2014 Midwest Arts & Aging Conference

Getting On Board

First-Ever Midwest Arts & Aging Conference


ArtSage held its first-ever Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase, at Union Depot in Saint Paul on June 20, 2014. The conference attracted more than 200 people from all sectors of the arts and aging world attended, including artists and arts organizations, senior organizations, caregivers, media, and funders. Participants joined in a day-long creative program filled with sessions on poetry, movement, music, and visual arts.

With local, national, and regional community partners, ArtSage is working to build and shape the arts and aging movement, and this first-ever Arts & Aging conference highlighted the great need for continued communication and collaboration in the field. Sessions by nationally-recognized arts and aging experts focused on the positive assets of older adults, as well as their unique capacity for creative expression. Throughout the conference, attendees had an opportunity to network with arts and aging colleagues, peers, and funders.

I was so proud to be part of it, so exciting to share my passion with others through a partnership with this wonderful network, Artsage.

025.jpgThe conference kicked off with keynote speaker and poet Gary Glazner, founder of the nationally acclaimed Alzheimer's Poetry Project (APP), who introduced the research-based ideas behind creative aging. He engaged and inspired conference attendees with the playful call-and-response approach used by the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, and shared some of the poems he’s made with APP participants around the world. Gary’s second keynote shed light on the latest research and evaluation strategies used in arts programming for adults with memory loss.

Congratulations on a very professional conference.
Very impressive with a vibrant and large attendance.

080.jpgAfternoon workshops focused on developing successful arts programs for older adults with memory loss, and engaging frail seniors with music and movement programs, in sessions taught by leading arts-and-aging experts, including Gary Glazner and Zoë Bird of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, Maria Genné of Kairos Alive!, and Jeanie Brindley-Barnett and Joey Clark from MacPhail Music for Life™.

Great day all the way around. I had a chance to meet other 
artists and learn more about what they are doing in the 
community. Can’t wait for the next event!

072.jpgIn addition to workshops, the conference also offered an Exhibitor Fair for senior-serving groups and arts organizations, and the first-ever ArtSage Teaching Artist Showcase, providing ArtSage-trained artists who specialize in work with older adults opportunities to connect with senior living communities.

052.jpgWe continue to receive enthusiastic responses from attendees, and hope this will be the first of many events connecting regional senior communities, artists, service organizations, arts organizations, funders, and caregivers, and exploring the latest research and innovations in the field of arts and aging.

Thanks to our sponsors—Minnesota Good Age, the National Center on Creative Aging, The Waters Senior Living, and Aroha Philanthropies—for being part of the first-ever Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase.


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