Request for Proposals: Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums

E.A. Michelson Philanthropy invites art museums across the United States to submit proposals to participate in its Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums initiative, which will help art museums reframe their relationships with older adults – to view them as essential, competent, creative and contributing participants in the life of the museum, and to develop Vitality Arts programs to engage them. View the full request for proposals and grant guidelines here. Frequently asked questions can be viewed here.

Members of the Association of Art Museum Directors are eligible to apply for this competitive national grant opportunity. A diverse cohort of up to 20 museums will be selected to receive grants of up to $250,000 to develop Vitality Arts programs, which create opportunities for older adults to experience the joy of learning an art form while building community. The cohort will join 9 art museums that are currently part of the Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums initiative. Current cohort members include Brooklyn Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, LACMA, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, Pérez Art Museum of Miami and Utah Museum of Fine Art. 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. You can view the full press release here.

In addition, funded organizations will become thought leaders and advocates for a new relationship with older adults within their museum, in their community and among professional colleagues by speaking, writing and providing visibility for the work. Funded museums will also investigate and address the implications of ageism for their museum from a holistic standpoint while developing new programs that actively engage older adults.

“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.”

Proposals can be submitted starting August 1 and are due by 5 p.m. Central Time on October 21, 2022.