Creative Aging Directory - PALETTE

Program Title
Program Summary

Promoting Art for Life Enrichment Through Transgenerational Engagement (PALETTE) was launched in Richmond, VA in January 2014. Through this intergenerational art program, active older adults are paired with interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students to participate in creative arts activities. The purpose of PALETTE is to challenge stereotypes and ageist attitudes towards older adults. Over the course of 14 weeks, PALETTE engages students and older adults in creative arts activities including visual arts classes and cultural outings. Participants of PALETTE experience the program in pairs: older adult/student Partners in Arts Learning (PALs) spend the entirety of the program working and engaging together. Additionally, student participants of PALETTE attend two seminars: a training seminar at the start of the program to discuss aging and aging-related topics, and a reflection seminar at the end of the program to discuss insights and responses to their experience in PALETTE. These program activities help to break down generational barriers and to challenge the way we view aging.

Program Background and History

It’s no secret that ageism is prevalent in the United States: negative attitudes towards older adults and aging are found in younger and older generations alike. PALETTE was founded as a way to address this growing problem, and it utilizes three pillars to do so: interdisciplinary education, intergenerational programming, and creative engagement.

1. Interdisciplinary education helps students to recognize bias, think critically, and develop problem-solving skills, among other benefits. PALETTE utilizes interdisciplinary education as a way for students to benefit from these positive outcomes and to translate their PALETTE experiences into their diverse disciplines.
2. Intergenerational programming helps to break down stereotypes and generational barriers by exposing younger and older adults to the experiences of the other generation. By providing a forum for younger and older adults to interact and purposefully exchange, PALETTE helps participants to dispel misconceptions and misunderstandings.
3. In 2006 Dr. Gene Cohen reported in his Creativity and Aging Study that participation in community arts programming improves the overall health of older adults. PALETTE is structured around creative arts engagement to not only allow older adults the opportunity to benefit from these positive outcomes, but additionally to establish common ground over which generations can bond.

Program-Specific Research and Key Findings
Program-Specific Assessment and Evaluation

These programs are evaluated multiple times throughout the year by means of interviews, individual assessments and attendance numbers. Evaluations are conducted by a related agency or partner organization. All involved partners meet frequently to evaluate the ongoing development of the program, and surveys are administered to participants for evaluation purposes.

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Arts Discipline
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus
Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus Other
Interdisciplinary Connections
Civic Engagement, Education
Creative engagement
Target Audience
Active Adults, Intergenerational
Adaptive Program Design
Hearing Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities
Adaptive Program Design Other
Program Setting
Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization, Community Center, Education (e.g. School / University)
Program Service Area / Geography
Program Service Area / Geography Other