Creativity and Aging Forum Sponsored by NCCA-Met Life Foundation

A highly engaged group of library accessibility experts, senior adult community directors, and arts and aging advocates met on February 22, 2013 at the Mansion at the Strathmore Music Center to learn about innovative programs that are reaching older adults and increasing their access to the arts in their community.  The half-day forum featured presentations by Maura O’Malley, President/Co-Founder of Lifetime Arts and winner of the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA)–MetLife Foundation Leadership Award, and Jeanne Kelly, Founder and Executive Director of Encore Creativity.   A performance by the Glen Echo Encore Chorale was a special highlight and was enthusiastically received by the program attendees.

Encore Creativity for Older Adults recently received the NCCA-MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Technical Assistance Grant, which funded the half-day program.  Ms. O’Malley shared the history and current business model for her nationally recognized The Creative Aging Public Libraries Project, a best practice in lifelong learning. Now in seven major library systems in four states and growing, the project brings local libraries and professional teaching artists together and helps them create free, high quality arts learning programs for older adults in public libraries. Lifetime Arts’ model will be disseminated nationally by the American Library Association through an online, creative aging “toolkit” benefiting thousands of librarians and others who serve older adults in community based organizations.

Encore Creativity is dedicated to providing an excellent and accessible artistic environment for older adults, 55 and over, regardless of experience or ability, who seek arts education and performance opportunities under a professional artist.  There are currently 13 chorales in Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia, and 2 affiliate programs in Reading PA and Hudson OH.  Rehearsing weekly during 15 week semester schedules offered Spring and Fall, the programs culminate with free concert performances in May and December.  In addition to the chorale program, Encore sponsors two summer performing arts institutes at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.  Jeanne Kelly, Founder and Director, spoke about her best practice program, the value of chorale singing and performance to the health and well-being of older adults, and the affiliate program, which offers the opportunity for additional communities to replicate and offer the Encore Chorale program.  

--Encore Creativity for Older Adults

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