Catalyzing Creative Aging

The National Guild’s Catalyzing Creative Aging program, provided in partnership with Lifetime Arts, is a multi-phase initiative designed to support the establishment of new creative aging programs at nonprofit arts education organizations nationwide. Research shows that professionally-led, arts education for older adults fosters positive aging. Nonprofit arts education organizations are uniquely positioned to play a leading role in providing innovative programming for an aging population that is living longer, healthier lives.

The program provides funding, training, and technical assistance to community arts education organizations in order to:

  • Increase capacity to serve older adults through skill-based, participatory arts programs
  • Provide models of high quality creative aging programs to the field
  • Raise public awareness about the benefits of creative aging programs

Read about the 20 arts organizations selected to participate in the 2018-19 Catalyzing Creative Aging Program here: 

You can also learn about the 2017-18 program participants, and see the 10 selected to receive seed grants to launch new, innovative Creative Aging Programs.

Program Details

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2018-2019 program.


Applicant Orientation Webinar

In this webinar, the National Guild, Lifetime Arts, and past program participants provide an overview on the current demand for creative aging programs, discuss the components of the program (funding, training, and technical assistance), and review the characteristics of effective applications.


Phase I: Training and Technical Assistance (November 2018 – June 2019)

Twenty organizations, selected through a competitive application process, will be accepted to participate in the Catalyzing Creative Aging Program.

Program activities include:

  • Catalyzing Creative Aging Institute (November 14, 2018, Baltimore): Each participating organization will receive one registration to the Guild’s Creative Aging Institute, a full-day preconference during the National Guild’s Conference for Community Arts Education. During this full-day institute, led by Lifetime Arts, you will gain a deeper understanding of current research and funding trends in creative aging, best practices for designing and implementing arts education programs for older adults, and strategies for recruiting and retaining older adult participation. Through experiential exercises and case studies, we’ll examine effective practices in program design and implementation, and the impact of ageism and generational differences in this work. During the institute, participants will draft initial action plans to establish new creative aging programs.
  • Follow-Up Workshop and One-on-One Coaching (November 15, 2018, Baltimore):  Program participants will deepen their learning and continue to develop their action plans through a small group workshop led by Lifetime Arts. They will then meet one-on-one with expert coaches to identify specific needs and goals for ongoing technical assistance. Conference registration for this day is included for program participants.
  • Ongoing Technical Assistance (December 2018 – June 2019, Online/Phone): Participating organizations then will receive ongoing technical assistance to deepen their knowledge of effective principles and practices of creative aging; develop their organization’s capacity to design, implement, and evaluate effective, sustainable programs; and gain support from a network of master trainers and peers nationally. Technical assistance will be tailored to your needs and predominately will be offered remotely through a combination of one-on-one and small-group coaching sessions, webinars, and resources. We strongly encourage teams of up to three staff members/contractors (e.g., program manager, teaching artist, evaluator, development director) from your organization to participate in technical assistance sessions.

The preconference institute (Nov. 14) and follow-up workshop and coaching (Nov. 15) take place during the Conference for Community Arts Education in Baltimore (Nov. 14 – 17). The cost of preconference registration (Nov. 14) and single day registration on Nov. 15 is covered for program participants. You will be responsible for travel and accommodations, as well as registration for the main conference (Nov. 17 –18) should you choose to attend. A limited number of need-based travel stipends will be provided for small budget organizations.

Phase II: Seed Grants and Continued Technical Assistance (July – December 2019)

Only organizations who participate in Phase I of the program will be eligible to apply for seed grants of up to $7,000 to implement new creative aging programs in Phase II. This will be a separate competitive application process for Phase I participants. Up to 10 grants will be awarded. Programs must serve at least 10 older adults and consist of at least 12 consecutive sessions, with each session lasting at least 90 minutes. Technical assistance for grantee organizations will be focused on areas of project implementation, artist selection, marketing and recruitment, and other areas to help initiate sustainable programs.

The program is generously supported by Aroha Philanthropies and the NAMM Foundation.