Hannan Center for Creative Aging

Organization Associated with Program
Leulla Hannan Memorial Foundation
4750 Woodward
Detroit, Michigan 48201

The Hannan Center for Creative Aging provides programming for people over the age of 60 in the Detroit area through its educational classes and workshops at the Hannan Center for Senior Learning, the Ellen Kayrod Gallery, and the Zena Baum Service Center. The learning center provides classes during three terms in the year. Some programs are ongoing, such as exercise, writing, music, and wellness classes; other opportunities are provided in workshops, seminars, and artist-in-residence programs. Participants may enroll for the term or for individual classes, and most classes run for 45 weeks a year (over the three terms). Workshops and seminars may be held once each week for four to eight weeks (depending on the topic covered in the class) and are led by a professional teaching artist.

Participants are given the opportunity to share their work during poetry readings and gallery exhibitions. The Hannan Center also provides exhibitions of works by older artists at the Ellen Kayrod Gallery, named after the former Executive Director of the Hannan Foundation. The gallery has been exhibiting the work of Detroit area artists over the age of 60 since the early 1990s. Artists are invited to participate in group exhibitions which take place twice each year.

Program History

The Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation, founded in 1925, has a mission to enhance the quality of life for older adults in Metropolitan Detroit (with a focus on the city of Detroit) by identifying their unmet physical, social, and financial needs and by maintaining facilities and creating programs that both address these needs and preserve the dignity of older people. In 1993, the Hannan Foundation conducted a comprehensive study of older adults living in the central city of Detroit that showed a strong need for access to services. After consultation with senior service experts, the foundation converted the Hannan House into a centralized location for older adults to access services to meet their medical, social, financial, and housing needs. Today, the foundation continues to initiate, operate, and support a number of programs and services in areas including advocacy, creative aging, service coordination, and case management in both housing for older people and the community. The Hannan Center for Creative Aging is one component of the larger foundation and has been serving older adults in the Detroit area since 2010. 

Program Assessments and Evaluations

The Hannan Center for Creative Aging evaluates its programs by recording information on attendance, retention, and quality of art produced. The staff also uses interviews, individual assessments, and press reviews as a core component of program evaluation.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Always talk to the people you are serving and encourage the target audience to be part of the program you are planning. Be flexible in program development.

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, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Dance, Folk/Traditional Arts, Literature, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Theater, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Civic Engagement, Ecology / Gardening / Natural Environments, Education, History, Volunteerism
Target Audience: Active Adults, Caregivers - Family, Frail Older Adults
Program Setting: Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center)
Program Service Area: Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice