Arts Program for Seniors


SU-CASA is a collaboration among the New York City Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the City's five local arts councils.  The program is funded in FY18 by New York City Council.

This initiative seeks to connect artists with seniors in senior centers and to positively impact the well-being of older adults through arts-based activities.  SU-CASA supports artists and organizations who are sensitive to the needs of older adults and who are interested in engaging their communities.  Each senior center is unique and offers access to different types of spaces, resources and communities.  Selected artists will work with the senior center where they are placed to further refine project goals and coordinate a schedule for residency activities and use of facilities. 

The program has two components:

1) artists will engage participating seniors in an art project or series of cultural programs over the course of the residency, and

2) the residency will include a public program component – exhibits, readings, performances, open houses or other cultural interactions open to the surrounding community.


"The SU-CASA program experience has not only allowed me to teach what I love to do but learn new cultures, new languages, and new ways of offering transformative experiences. It has also allowed me to bond on a personal level with people older than me and learn so much about life. Each of us,young and old, has something to share on this journey called life. Thank you DCAS. Thank you Queens Council on the Arts. Thank you Department for the Aging." ~ Yvonne Shortt, 2016 & 2017 SU-CASA Artist-in-Residence





In FY18, both individual artists and arts organizations will be eligible to participate. Individual artists may apply for SU-CASA through their local arts council; any organization that submitted an eligible FY18 Cultural Development Fund proposal may apply for SU-CASA through DCA. The program will support a total of 204 residencies for individuals and organizations at senior centers across the City’s 51 Council districts.

Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) is proud to be part of this program on behalf of the borough of Queens. QCA will accept applications from individual artists seeking residencies at participating senior centers in Queens only.

Individual artists-in-residence will receive a stipend in the amount of $4,500, an additional $1,000 materials/supplies budget, and access to materials and supplies from Materials for the Arts. Individual artists can apply directly to participate in the program without a fiscal sponsor. Artists may apply for up to two residencies. 

All components of the application must be received no later than November 15, 2017. Applicants will be notified of their application status and, if selected, which senior center they will work with, by the end of December 2017. Residencies will take place between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018. A Kick-Off for selected artists, organizations and senior centers will be held in January 2018. 



Queens Council on the Arts will accept applications only from individual artists. Applicants must meet the following criteria to apply:

·       Artists must be 18 years of age of older and a resident of New York City

·       Artists cannot apply for or receive funds on behalf of a non-profit organization or a for-profit entity (CDF-eligible organizations may apply directly to DCA for 2018; interested applicants should contact their DCA program officer)

·       Artists cannot be currently enrolled full-time in a degree-granting institution

·       Artists must demonstrate a residence or workspace in the borough in which they apply

Individual artists may apply to only one local arts council for consideration in only one borough. Applicants who submit proposals to multiple local arts councils will be disqualified.

Previous SU-CASA artists are eligible to apply for the 2018 program and may apply to work with a previous senior center partner and/or in one or more new centers. All returning artists must submit a complete application to be considered for placement. 



Applications will be accepted for projects in any artistic discipline. Projects must meet the following requirements:

  • Project must be cultural in nature.
  • Project must include an interactive engagement component for the senior participants at the center where the residency is held (i.e., activities such as workshops, classes, art making projects created by seniors or in collaboration with seniors, etc).
  • Project must include a public program component for the public to experience and engage with the arts at the senior center (exhibits, open houses, performances, readings or other cultural interactions that allow participating seniors to share their work with the surrounding community). The public program activities must be promoted and available at no charge to the general public. Artists are strongly encouraged to engage other members of the senior center community as part of the public program component.

·       Project activities must take place between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018.

·       Project activities are expected to include at 40 contact hours of activity with the seniors during the residency period.

·       Project activities, including the public component, must take place at the senior center (unless otherwise agreed to with the senior center director).



Artists will be selected through a competitive review process.  Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) will review all artist applications for the borough of Queens for completeness and eligibility.  A panel comprised of representatives from the New York City Council, QCA, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Department for the Aging will review applications from individuals and organizations and recommend one placement in each pre-selected center. See the list of pre-selected centers in Queens under "Senior Center Option"in the application.

The panels will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria:

·       Artistic excellence of the proposed senior engagement project

·       Potential impact on senior participants

·       Project feasibility, taking into consideration budget, timeline, available resources, and stated goals

·       Clarity and detail in the project proposal

·       Quality of the applicant’s prior work

·       Potential impact on senior center and surrounding community

Prior experience as a teaching artist, artist-in-residence, and/or working with older adults is a plus.  

Certain senior centers have identified languages spoken if they have a senior population with a significant number of bilingual, ESL or non-English speakers.  This is provided for informational purposes only.  Artists with foreign language proficiency are strongly encouraged to apply, but artists are not required to speak any language other than English.


The residency award is a contract for services; selected artists will be subject to the following requirements:

·       Sign and return a residency agreement

·       Include funding credit and logos on all marketing and event materials, print and electronic

·       Submit event notification at least 2 – 4 weeks before your public program event(s) (a representative of QCA, DFTA or DCAmay conduct a site visit to your project)

·       Track artist contact hours with participating seniors and other evaluative data, as requested

·       Submit final report on a timely basis after completion of all project activities

Artists who do not comply with the requirements will jeopardize their funding and future grant consideration. 

Click HERE for photos of the SU-CASA Program.

For more information, email with the subject SU-CASA.