The Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums

E.A. Michelson Philanthropy is planning a major new initiative to expand Vitality Arts programs in America’s art museums.

The Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums 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. A select group of art museum leaders will address this work holistically and will collaborate in integrating new, inclusive approaches to older adults in their museums.

The initiative will draw on best practices identified by the American Alliance of Museums in its report, “Museums and Creative Aging: A Healthful Partnership,” as well as lessons learned through E.A. Michelson Philanthropy’s Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums grant cohort. Museums in that cohort have successfully developed and completed more than two years of Vitality Arts programming, including live virtual programs designed to meet the challenges of the pandemic. 

E.A. Michelson Philanthropy is grateful to museum consultants András Szántó, Ph.D., and Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., who are advising on the design and development of this major initiative, as well as Lifetime Arts, which will provide training and technical assistance to the participating art museums.

We await the day when Vitality Arts programs, emblems of this new vision, are endemic in art museums and funded as a matter of course. 

Details of the initiative and an announcement of the pilot group of museums will be available later in 2022.

LACMA, LOS ANGELES, CA

"We wanted to focus on older adults who may not see the museum as being a place for them, who may not see themselves as being creative. We wanted to give them opportunities to feel that joy of immersing yourself in the process of making."

— Karen Satzman, LACMA

LOUISIANA STATE MUSEUM, NEW ORLEANS, LA

"These programs for older adults are a benefit to any museum. They create opportunities for meaningful engagement, community building and creation, as well as for learning about the exhibitions."

— Sara Lowenburg, Louisiana State Museum