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Live Webcast of Summit on Arts and Aging

Recommendations to Inform White House Conference on Aging

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A group of older adult women singing in a chorus

Photo courtesy of Giving Voice Chorus of MacPhail Center for Music

WASHINGTON – How can the arts address the issues of aging? On May 18, 2015 in Washington, DC, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners will look at various ways the arts can enhance the lives of older Americans at the Summit on Creativity and Aging in America: A Pre-Conference to the White House Conference on Aging. The summit is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA). 

The summit is designed as a precursor to a larger White House Conference on Aging later this year. It is part of a series of public forums, which will produce recommendations to the White House conference on four major issues: retirement security, long-term services and supports, healthy aging, and elder abuse. The NEA/NCCA summit recommendations will inform the healthy aging category. Previously, the NEA has participated in White House conferences on aging in 1981, 1995, and 2005. At the 2005 summit, the late Gene Cohen presented a groundbreaking study, Creativity and Aging Study: the Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults, which was initiated by the Arts Endowment.

The #CreativeAgeSummit discussions are organized around three broad topics: lifelong learning and engagement in the arts; health, wellness and the arts; and age-friendly community design. Each session features a range of participants from the federal, non-profit, academic, and philanthropic fields. Among the participants are representatives of the National Institute on Aging, AARP, the National Alliance of Family Caregivers, the Veterans Health Administration, the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, the American Institute of Architects, and the National Caucus & Center on Black Aging. Following the summit, the NEA will produce a white paper with recommendations in each of these topic areas to inform the larger White House Conference.  Guest speakers include NEA Chairman Jane Chu and Edwin Walker, deputy assistant secretary for Aging, Administration on Aging, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The event will also feature a performance by Dance Exchange.

The National Endowment for the Arts is a leader in advancing the role of the arts in improving the lives of older adults. The NEA Office of Accessibility provides policy leadership and technical assistance to make the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people living in institutions. The NEA Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development convenes other federal agencies to push for more and better research to understand how the arts can affect health and wellness across the lifespan.  One convening resulted in a report on current research, The Arts and Aging: Building the Science

The #CreativeAgeSummit event is available to the public through a live webcast at arts.gov.  The general sessions will be webcast live from 9:00 – 10:00 am, 11:45 am – 12:15 pm, 2:45 – 3:15 pm, and again at 4:30 – 5:30 pm. Register for the webcast at arts.gov. Follow the conversation @NEAarts and @CreativityAging with the hashtag #CreativeAgeSummit. Archived sessions will be available arts.gov.

About the National Center for Creative Aging

NCCA’s mission is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging and to developing programs that build in this understanding. The process of aging is a profound experience marked by increasing physical and emotional change and a heightened search for meaning and purpose. Creative expression is important for older people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds, regardless of economic status, age, or level of physical, emotional, or cognitive functioning. The arts can serve as a powerful way to engage elders in a creative and healing process of self-expression, enabling them to create works that honor their life experience.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

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