Creative Aging

The Ohio Intensive Creating Aging Training Initiative is the next phase of Creative Aging Ohio, an initiative begun by the Ohio Arts Council in 2013 that provided grant funding to create and expand programs that engaged older adults in the visual arts, dance, music, writing, and theatre. In this next phase, the OAC will provide leadership, funding, administration, and professional development resources to support Ohio’s professional teaching artists and their communities. These teaching artists will collectively participate in an intensive training period followed by the design and implementation of participatory, sequential, and sustainable arts making experiences for older Ohioans. Project activities will consist of a four-tiered approach that will invest, strengthen, and prepare up to 25 Ohio teaching artists with the knowledge and skills that will lead to successful execution of creative aging projects via intensive training and job development opportunities. This approach will result in direct services to older adults at up to 25 separate program partner sites across Ohio.


The Ohio Intensive Creating Aging Training Initiative is a project of the Ohio Arts Council implemented in collaboration with various partners, teaching artists, and statewide and national field experts. Training, coaching, consulting, and resources for the Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative have been provided by Lifetime Arts (based in New Rochelle, New York), the national leader in creative aging programs and services. The OAC appreciates the ongoing collaborative support of various statewide project partners including the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Art Possible Ohio, and OhioDance. Additional project partners will be announced at a later date.


National Assembly of State Arts Agencies        Aroha Philanthropies

This activity is made possible by a grant provided by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy.


six dimensions of wellnessAccording to Lifetime Arts, creative aging is “the practice of engaging older adults (55+) in participatory, professionally run arts programs with a focus on social engagement and skills mastery.” 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.

Research has shown that older adults are healthier and happier when participating in creative aging programs. Additional findings have demonstrated that study participants engaged in professionally conducted arts activities experienced fewer doctor visits, less medication use, and improved cognitive measures and self-reported higher morale and less social isolation.

The Six Dimensions of Wellness succinctly describes the needs of older adults as emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, social, and occupational. Equally as important, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, by 2030, Ohio is projected to see a drop of 775,000 people under 45 and a gain of 849,000 people aged 65 or older. Older Ohioans need to be respected as vital members of society. They need excellent long-term care and programs that bolster health and wellness. Beyond physical, health care, safety, and social needs, older adults need opportunities for artistic self-expression and social engagement in activities that bring out their vitality and creativity. There is the need to showcase their creative talents by sharing their work with family members, caretakers, and even the public.



Ohio’s creative aging program has proceeded in four phases:

Phase One took place from 2013 to 2015 when Ohio was part of an original cohort of states invited to participate in convenings sponsored by the National Center for Creative Aging. During that time, Ohio offered eight teaching artist residencies in senior centers and senior residences around the state through the Artful Aging Ohio program.

During Phase Two, which lasted from 2016 to 2018, the project evolved into Creative Aging Ohio, which implemented an initiative inviting applications for grant funding to arts organizations around the state. The Ohio Arts Council worked with a cohort of funded organizations to support individual teaching artists, arts organization staff, healthcare administrators, and evaluators who engaged in working creatively with older adults. Cohort members also met semi-annually to discuss evaluation methods, specific challenges, and a range of successes.

In Phase Three, cohort members were invited to apply to OAC funding programs to continue support for arts programming. The Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative will encompass the next phase of this work, aimed at providing leadership, funding, administration, and professional development resources to support Ohio’s professional teaching artists and older adults.

Jarred Small | Arts Learning Coordinator
Chiquita Mullins Lee | Arts Learning Coordinator