Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums

An Initiative of Aroha Philanthropies in Collaboration with the American Alliance of Museums and Lifetime Arts

The application period for this grant opportunity closed on August 1, 2018. Aroha Philanthropies received 128 proposals to be part of this new cohort. Grantees will be announced in September 2018.


Museums of all kinds, from art museums to zoos, are encouraged to apply for this competitive national grant opportunity.

A diverse cohort of 15 to 17 museums will be selected to receive grants of up to $25,000 to develop three instructional arts workshop series for older adults.

In addition, funded organizations will receive the training and technical assistance needed to produce three high-quality arts learning workshop series for older adults. Grants can be used to support the following:

  • Teaching artist fees
  • Art supplies
  • Direct program costs, including staff time, marketing and advertising expenses
  • Program documentation
  • Overhead (maximum 10% of request amount)

Aroha Philanthropies will provide additional program funding for a second year, contingent on successful completion of the first year of programming.


Eligible Organizations

  • Must be a unit of state or local government or a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
  • Must be a museum, broadly defined, including art, history, natural history, and science museums, historic houses and sites, arboretums, aquariums and zoos
  • Must have existing education or public programming staff and an organizational structure/budget into which this initiative can be integrated


Vitality Arts Program Requirements 

Programs must:

  • Be designed and facilitated by professional teaching artists.
  • Be based on sound principles of arts education and be student-centered, sequential and hands-on.
  • Support skill-building in an art form or forms. All visual, literary and performing arts disciplines (including, for example, spoken word and digital fabrication) are encouraged.
  • Consist of at least three distinct or repeated series of at least eight sequential workshops of no less than 90 minutes each, plus a culminating event. The three series should run consecutively.
  • Intentionally facilitate social interaction among participants.
  • Have the potential for replication and sustainability.

Grantees must use the grant period to create sustainable business plans to continue this programming after the Aroha grant funding ends.

Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Integrate at least part of the art programming into the museum’s public space and make use of the museum’s collections
  • Create affordable and accessible programs that serve racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse audiences


Be creative! 

Museums of all kinds have the opportunity to engage older adults in learning to make art. For example:

  • An aquarium might develop a painting, sculpture or photography workshop series related to aquatic life, or might engage a teaching artist to lead memoir or poetry workshops related to the sea.
  • A science museum might develop a collage or writing series that explores human relationships with the natural or industrial world.
  • An historic house might develop a memoir/art program in which participants relate to their personal or ancestral histories or might create a theater workshop exploring similar themes.

Note: Programs that are primarily therapeutic in nature or that are delivered in a healthcare setting are not eligible.


Technical Assistance

  • Program managers from funded organizations must attend an in-person two-day training session to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in early November 2018. Travel and lodging expenses for the in-person training will be reimbursed by Aroha Philanthropies.
  • Ongoing training, technical assistance and program development support will be provided by Lifetime Arts. This will include assistance in identifying, recruiting and training teaching artists. Teaching artists do NOT have to be identified at the time of application.
  • Information-sharing and peer networking will be encouraged via an online community platform.


Program Documentation

Aroha plans to widely publicize this initiative in order to build interest in Vitality Arts programs. Grantee organizations will be expected to document their programs in various media including video, photographs, and written reports.


Program Evaluation

Aroha will provide participant evaluation forms for use by grantees and will require submission of program data, reports and other information by grantees.


Renewal Funding

Renewal funding for a second year of programming is dependent on a positive evaluation of the grantee’s first year of programming.



There is an urgent need to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism, and promote a healthy change in societal attitudes toward aging as growth and older adults as contributors.

The goals of Seeding Vitality Arts are to:

  • Demonstrate the power and impact of creative aging programs to a broad national audience
  • Encourage arts and cultural organizations to develop participatory arts education programs for older adults
  • Encourage organizations that serve older adults to develop arts education programming
  • Disseminate effective program models


Benefits for Older Adults

  • Purpose and meaning
  • Reduction in social isolation
  • Improved physical and emotional wellbeing
  • JOY!


Benefits for Museums

  • New ways to engage older adults with your museum
  • New relationships with older adults and their families
  • New opportunities for cross-sector collaboration
  • Opportunities to diversify audiences, and improve community relations
  • Potential new volunteer base and advocates
  • Potential new funders




Sample Budget

The template below illustrates a typical budget to begin offering high-quality arts programs for older adults. It assumes development of three eight-week workshops, plus culminating events for each, and uses national average costs. Actual teaching artist fees, supplies and other expenses will vary based on region and art form.



About Vitality Arts

The broad field of creative aging encompasses many things: arts education, arts in health care, creativity for those with dementia, and more. Arts education programs – those that inspire and enable older adults to learn, make and share the arts in ways that are novel, complex and socially engaging – make up a subset of the creative aging field. They are led by teaching artists whose creative process and understanding of older adults bring connection, improved health and well-being, and a renewed sense of purpose to older adults in community and residential settings. With the term Vitality Arts, Aroha Philanthropies aims to champion arts programs that keep us vital, joyful and engaged by unleashing the transformative power of creativity in those 55+. More information is available at


About Aroha Philanthropies

Aroha Philanthropies is devoted to the transformative power of the arts and creativity, inspiring vitality in those over 55, joy in children and youth, and humanity in adults with mental illness. We believe that learning, making, and sharing art enriches everyone throughout their lifetime. Aroha Philanthropies works to improve the quality of life of people 55+ by encouraging the funding, development, and proliferation of arts programs designed to enhance longer lives, and by advancing the development of professional teaching artists working with those in their encore years. More information is available at


About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit


About Lifetime Arts 

Lifetime Arts, Inc. was founded in 2008 as a service organization with a singular goal: to enrich the lives of older adults through arts education. Lifetime Arts works nationally to build the capacity of organizations, agencies, and individuals to initiate, develop, implement, and sustain professionally-conducted Creative Aging programs for the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. For more information, visit

Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums

Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums will enable a diverse cohort of 15-17 museums to develop and implement high-quality, intensive arts learning opportunities for older adults. All types of museums, from art museums to zoos, were eligible to apply for this two-year funding and capacity-building opportunity.

The Request for Proposals, including detailed program and grant guidelines, can be viewed here.

Before applying, you must view the recording of the informational webinar that was held on June 13, 2018. Proposals may be submitted via Aroha’s online grants portal.

Proposals are due by close of business on August 1, 2018.

Photo Credit
Aroha Philanthropies video, A Dose of Creativity

“They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in Kindergarten, why fear them now?”

 Hugh MacLeod