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SageNews : Summer 2014

Midwest Arts and Aging Conference and Showcase

Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase attendees enjoying the morning session with Gary Glazner

Welcome to another issue of SageNews, the quarterly newsletter of ArtSage, a convener, connector and catalyst for the field of arts and aging. We provide training for artists and organizations, consulting services and resources in the field of arts and aging. Please visit to join us!


Asked why he continued to practice his instrument at age 90, the legendary cellist Pablo Casals replied, “Because I think I'm making progress.”


Gene Cohen’s research indicators for healthy aging are social engagement and mastery. So how do we define the term “mastery” when speaking about older adults? In an arts and aging context, mastery simply means gaining skill or knowledge of a technique or topic—which contributes to a sense of control and empowerment. At ArtSage, we know from research that creating a poem, singing a song, telling a story, and moving to music can all contribute to a sense of mastery, and to the process of healthy aging. READ MORE »

Getting On Board — First-Ever Midwest Arts & Aging Conference

ArtSage hosted our first-ever Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase, held at Union Depot in Saint Paul on June 20. More than 200 people from all sectors of the arts and aging world joined in a day-long creative program filled with sessions on poetry, movement, music, and visual arts focusing on the positive assets of older adults, as well as their unique capacity for creative expression.

Conference photos


“I was so proud to be part of it, so exciting to share my passion with
others through a partnership with this wonderful network, ArtSage.”


“Great day all the way around. I had a chance to meet other artists
and learn more about what they are doing in the community.”

ArtSage at NCCA Conference

In June, Tammy Hauser, ArtSage Interim Executive Director took part in THE CREATIVE AGE: Exploring Potential in the Second Half of Life, A National Leadership Exchange and Conference in Washington, D.C. This first-ever, groundbreaking forum convened leaders across all sectors—research, policy, and practice—who promote creative expression as vital to healthy aging.

In her panel, CREATIVITY MATTERS! THE BASICS IN ARTS AND AGING PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, Tammy shared the unique ArtSage approach to artist training, which uses a multi-modal, layered approach combining sensory experiences and art making, taught by teaching artists working with older adults in care facilities.

“It’s wonderful to see Minnesota at the forefront of this international movement,” Tammy said. “Together we’re building a network to support and encourage healthy aging through the arts.”

Aroha Philanthropies — Making a Difference in Arts & Aging

Aroha logo In 2013, ArtSage received a significant operating support grant from the Michelson Foundation of San Francisco, to provide the essential infrastructure needed to move the arts and aging field forward in MN.

The Michelson Foundation recently changed its name to Aroha Philanthropies. From the Maori culture of New Zealand, aroha is a term that encompasses core values—selflessness, tolerance, kindness, generosity, compassion, and love—that also embody the spirit and life philosophy of the foundation's founder and president, Ellen Michelson.

Ellen says: “More than ever, we believe that tapping the creative powers of people in their ‘third stage’ of life has enormous potential, not just for participants but for society as a whole. We are committed to inspiring opportunities for this large, growing, and underserved segment of our population.”

“We are delighted with Aroha Philanthropies’ support for ArtSage,” says interim executive director Tammy Hauser. “With this funding, we can continue building capacity and infrastructure for our expanding field.”


By the year 2026, older adults will comprise nearly 20% of the U.S. population.

Arts & Aging Professional Development Initiative

Grants Support Arts & Aging Training for Teaching Artists

ArtSage recently received a third year of funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board for its 2014-15 Arts & Aging Professional Development Initiative. Arts Board funding means that 30 Minnesota artists will be able to participate in the year-long ArtSage professional development program that prepares teaching artists to work with older adults. Applications are available end of July and program runs Sept-June, 2015. READ MORE »

Member Spotlight

Jeanie Brindley-Barnett, MacPhail Music for Life™

“We are all deserving of a high quality of life until the last breath we take.”

Jeanie Brindley-BarnettArtSage has been fortunate to work with singer, composer, and arts educator Jeanie Brindley-Barnett, a nationally recognized leader in the field of arts & aging. As Co-Founder and Senior Artist of MacPhail Music for Life™, Jeanie's been able to combine a lifelong connection to older adults with her all-consuming passion for music. As a child, Jeanie got to spend time with her grandmother, who lived with her family in Alabama. She also sang with her musician parents' big band, which performed regularly in a variety of venues including local nursing homes. “I grew up with the music that I’m teaching in MacPhail Music for Life™,” she says. “That’s the music in my heart.” READ MORE »

Arts & Aging Deadlines and Opportunities

The Metropolitan Regional Art Council grant deadline for its next round of Arts Activities Support is July 14.

Elder Care Alliance of Alameda, California is seeking submissions for an art exhibition, “Redefining Age: A Square Foot Art Show.” The submission deadline is August 1.

The Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine and Global Alliance for Arts & Health presents ARTS IN HEALTH: PATIENTS, PROVIDERS AND THE COMMUNITY, A Regional Arts in Healthcare Symposium, November 26-17, 2014 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The symposium has also issued a call for presentations; the deadline is August 15.

Milwaukee-based Extendicare Foundation offers grants that focus on caregiver education and quality of life initiatives in long term care. The next deadline is September 30.

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council offers up to $5,000 in Community Arts support for groups wishing to offer quality arts activities in any discipline to communities within the seven-county metropolitan area. Next deadline is October 6.


When working with frail older adults, face them when you speak with them, and position your lips at the same level as theirs. Speak slowly, and use visual aids such as pictures and diagrams to help clarify and reinforce comprehension of key points.

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