Nine leading American art museums will receive grants totaling more than $2 million from E.A. Michelson Philanthropy as part of its Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums initiative, to launch a new series of arts programs aimed at museum audiences who are 55 years of age and older. Since 2013, the foundation has invested more than $15 million to fund creative aging programs at art and history museums, performing arts organizations, botanical gardens and community centers. The foundation’s latest round of grants engaged a diverse group of nationally prominent art museums, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in order to expand the audience for its creative aging programming and actively address ageism in museums. Since early 2021, museum consultants Brian Kennedy and András Szántó, have been advising E.A. Michelson Philanthropy on expanding the foundation’s work to address ageism in American art museums.
Such programs recognize the social, emotional and physical health benefits of engaging older adults in the process of artistic creation, whether through drawing and painting, ceramics and metalwork, or participating in music or theater. The foundation’s Vitality Arts program model is designed to inspire participants to learn, make and share an art form in an environment that sparks creativity, fosters friendships and builds community. At the same time, these programs provide direct support to the working artists who are hired to teach them, providing platforms for these artists to share their knowledge, passion and techniques with new communities.
This new cohort of nine museums joins more than 50 of the foundation’s current and past Vitality Arts grantees, whose programs have engaged thousands of older adults across the country. Building on this work, the foundation also announced a plan to support up to 20 additional art museums. Museums will be selected through an open request for proposals beginning in fall 2022, with each grantee eligible for up to $250,000 in support for programs to begin in 2023.
“In just a few years, Americans older than 65 will outnumber those younger than 18 for the first time in the country’s history,” said Ellen Michelson, founder and president of E.A. Michelson Philanthropy. “Overall, across all demographic groups, people are living longer and staying mentally and physically healthy as they age. Yet the number of inspiring programs and activities for older adults is not expanding at the same rate. Investing in these creative aging programs is about recognizing this major demographic shift, and leveraging the power of art and art museums to do so. We have had tremendous success with these programs to date, engaging thousands of participants who consistently tell our grantees how grateful they are to be able to participate. Now, I am excited to expand our vision with an outstanding array of new museum partners.”
For information, visit eamichelsonphilanthropy.org/vitality-arts/for-art-museums. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. For information or to purchase tickets, visit lacma.org.
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