Creative Aging Directory - Center for Elders & Youth in the Arts

Program Title
Center for Elders and Youth in the Arts
Program Summary

The Center for Elders and Youth in the Arts (CEYA), a division of the Institute on Aging, provides arts programming to older adults and youth in the San Francisco Bay Area through weekly classes in diverse arts media. Classes are given on an annual basis and generally span 36-46 weeks. CEYA offers classes in poetry, writing, music, visual arts, and more. It conducts classes for varying skill levels, based on the depth of knowledge or previous experience of program participants. Projects are tailored to the abilities, special interests, and talents of the participants and the artist in collaboration. All projects are led by professional teaching artists under the guidance of CEYA's Artistic Director.

CEYA has partnered with 20 facilities across the community. For older adult groups, this includes assisted living facilities, residential communities, adult day programs, and other sites; individual instruction in the home is also offered. Through creative expression, CEYA helps older people remain connected to the community, with the goal of helping them experience improved physical and emotional wellbeing. In addition, CEYA has partnered with five youth organizations to conduct their arts programming.

Program Background and History

CEYA provides specialized visual and performing arts programming tailored to the Bay Area older adult population. In addition, many projects are conducted in collaboration with youth and youth organizations. Since 1996, thousands of older adults and hundreds of youth have benefited from CEYA’s arts programming. Annual CEYA events and exhibitions have brought the resulting work to the greater community and reach more than 4,000 viewers each year. The goals of CEYA are not only to build art-making skills among participants, but also to build community through the arts.

CEYA was one of the site participants in the study, “The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults,” led by Dr. Gene Cohen. Funded by the National Institute for Mental Health and the National Endowment for the Arts, this study found that professionally led arts programs helped to alleviate depression and anxiety and elevate the mood of older participants.

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

CEYA conducts evaluations on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of each program. These evaluations use interviews, individual assessments, attendance numbers, and site evaluations. CEYA responds immediately to negative evaluations by taking corrective measures, followed by incorporating lessons-learned into ongoing programming. 

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Arts Discipline
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus
Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Presenting a Performance, Attending a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Participate in an Ensemble, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus Other
Interdisciplinary Connections
Civic Engagement, Design / Architecture / Built Environments, Education, Health / Medicine, Volunteerism
Creative engagement
Target Audience
Active Adults, Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design
Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities
Adaptive Program Design Other

We adapt to mild to moderate levels of the disabilities checked through all appropriate measures.

Program Setting
Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization, Community Center, Education (e.g. School / University), Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
Program Service Area / Geography
Suburban, Urban
Program Service Area / Geography Other

We provide for urban and suburban in the greater Bay Area.