Vermont Arts Council

Creative Aging

A Creative Aging exhibit at Vermont College of Fine Arts, 2022.

More than 9 percent of Vermonters are at least 65-years of age, and Vermont is on track to be the oldest state in the nation (65+) by 2032. Vermont also has one of the highest life expectancy rates at nearly 80 years of age. Participating in the arts as one ages can improve emotional well-being, support good health, strengthen social engagement, and bring purpose and joy.

Begun in 2021, the Creative Aging Initiative seeks to address challenges that many older Vermonters face, such as isolation and limited access to meaningful arts learning experiences. In addition, older adults all too often experience the effects of ageism. The initiative seeks to develop the capacity of the state to support older adults while promoting health and wellness and social engagement through the arts. Key to this work is the development of a network that includes artists, local arts organizations, Vermont’s area agencies on aging, and service providers for older adults in the state. The initiative arises from a partnership between the Central Vermont Council on Aging and the Vermont Arts Council and received initial funding from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with E.A. Michelson PhilanthropyRead the press release.

Creative Aging Grant Program

The initiative led to the opening of the Vermont Creative Aging grant program for organizations. Read the release.

Creative Aging Teaching Artist Roster

The Creative Aging Teaching Artist Roster is a resource for organizations looking to work with artists to create artistic programs for older Vermonters. The artists on the roster completed a multi-day training with Lifetime Arts on designing creative aging programs that include skill-based, sequential instructional lessons and intentional social engagement opportunities. On the roster you’ll find artists available in your region, information about their artist disciplines, contact information, and associated affiliation(s). Download the roster (PDF). 

Read our feature story on teaching artist Susan Rosano, “Successful Aging: Wisdom in Our Communities.”

An exhibit of creative work by participants in the Creative Care Kit project, co-sponsored by the Vermont Arts Council, was held in June 2022. The project was a part of the Council’s Creative Aging Initiative, which is now supporting grants to organizations to provide meaningful arts learning experiences for older Vermonters. Photo courtesy Vermont Arts Council.


  • Ashton Applewhite’s manifesto against ageism, This Chair Rocks, takes aim at how we view age. Her Let’s End Agism Ted Talk reminds us that agism is “a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.
  • The Creativity Matters Toolkit from the National Guild for Community Arts Education offers support to  those organizing community arts and aging programs. It gives others the tools to take the first step—and keep going.
  • The Creative Aging Resource from Lifetime Arts is a hub of hundreds of resources on topics related to the field of creative aging.
  • The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies provides resources for states and community members to build their capacity to facilitate creative aging programming.
  • The Community of Voices choir program documented a community choir’s impact on health and well-being and provides a manual for organizing an older adult choir program.
  • The Creativity and Aging Study from the National Endowment for the Arts led by Gene Cohen documents the impacts of professionally conducted community-based cultural programs on the general health, mental health, and social activities of older persons.
  •  A recent report from the American Alliance of Museums shows how cultural institutions can promote lifelong learning, joy and social connection for older adults.

Professional Partners

For more information, please contact Troy Hickman.

admin-place June 9, 2021