Colorado Creative Industries Secures New Funding for Creative Aging

Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a division of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, recently secured new funding from a national grant program to advance creative aging programs for older adults in Colorado.

Colorado secured $23,000 to fund a two-year partnership between CCI and Think 360 Arts for Learning to expand the organization’s existing Creative Aging program to reach more older adults in rural Colorado. 

“Colorado Creative Industries is honored that we were awarded this funding to advance creating aging programs for older adults in our state and express our gratitude to NASAA and Aroha Philanthropies,” said Margaret Hunt, agency director. “We look forward to working with our state partner, Think 360 Arts, for this important work in our state.”

Recognizing that older adults have many contributions to make to their communities—but that they often face ageism and isolation and have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19—CCI sought funding from the Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging program, a joint initiative of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and Aroha Philanthropies. 

"NASAA is proud to have Colorado in our creative aging cohort," said Pam Breaux, NASAA President and CEO. "This grant will help to grow opportunities for creative aging in Colorado over time, facilitating lifelong learning, joy, social engagement and improved well-being for older adults." 

"Aroha Philanthropies is proud to partner with NASAA to support creative aging through our state and jurisdictional arts agencies," said Ellen Michelson, founder and president of the foundation. "This initiative marks an important step toward broadened awareness, adoption and funding of creative aging programs across the country."

Colorado Creative Industries is one of 36 state arts agencies receiving awards from NASAA. With this funding, each state will conduct creative aging activities tailored to the unique needs of its constituents. Colorado’s funding will bolster an existing creative aging program through which trained teaching artists will conduct residencies at partner organizations, such as senior centers, public libraries, nursing homes and community centers to engage older adults in the arts. The program primarily serves low-income adults to support healthy aging and contribute to lifelong vitality. The funding will also allow CCI and Think 360 to convene thought partners, including the State Unit on Aging and the Area Agencies on Aging to discuss and identify regional needs and opportunities in rural Colorado. 

“Since 2016, Think 360 Arts has been customizing programs in all arts disciplines that speak to the unique needs of older adults,” reports Jennifer Olson, Executive Director of Think 360 Arts. “Our professional teaching artists add both their expertise and empathy to the work, making our programming personalized and distinctive. We are thrilled that this new collaboration with CCI will help us train more artists and support meaningful arts experiences for older adults across the state, especially those in rural communities that face the challenges of isolation.”

For information about new creative aging activities taking place in Colorado, email Libby Barbee, Program Manager at Colorado Creative Industries. Learn more about NASAA's Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging initiative.