Annie Montgomery (center), Director of Education at Lifetime Arts

Annie Montgomery (center), Director of Education at Lifetime Arts

On Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Lifetime Arts hosted a free creative aging training for artists at Kew Gardens Public Library in partnership with QCA. Creative aging refers to arts education programming and practices designed to serve the older adult population. Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts is a national arts service organization that offers a positive, modern, artistic and social lens  through which to serve, inspire and engage America’s growing population of older adults. Lifetime Arts has partnered with QCA in the past, most recently through our first annual Creative Aging Conference in Astoria last May. We sat down with Annie Montgomery, Director of Education at Lifetime Arts, to discuss the value of the free creative aging trainings across NYC.

What inspired Lifetime Arts to offer creative aging trainings?

Our mission is to encourage Creative Aging by promoting the inclusion of arts education programs in organizations that serve older adults; to prepare artists to develop the creative capacity of older adult learners; and to foster lifelong learning in and through the arts by increasing opportunities for participation in community based programming.

This current series of trainings happening across the five boroughs of New York City is a part of an initiative is funded by the New York Community Trust Foundation and in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Department for the Aging, LiveON NY, the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College, and all of the New York City arts councils.

How do you hope the Creative Aging trainings will benefit artists?

There are several goals. These training sessions will help expand teaching artists’ understanding of the Creative Aging program model (i.e., a series of sequential sessions designed to build art-making skills and support positive social engagement in a non-ageist learning environment), and expose them to best practices in program design. Furthermore, for those teaching artists interested in applying to the SU-CASA program, this training will assist them in writing and submitting a clear and detailed application for this highly competitive grant.

A creative aging workshop exercise facilitated by Lifetime Arts

A creative aging workshop exercise facilitated by Lifetime Arts

Can you share a success story from Lifetime Arts’ Creative Aging trainings?

Just yesterday, one of the artists at our training came up to me after the training and said:

“I have taught older adults painting for years, but being part of this training gave me the tools to help me articulate the goals and impact of Creative Aging programs. Now I can be be more skilled in proposing and seeking funding for the kind of class I would like to teach to older adults.”  

This is just what we hope teaching artists and organizations will gain from this training. As this knowledge spreads, Creative Aging Programs will become embedded in our senior service and cultural organizations so that it is not a “special” offering but a standard approach to arts enrichment and learning for the older adults in our communities.  

What impact do you think that Creative Aging Programming has on communities?

Older adults in our communities can often feel invisible, undervalued, pushed aside, and forgotten. However, with the emergence of Creative Aging programming, older adults now have more access to programs where they may to explore and hone talents, express themselves, and demonstrate to their whole community their strong presence and place in our world--  a presence that is not diminished simply because they are older. Creative Aging programming gives organizations who serve older adults the power to integrate older adults into the life and fabric of every community.

Learn more about Lifetime Arts at