2014 National Leadership Exchange & Conference a Tremendous Start to Annual Series

I’d like to thank, yet again, all of the nearly 300 participants in our first National Leadership Exchange & Conference, The Creative Age: Exploring the Potential in Later Life held earlier this month. It was fulfilling to see so many of those who share a dedication to creativity and aging together in one space.

Although, we had planned to hold this event in 2015, the fifth anniversary Dr. Gene Cohen’s passing (one of our heroes in creative aging), Liz Lerman's production of Healing Wars, and the Chorus America Conference--made June 2014 an irresistible time to hold this series of events. The NCCA Board and Staff recognized the confluence of these momentous events encouraging us to plan the national conference in only six months. Between the efforts of our dedicated board, staff and our generous sponsors, everything came together. I could not be more pleased with the ideas that were exchanged, passions that were displayed, and eyes that were opened to new aspects of the creative aging field. Arena Stage was a dramatic backdrop for an energizing leadership exchange.

There were many beautiful performances and groundbreaking research presentations throughout the four-day event.  Starting with a Memory Arts Cafe in our home at Iona Senior Services to the closing Encore Chorale at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, presenters demonstrated how the arts enable all to flourish no matter one's age. Attendees from six nations and 27 states representing professionals across the spectrum of aging, arts, education, health and social services joined us in Washington, DC. This joyful group of leaders set the stage for the global discussion on arts and aging, with an overall passion and insistence to change the perceptions of aging.

After all of these wonderful experiences, we are excited to continue the adventure in learning from one another next year. You are welcome to provide feedback about what you especially enjoyed or think could be improved. We already have some things in the works for 2015, including curators for each conference event, a leadership track, and our newest addition: a professional development institute. We hope to hold the main exchange at Arena Stage but again feature iconic places in our Nation's Capital like the Library of Congress, Washington National Cathedral and The Kreeger Museum.

Without your support, we couldn't have facilitated this gathering of the field of creative aging. We look forward to planning our next gathering with you, and certainly expect the energy to rise and grow even brighter.

With great appreciation,

Gay Hanna
NCCA Executive Director

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