Maine Arts Commission receives $60,000 to expand Creative Aging Initiatives

  • March 22, 2021

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Maine Arts Commission receives $60,000 to expand Creative Aging Initiatives

AUGUSTA, ME—The Maine Arts Commission is expanding its programming for older citizens thanks to an infusion of $60,000 to support Creative Aging initiatives throughout the state. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) in collaboration with Aroha Philanthropies announced its Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging grant award to 36 state and jurisdictional arts agencies, including Maine, to facilitate programming for lifelong learning, social engagement and improved well-being for older adults through the arts.

“The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to receive grant support to promote Creative Aging initiatives in Maine,” said Kerstin Gilg, the agency’s Director of Grants and Accessibility. “The funding will be used for instructor training, project support, and increasing the award amount in the existing Creative Aging grant.

Research in creative aging began in the 1970s and became a mainstream methodology in 2006 with the publication of The Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults,” by Dr. Gene D. Cohen, M.D. In his studies, Cohen demonstrated that participation in activities that foster creative engagement and skills mastery in a social environment has positive psychological, physical and emotional health benefits for older adults.

While Maine contains the oldest per-capita population in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services projects the state’s aging population (21 percent) will grow faster than the national rate, comprising nearly 30% of the total population by 2040. The Arts Commission’s role to bolster its creative aging programs tailored to the unique needs of its constituents remains critical. Creative aging programs are intended to foster such health benefits and offset some of the difficulties that arise for older populations and their support service providers. 

By outlining long-range goals, the Maine Arts Commission will partner with arts organizations across the state and conduct teaching trainings and organization development to build creative aging capacity. In November of 2021 the agency will collaborate with the Maine Council on Aging to gauge the successes and challenges of creating aging initiatives while developing and new practices based on the emerging needs of the field. 

To learn more about the Maine’s creative aging programs, or how to become a certified teaching artist, visit the Arts Commission’s website at


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Ryan Leighton

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333