Hartford Stage Selected to Participate in National Creative Aging Program

 Hartford Stage is one of twenty nonprofit arts organizations nationwide selected to participate in the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Catalyzing Creative Aging Program. This new multi-phase project, created in collaboration with Lifetime Arts, will support participating organizations in developing innovative, skills-based arts education programming for older adults.

Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education for Hartford Stage, noted that the Guild’s two-phase approach of training and implementation matched a strategic initiative already in place at Hartford Stage.

“Expanding our education programs to serve older adults is something that we have been interested in for some time but wanted to take the time to explore possibilities and lay the groundwork before jumping in to a new programmatic initiative,” Roberts said. “Participating in this program will equip us with knowledge of current research on the benefits of arts education for older adults, an understanding of best practices, and a cohort of colleagues with whom to share ideas as we develop our program. We are proud to be working with the Guild and with our colleagues around the country to be a part of the important conversation about the role the arts play in creative aging.”

Participation in the Catalyzing Creative Aging Program, following a competitive national selection process, enables Hartford Stage to explore opportunities to increase access to theatre arts programming for an older population. Hartford Stage will receive training and technical assistance through the program via a series of workshops, webinars and video consultations. At the conclusion of the training sessions, ten participating organizations will be selected to receive seed grants to implement new creative aging programs in fall 2018.

Resident Teaching Artist Natalie Pertz is serving as Hartford Stage’s education team liaison. Pertz attended initial training sessions last November in San Francisco and is responsible for sharing information from these training sessions with Hartford Stage’s Education team to help develop an instructional theatre arts class designed specifically for older adults. The training sessions have also been helpful in defining what creative aging looks like for today’s older adults.

“It was energizing and reinvigorating to participate in the Catalyzing Creative Aging Institute on behalf of Hartford Stage,” Pertz said. “The institute brought together artists, educators, and administrators from a wide array of disciplines and experiences. Despite this variety, there was a collective, unifying excitement towards Creative Aging and how it can transform our existing arts communities. As we begin exploring theatre arts classes for older adults, I look forward to working with and learning from the lifelong learners that will comprise these Hartford Stage classrooms.”

To learn more about the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Catalyzing Creative Aging Program, visit www.nationalguild.org