The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, recently secured new funding from a national grant program to advance creative aging programs for older adults in Arizona.

Building upon the transformative success of the Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging program, which catalyzed arts learning opportunities for older adults in Arizona and nationwide, the Arizona Commission on the Arts sought funding from the States Leading Creative Aging program, a new joint initiative of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy. Arizona secured $95,000 for the next phase of their work: Sustaining Creative Aging.

Using what was learned from the the work done with Leveraging States Investment in Creative Aging funding and prior years of comprehensive creative aging programing, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is committed to developing a model of sustainable creative aging programming, working within existing systems, specifically local arts agencies, to create new structures for creative aging programing to thrive.

The Sustaining Creative Aging initiative will focus on a partnership model that identifies three organizations within a geographic region, such as a local arts agency or arts organization, teaching artists, and an aging service organization, such as a local senior center or residential facility. Sustaining Creative Aging will focus on the Southern Arizona region.

According to Elisa Garcia Radcliffe, the Arts Commission’s Director of Arts Learning, “this project combines intentional fieldwork, relationship building, and outreach along with professional development, asset and needs assessment, personalized training, and embedded creative aging teaching artist residencies to create regionally-specific partnership-based models of support for creative aging.”

“Arts engagement helps older adults to thrive and is a powerful antidote to isolation. But too many older adults still lack access to these benefits,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “Our state leadership grants—combined with free professional development programs for all 56 states and jurisdictions—will help to expand creative aging programs to make them more accessible nationwide. NASAA is thrilled to continue this important work in collaboration with state arts agencies and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy.”

“E.A. Michelson Philanthropy is proud to partner with NASAA through our continued support of creative aging within our state and jurisdictional arts agencies,” said Ellen Michelson, founder and president. “We are delighted to see this leadership initiative strengthening existing creative aging programs and amplifying the creativity of older adults across the country.”

The Arizona Commission on the Arts is one of nine state arts agencies receiving awards from NASAA. With this funding, each state will build on existing creative aging programs to gain significant ground in meeting the needs of older adults in underserved communities throughout their state.

For information about new creative aging activities taking place in Arizona, contact Elisa Garcia Radcliffe at [email protected]. To learn more about Arts Commission’s past work toward building a creative aging infrastructure to enhance quality of life for older Arizonans, visit For more information about NASAA’s States Leading Creative Aging initiative, visit