OAC Launches State’s First Creative Aging Learning Cohort February 24, 2016 Columbus, Ohio—The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has launched the Creative Aging Ohio (CAO) initiative with funding to 15 Ohio-based organizations. This is the agency's first learning cohort dedicated to creating hands-on arts experiences tailored to the needs and interests of older adults. With funding and professional learning opportunities, this initiative will help create and expand programs that engage older adults in the visual arts, dance, music, writing, and theatre. The initiative’s goal is to help older adults—many of whom may live with degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, or suffer from isolation and loneliness—age more healthfully and renew their purpose and talents through the arts. The OAC’s work in creative aging is contributing to national research on the country’s elderly, a rapidly growing population. Studies show that roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 in the U.S. every day. Furthermore, the average American life expectancy—currently 79 years—is expected to reach 88 years by the middle of the century. Recent research led by the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) reveals that today’s seniors are eager to remain active and engaged, and that arts and learning programs can play a significant role in improving their overall quality of life and health. PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE 2016 CAO INITIATIVE LEARNING COHORT INCLUDE: The Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association of Central Ohio (Franklin County) The Arts Partnership of Greater Hancock County Ballet Met (Franklin County) City of Cleveland Heights (Cuyahoga County) Dayton Metro Library (Montgomery County) Finnish Heritage Museum (Lake County) Fitton Center for Creative Arts (Butler County) Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (Franklin County) Melodic Connections (Hamilton County) Middletown Area Senior Center (Butler County) Solon Senior Center (Cuyahoga County) The Tomorrow Center (Morrow County) Valley Art Center (Cuyahoga County) Verb Ballets (Cuyahoga County) We Care Arts (Montgomery County) In 2014, the OAC became one of 13 early-adopting state arts agencies to join the NCCA in an initiative that supports infrastructure and programming in the arts, wellness, and aging. In 2015, the OAC supported artist-led residencies focused on quality art-making activities in elder care facilities. This year, the agency’s creative aging initiative has a key focus on learning more about the conditions that allow the field of creative aging to thrive in Ohio. Funding will be available for a new group of organizations interested in participating in the next CAO initiative learning cohort beginning in July 2016.