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Donna McDade participates in the Painting with Purpose Creative Aging program, which was held in 2018 and sponsored by the Middletown Area Senior Citizens in Butler County.

28 Teaching Artists Accepted for Newly Launched Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative

Twenty-eight Ohio teaching artists have been selected to take part in the Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative, which focuses on bringing artmaking experiences to older adults in Ohio and will be administered by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC).

These artists will take part in an intensive series of training sessions facilitated by the renowned national arts service organization Lifetime Arts, which is considered a leader in skill-based, sequential instructional creative aging programs and services.

Following the training, the teaching artists will have the opportunity to work with program host sites to conduct activities in the first half of 2022.

Program host sites will consist of representatives from locations where seniors live (e.g., assisted living facilities and nursing homes), as well as locations where seniors receive services or take part in programming (e.g., senior centers, libraries, faith-based institutions, and arts organizations).

More information about specific projects between teaching artists and program host sites will be shared at a later date.

“The teaching artists selected for this initiative bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Ohio’s arts and education landscape,” said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “With backgrounds in diverse artforms, and expertise in everything from Japanese taiko drumming to West African dance and so much more, these professionals demonstrate the type of global reach and rich cultural competency that makes Ohio a wonderful home for the arts. Their work will truly enhance the lives of Ohio’s older adults through the Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative.”

A list of teaching artists selected for the initiative follows:

Artists will collaborate with potential local program host sites to plan 12-hour artist residencies using skills developed during training, and they will also assist in planning for the long-term sustainability of creative aging efforts in Ohio.

The Ohio Intensive Creating Aging Training Initiative is the next phase of Creative Aging Ohio, an initiative begun by the OAC in 2013 that provided grant funding to create and expand programs that engaged older adults in the visual arts, dance, music, writing, and theatre.

Funding for the training initiative was provided to the OAC through the Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging program, which was presented by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and Aroha Philanthropies. Ohio, which was one of 36 states selected for this new national grant program, secured the highest potential award of $60,000 to provide professional development for teaching artists and direct programming to older adult audiences.

Collins said the Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative represents an important investment in lifelong arts education opportunities.

“This work benefits the entire community, as it contributes to continuing creative learning through the arts, the health and well-being of older adults, and the holistic needs of families who seek to support their older family members,” she said. “We are grateful for NASAA and Aroha Philanthropies’ support of this program, which furthers our agency’s mission to provide quality arts experiences to all Ohioans.”

The Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative is made possible by a grant provided by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with Aroha Philanthropies and the Ohio Arts Council. Training, coaching, consulting, and resources for the Ohio Intensive Creative Aging Training Initiative are provided by Lifetime Arts, the national leader in creative aging programs and services.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at

Aroha Philanthropies is a nonprofit arts organization, working in the Twin Cities and beyond to improve quality of life through creative self-expression. Built on the foundation of love, Aroha combines selflessness, tolerance, kindness, and compassion to support the development of artistic and creative opportunities—and the personal discoveries that go with them—for everyone. For more information, visit

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) is a professional association of the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies. NASAA is a national, not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that champions public support for the arts in America. Together, NASAA and the state arts agencies advance the arts as an essential ingredient in the well-being and prosperity of our nation’s individuals, communities and families. For more information, visit

Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts is a nonprofit arts service organization based in New Rochelle, New York, that offers a positive, modern, artistic, and social lens through which to serve, inspire, and engage America’s growing population of older adults. Its mission is to encourage creative aging by promoting the inclusion of professional arts programs in organizations that serve older adults, prepare artists to develop the creative capacity of older adult learners, and foster lifelong learning in and through the arts by increasing opportunities for participation in community-based programming.


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Featured photo: Donna McDade participates in the Painting with Purpose Creative Aging program, which was held in 2018 and sponsored by the Middletown Area Senior Citizens in Butler County.

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