Ageless Art

Organization Associated with Program
We Care Arts
Berkeley Center, 3035 Wilmington Pike
Kettering, Ohio 45429

The Ageless Art program of We Care Arts (Kettering, Ohio) brings art classes to older adults in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, senior centers, and healthcare settings including clinics and hospitals. Participants in the program have the opportunity to create and exhibit original art while learning new skills under the guidance of a professional teaching artist. Social interaction and community bonding are important to individual wellbeing and healthy aging and are therefore incorporated into the program through scheduled group discussions about individual artwork and exhibitions. Approximately 800 people, including 100 older adults, are served each year by programs conducted by We Care Arts. 

Program History

In 1984, We Care Arts began conducting programming for people living with disabilities, and older adults have always been a part of the We Care Arts community. In 2011, We Care Arts developed Ageless Art to bring arts programming to residential centers serving older adults in an effort to expand programming to those who could not come to the We Care Arts facility because of limited mobility and access to transportation.

This program has been integral to We Care Arts’ ability to build and grow partnerships with local long-term care facilities, assisted living centers, and other aging services groups. An internship program was developed in collaboration with local universities, expanding the capacity of Ageless Art to serve the community. This initiative has given We Care Arts insight into the lives of older adults, which enables the organization to successfully foster healthy community connections that improve quality of life for participants while emphasizing their abilities and interests.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

We Care Arts uses multiple evaluations on an ongoing basis throughout the program. Ongoing review of the outcomes of interventions to evaluate their effectiveness and determine the reasons for success enables the organization to make changes that increases the success of the program and of the older adults participating. The organization uses interviews, individual assessments, attendance numbers, and press reviews as core evaluation components. Evaluations are conducted by staff and a related agency or partner organization.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Teaching artists who have worked with older adults have experienced ongoing insights and learned new techniques that have enabled them to effectively adapt their work to successfully engage this population.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine
Target Audience: Active Adults, Frail Older Adults, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities
Program Setting: Adult Day Care, Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Assisted Living, Community Center, Education (e.g. School / University), Healthcare - Acute Care (e.g. Clinic / Hospital), Healthcare - Long Term Care, Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices