Vermont Arts Council Secures New Funding for Creative Aging
MONTPELIER—The Vermont Arts Council (VAC) in partnership with the Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) has received a $23,000 award from the National Assembly of State Art Agencies (NASAA) and Aroha Philanthropies to advance creative programming for older adults.
In 2020, CVCOA created the “Creative Care Kit” program, which provided over 160 free Creative Care Kits to people age 60+. The kits included several activities along with supplies, instructions, and resources needed for practicing and producing artwork. In addition, each participant in the Creative Care Kit Project could access a trained “Creative Companion” volunteer. Through phone and video calls, the volunteers engaged participants in meaningful conversations inspired by the activities and stories that arose in the process.
With the new funding, the VAC will partner with CVCOA to build the awareness, the relationships, and skills among teaching artists, staff and volunteers for creative aging programming to flourish. This will include another Creative Care Kit project and additional initiatives to build creative aging capacity.
Older adults have many contributions to make to their communities, but they often face ageism and isolation and have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. The Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging program, a joint initiative of the NASAA and Aroha Philanthropies, attempts to meet these challenges.
“NASAA is proud to have the Vermont Arts Council in our creative aging cohort," said Pam Breaux, NASAA President and CEO. "This grant will help to grow opportunities for creative aging in Vermont over time, facilitating lifelong learning, joy, social engagement and improved well-being for older adults.”
“Aroha Philanthropies is proud to partner with NASAA to support creative aging through our state and jurisdictional arts agencies,” said Ellen Michelson, founder and president of the foundation. “This initiative marks an important step toward broadened awareness, adoption and funding of creative aging programs across the country.”
“The pandemic has made us all keenly aware of the importance of art and creativity to nurturing the creative spirit and health of individuals, as well as the collective well-being of our communities,” said Karen Mittelman, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council. “We are excited to be part of this nationwide Creative Aging initiative, which advances our goal of ensuring that everyone in Vermont has access to the arts and creativity in their lives.”
The Vermont Arts Council is one of 36 state arts agencies receiving the award. With this funding, each state will conduct creative aging activities tailored to the unique needs of its constituents. Activities will bolster existing creative aging programs, support artist residencies, provide professional development for teaching artists and community partners, develop creative aging communities of practice, provide direct programming to older adult audiences, cultivate creative aging partnerships and more.
The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state's primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at vermontartscouncil.org