AZ Creative Aging is an ambitious and comprehensive initiative of the Arizona Commission on the Arts that will build a creative aging infrastructure to enhance quality of life for older Arizonans. With funding from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, AZ Creative Aging will provide training to teaching artists, arts organization and aging/healthcare service providers, support the development of high-quality arts programs for older adults and embed creative aging knowledge and best practices in the community.


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NEA Publishes "Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health"

On December 8, 2016, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published a Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health, a blueprint for collaboration among academic researchers, arts organizations, and artists aiming to study the arts’ effects on health and extend this research to arts programs or therapies.

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The first programmatic module of the three year AZ Creative Aging initiative, the Teaching Artist Institute is a comprehensive training program that introduces teaching artists to the variety of settings, programs, and partners that make up the creative aging field, and provides skills-building activities for participants to attain the specialized knowledge needed to work successfully with older adults. 10 teaching artists were selected to participate in the Teaching Artist Institute’s pilot year.

Click here to learn more about the AZ Creative Aging Teaching Artist Institute.

Creative Aging

Creative Aging is a national movement to advance understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and a term used to encompass the many types of quality arts programs which support and enrich the lives of adults across the aging spectrum.

Decades of research have found that older adults are healthier and happier when participating in creative aging programs. Among the findings: fewer doctor visits and less medication use for study participants engaged in professionally-conducted arts activities; improved cognitive measures; and self-reported higher morale and less social isolation.

At any stage of life, our sense of well-being is affected by our ability to live with purpose and joy, to deal effectively with life’s changes and challenges, and to sustain positive, meaningful, dynamic relationships, but this becomes particularly acute as we age. Participatory, meaningful arts engagement has a clear and direct impact on these three elements which lead to improved quality of life in older adults.

Our nation is home to a growing older adult population; in Arizona, U.S. Census Bureau data estimates that by the year 2020, more than 1 in 4 people will be over age 60.

This ‘graying’ of America has precipitated dramatic changes in the field of aging, and as a society, we’re shifting our perspective and understanding of later life. Creative Aging utilizes the unique ability of the arts to move away from a deficits approach to aging, that stresses losses, to an assets approach that stresses strengths, potential and achievements. 

National Center for Creative Aging

The National Center for Creative Aging is the national service organization for arts and aging, providing professional development, resources and research, training tools and more.

The Creativity and Aging Study

This study, led by Gene D. Cohen, MD, looked at the impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults. This was the first controlled study to assess whether participation in the creative arts, apart from traditional medical care, can promote healthier aging.

Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit

Designed for the arts and aging services fields, this resource explains why and how older adults benefit from participation in professionally conducted community arts programs and offers detailed advice and examples on program design, implementation, and evaluation.

AZ Creative Aging is an initiative of the Arizona Commission on the Arts funded by a grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

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Banner photos (from left to right): photo courtesy Safos Dance Theatre; photo courtesy The Drawing Studio; Arlene Lopez performs in “Las Comadres” by Safos Dance Theatre, photo by Dominic AZ Bonuccelli, courtesy of Safos Dance Theatre; photo courtesy of Musical Instrument Museum.

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At the inauguration of "The Legislative Arts Program at the Arizona Capitol Museum" series, presented by Senator Catherine Miranda, District 27 to honor and present established Arizona artists by hosting their artworks within the Arizona Capitol Complex. Arizona artist Patsy 'Skyline' Lowry's exhibit "Arizona Spirits" opened the series. ... See MoreSee Less

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