a positive view of aging.”
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