News

Report on Older Americans & the Arts

We are pleased to announce the release of Untapped Opportunity: Older Americans & the Arts, a collaboration among LaPlaca Cohen, Slover Linett and E.A. Michelson Philanthropy.

This groundbreaking report sheds light on older generations’ distinct preferences and behaviors to provide relevant insights for cultural engagement. The corrosive ageism that permeates our culture leads us to see older people as “other,” but it turns out that older and younger adults want the same things from life: we all have a deep desire to have fun, to connect meaningfully with others, to create and to learn.

This report provides new data on people over 55 years of age. Importantly, it reveals older adults’ priorities in engaging with the arts: opportunities to belong, to learn something new and to feel a sense of accomplishment. The findings in this report align with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy’s $20 million commitment to support creative aging programs in more than 100 organizations over the past decade.

It’s time to change the narrative around aging. The report joins a growing but overdue body of research investigating how engagement with arts and culture activities evolve over our lifetimes. It challenges arts and cultural organizations to recognize something that has been hiding in plain sight—an enormous opportunity to develop and deliver quality programs of relevance to the fastest-growing segment of our society.

You can view this important and fascinating report here.


New Grants

We’re pleased to announce more than $2 million in new grant awards by E.A. Michelson Philanthropy to the organizations listed below. You can also see the full list of our extraordinary grantees here.

Discovery Arts
Children’s Theatre Company
Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies
MacPhail Center for Music
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Humanity Arts
MacPhail Center for Music

Vitality Arts
MacPhail Center for Music
Lifetime Arts


2022 AAM Annual Meeting

E.A. Michelson Philanthropy is thrilled to see creative aging included in the 2022 AAM Annual Meeting and Museum Expo in Boston. Two exciting sessions discussed the impact of creative aging in museums:

Thursday, May 19 from 9 - 12:30 pm EDT
Creative Aging: Paving the Way for Lifelong Learning in the Arts
This session featured our colleagues at Lifetime Arts as well as three E.A. Michelson Philanthropy museum grantees from our Seeding Vitality Arts initiative.

Saturday, May 21 from 9:10 - 10:10 am EDT
The Funders Perspective: Museums & Society


Lifetime Arts Launches New Creative Aging Resource

Lifetime Arts recently launched a new online creative aging resource that provides a browsable directory of hundreds of hand-curated creative aging research, media, and case studies, along with profiles of experts and organizations in creative aging. The resource serves as a hub for the field and invites organizations serving older adults to share information about their own creative aging work. To learn more, visit creativeagingresource.org.


AAM Announces 2022 Trendswatch Report

The American Alliance of Museums recently published the 2022 Trendswatch Report, the Center for the Future of Museums’ annual forecast of key issues facing museums. This year’s report frames the case for museums as vital public infrastructure, by virtue of five pillars of community strength and resilience to which museums contribute:

  • Education for our children
  • Livable communities for our elders
  • Mental health
  • Emergency response in the face of disasters
  • A human-centered culture of sustainability

We are proud to support this report and are especially thrilled to see the focus on "Livable Communities for our Elders" as one of the five pillars of community strength and resilience. We encourage you to read and share this important report with your network by clicking this link.


Creative Aging Participant Featured on Good Morning America

Creative Aging class participants from the Louisiana State Museum gather prior to the Mardi Gras Celebration. Photo Credit: Sara Lowenburg

 

A creative aging participant from the Louisiana State Museum, a Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums grantee, was recently featured on Good Morning America. Mr. Raymond Lewis, 92, was invited to mask with the Yellow Pocahontas as Chief Council during the 2022 Mardi Gras celebration. Mr. Lewis participated in a creative aging course at the museum, learning beading techniques and traditions from Big Chief Darryl Montana and Big Queen Dianne Honore of the Yellow Pocahontas Black Masking Indians. Over the course of eight weeks, participants created their own art and worked together to bead butterflies, trim feathers and create a suit for Mr. Lewis after his invitation to mask with the tribe. Participants in the class banded together to hire a pedicab for Mr. Lewis and supported their classmate during the celebration.

Learn more about Mr. Lewis and his participation in the celebration here.


Aroha Philanthropies is now E.A. Michelson Philanthropy

Dear Friends,

After eight years, Aroha Philanthropies is changing its name to E.A. Michelson Philanthropy. While the Māori word “aroha” can convey ideas of selflessness, tolerance, kindness and compassion, which are values embedded in our founder’s philanthropic work, “aroha” is not a commonly known or used word in English. Going forward, we feel we need a name that better aligns with our identity as a small private foundation founded and led by Ellen A. Michelson.

The mission of E.A. Michelson Philanthropy will remain the same: Through funding and advocacy, we champion programs that break barriers, build community and spark creativity. We are proud to have made grants totaling more than $47 million since 2006, actively supporting nonprofit organizations across the United States through direct financial support, advocacy, partnerships, informal alliances, convenings, trainings and more – work that we will continue to do.

Our refreshed website includes a sneak preview of an exciting new creative aging initiative for art museums that will launch in spring 2022. Many of the images on our site showcase creative aging participants from our Vitality Arts grantees. To learn more about Vitality Arts programs, click here.

Best,

Ellen A. Michelson                              Teresa Bonner
Founder and President                      Executive Director


Creative Aging featured on AAM blog

A blog post written by the Smithsonian Associates, a Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums grantee, was recently featured on the American Alliance of MuseumsMuseums and Aging blog. Learn how they reimagined their music program for older adults during the pandemic by clicking here.


Talk About #CreativeAging

Aroha’s Executive Director, Teresa Bonner, has been busy with several speaking opportunities to share about the field of creative aging and its importance in combating social isolation. She discussed creative aging with our partners at the American Alliance of Museums and The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies at the Grantmakers in Aging conference in October, shared at the Engaging Ageing 21 conference sponsored by the Age-Friendly University Global Network at Dublin City University in early November and was recently featured on an episode of the This is Getting Old podcast. You can listen to the full episode here.


PrimeLife Arts Learning Launches Creative Aging Courses

We are proud to support PrimeLife Arts Learning and the launch of their new online creative aging courses for those 55 and better. Their website lists the current creative aging visual arts offerings. You can read more about the photography, poetry, jewelry-making and drama virtual creative aging classes offered by Next Avenue in partnership with PrimeLife Arts Learning by clicking the links above. If you're 55+ and interested in joining a class, register here.