Skip to content

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

Category: Press Release

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Aroha Philanthropies, the American Alliance of Museums, and Lifetime Arts announced today that they will collaborate to launch Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums, a new national initiative developed, funded and managed by Aroha Philanthropies.

The project will enable a diverse cohort of 15-17 museums across America to develop and implement high quality, intensive arts learning opportunities for older adults. All types of museums will be eligible to apply, including art museums, science centers, history museums, arboretums and zoos. Aroha Philanthropies will provide program funding to selected museums for up to two years as well as access to the training and technical assistance needed for them to be successful.

All three organizations feel 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.

Aroha will issue a request for proposals in early June 2018 and announce the grants recipients in September. Grantees will attend  a two-day in-person training session in November, and public programming by grantees may begin as early as March 2019. Aroha’s total philanthropic investment in Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums will exceed $1 million.

Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums will build on the success of Aroha’s two previous cohorts, Seeding Vitality Arts U.S. and Seeding Vitality Arts MN.

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

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) will advise on the initiative, assist in recruiting a new museum cohort and assist with documenting and disseminating the outcomes of this work. AAM has played a similar role in Innovation Lab, a program created and run by EmcArts with funding from the Doris Duke Foundation. AAM also will tell the stories of museums that participate, setting the stage for more institutions to offer programs and services for creative aging in their own communities.  The Alliance and Aroha Philanthropies are already in discussions about more ways they can work together to advance this important cause.

Lifetime Arts, the nationally recognized leader in designing and disseminating model creative aging programs for active older adults, will provide training and technical assistance to museum grantees. Lifetime Arts has partnered with Aroha Philanthropies in its two previous Seeding Vitality Arts cohorts.

Aroha Philanthropies Founder and President Ellen A. Michelson said, “Aroha is thrilled to develop this new partnership with AAM and our long-time partner Lifetime Arts. We believe that museums, which have provided arts education to youth for decades, are natural partners in bringing the gift of creativity to older adults.”

“Museums can enrich the lives of people at all ages, and they’re proven to stimulate creativity, compassion, and critical thinking skills,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott. “We look forward to working with Aroha Philanthropies to help demonstrate museums’ positive effect on social connections, happiness and health outcomes. We are particularly pleased that the initiative will encourage museums to design programs that are affordable, accessible, and relevant to audiences that are diverse in terms of race, culture,­ and socioeconomic level.”

Lifetime Arts CEO and Co-Founder Maura O’Malley said, “Expanding Lifetime Arts’ capacity-building services to American museums is a long-held goal of ours. With this latest Vitality Arts initiative, these important institutions will join a growing cohort of stakeholders who embrace today’s older adults as creative learners and in doing so promote a cultural shift towards a positive view of aging.”

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. More information is available at

Aroha, AAM, and Lifetime Arts logos.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.