Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums

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

Congratulations to the 20 museums from across the United States that will participate in Aroha’s “Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums” grant initiative!

Members of this diverse group of museums, hailing from Alaska to Puerto Rico, will develop and implement high-quality, intensive arts learning opportunities for older adults. Grantees include art museums, botanical gardens, historical societies and houses, and science museums.


Museum Name City State
Adventure Science Center Nashville  TN
Albuquerque Museum Foundation Albuquerque  NM
Anchorage Museum Association Anchorage  AK
Craft & Folk Art Museum Los Angeles  CA
Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance Chicago  IL
Heard Museum Phoenix  AZ
John Michael Kohler Arts Center Sheboygan  WI
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte San Juan  PR
Museum L-A Lewiston  ME
Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson Tucson  AZ
Naples Botanical Garden Naples  FL
National Museum of Mexican Art Chicago  IL
Neon Museum Las Vegas  NV
Ohio History Connection Columbus  OH
Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts Camden  NJ
Smithsonian Institution Washington  DC
Speed Art Museum Louisville  KY
The Louisiana Museum Foundation New Orleans  LA
The Olana Partnership Hudson  NY
Union County Historical Society and Heritage Museum New Albany  MS


Selected museums will receive program grants of up to $25,000, renewable for a second year, as well as the training, technical assistance and capacity-building services needed to produce successful public programs. Those services will be provided by Lifetime Arts, which has partnered with Aroha on its two prior Seeding Vitality Arts initiatives.

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

You can view the press release announcing the grants here.

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


Seeding Vitality Arts Program Requirements 

Programs will:

  • 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.

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


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.


Initiative Goals

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 healthcare, 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

This new initiative addresses the urgent need to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism, and promote a healthy change in attitudes toward aging as growth and older adults as contributors. The 20 selected museums will receive the training and funding needed to produce successful arts education programs for adults 55+. Aroha Philanthropies developed this program in collaboration with the American Alliance of Museums and Lifetime Arts.

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