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SageNews : Spring 2015

Intro to Arts and Aging

2014 Arts & Aging Conference

Welcome to another issue of SageNews, the quarterly newsletter of ArtSage, a connector, convener and catalyst for the field of arts and aging 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!

JUNE 19, 2015 8 AM - 5 PM

Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase — Chaska

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska MN

2014 ConferenceJoin us for an arts-infused day of keynotes and workshops from national and regional leaders in the field of arts and aging, plus showcases from 25 outstanding ArtSage-trained professional teaching artists. Learn how to build arts programming for older adults that is based on best practices in the field.

Who should attend? Seniors, activity directors and senior care staff, education directors at arts and cultural organizations, artists, librarians, community educators, funders, health and wellness practitioners, lifelong learners, caregivers, and anyone who would love to learn more about arts and aging.

The keynote speaker this year is Stuart Kandell, founder of Stagebridge Senior Theatre, a national leader in the field of arts and aging. Stuart will also be offering a hands-on workshop of theater exercises and techniques he uses with seniors in his company.

Morning workshops offer practical tools and techniques for developing and delivering engaging arts programs for older adults as well as demographic information and an overview of the field. In the afternoon, experience Interactive Workshops taught by leading artists and arts partners and a Teaching Artists Showcase. Make new connections at the Exhibitor Fair, featuring arts organizations and senior-serving organizations. The day ends with a happy hour designed for arts and aging networking.

The Midwest Arts & Aging Conference and Showcase is open to the public. ArtSage Members receive a discount on registration fees, which start at just $78 for the full day.



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Good Age Magazine

Intro to Arts & Aging Workshops

Rochester, Fargo-Moorhead and Cass Lake

Paramount Theater With a grant from the Bush Foundation, ArtSage offered a series of three Intro to Arts & Aging Workshops around Minnesota this winter and spring, co-hosted by community partners—Rochester Art Center, Plains Art Museum, and the Minnesota Chippewa tribe.

Participants joined in movement and song, made poems and drawings, and explored the benefits of arts engagement for lifelong health and quality of life. These hands-on workshops are specially designed for artists, arts organizations, senior community staff, family members and caregivers, and all those who wished to learn more about the emerging hybrid field of arts and aging.

Presenters included ArtSage director Tammy Hauser, gerontologists Jim Tift of St. Catherine University and Sue Humphers-Ginther of the Gerontology Program at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Jane Tygesson of Open Doors to Memory, Maria Genné and the staff of Kairos ALIVE!, theater artist Heather Bunch, and poet Zoë Bird of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project-MN.

Through programs like these, ArtSage is building awareness of the critical need for arts and aging, and building a network in Minnesota. The Plains Art Museum event was featured on the evening new broadcast at KVRR in Fargo.


This Intro to Arts & Aging workshops was part of a series of ArtSage events sponsored by the Bush Foundation.

Some Thoughts from Outgoing ArtSage
Executive Director Tammy Hauser


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As Executive Director Tammy Hauser prepares to leave ArtSage June 30 to continue work with Blue Sky Thinking, her consulting firm for nonprofit arts, culture and entertainment clients, she reflects on a few of the changes over the past three years:

When Pat Samples, co-founder of the MN Creative Arts and Aging Network (MNCAAN) called me in 2012 to create a business plan, I could not foresee the impact that this small grassroots organization would have on the field three years later. Who knew that a call for a business plan would launch a creative aging movement?

We began the change process with an organizational audit and conducted interviews with clients, colleagues, funders and local and national experts. As we began to understand the ecology, players, and programs in the field of arts and aging, we realized that what was lacking in Minnesota was an umbrella organization that could connect people working in arts and aging, convene them so that they might to learn from each other—and seed a movement of shared best practices.

ArtSage could catalyze the arts and aging community, developing high-quality arts programming that would increase the number of trained teaching artists delivering arts experiences to older adults and expanding the desire for that programming—at senior housing, care facilities and community organizations serving older adults. We envisioned our new role as systems-wide change agent rather than simply a competing program provider.

We came up with a new name, ArtSage, created a beautiful logo, branding templates, website, and language to describe who we were and what we wanted to do, and we worked to maintain this new brand identity across all communications and marketing channels.

With generous funding from two key partners, the Minnesota State Arts Board and Aroha Philanthropies, we were able to launch a three-year Teaching Artist Training Initiative that also served arts organization teams, and included community engagement workshops we called “Intro to Arts & Aging.” Aroha Philanthropies also provided operating support, which paid for our consulting fees as a virtual management team for the newly relaunched nonprofit.

As our training became better known, ArtSage became a nationally-recognized leader in the arts and aging field. All of our training is based on an interdisciplinary model that uses all modes of learning (sensory, kinetic, experiential and memory-based). There is no other program like it, which also combines mentorship, in-person and online training, self-guided workbook, a Showcase marketing opportunity for artists, plus site visits and teaching practicums.

In addition to raising more than $677,000 to support arts and aging development in Minnesota over the past three years, Blue Sky Thinking team members and ArtSage presenters have also:

  • Trained 106 teaching artists
  • Trained 24 arts organizations
  • Delivered 10 Intro to Aging Workshops serving 1,000 people across Minnesota
  • Hosted 2 Annual Arts & Aging Conferences
  • Found, hired & managed 25 contractors, trainers and presenters
  • Recreated a Membership program, growing it to 80+
  • Rebranded MNCAAN to ArtSage, including name, logo, website, graphics, and all communications and marketing materials
  • Developed all ArtSage financial, operational systems and processes
  • Grown the ArtSage database from 700 to 7,500 contacts
  • Issued 7 Newsletters & 9 Issues Briefs
  • Produced 2 ArtSage videos
  • Created branded program brochures and marketing pieces
  • Represented ArtSage at 7 state and national conferences

As I look back over our accomplishments of the past three years, I must thank all of the wonderful artists who embraced the ArtSage ideal of healthy aging through the arts: Jeanie Brindley-Barnett of MacPhail Center for Music, who became Lead Mentor and helped to develop the training program and our workshops in collaboration with several other key mentors and partners: Andrea Lewandoski, Joey Clark, Maria Genné, Jeanne Bayer, and Jane Tygesson. Over the years, additional teaching artists, mentors, arts partners, and experts joined us: Zoë Bird, Heather Bunch, Sandra Menefee Taylor, Michèle Coppin, Jim Tift, Parker Genné, Iris Shiraishi, Lucy Rose Fisher, the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project-MN, and Kairos ALIVE!, among others.

We’ve had wonderful collaborators from the national stage as well: Susan Perlstein of the National Center for Creative Aging and Elders Share the Arts, Maura O’Malley of Lifetime Arts, Gary Glazner of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, Anne Basting of TimeSlips, Stuart Kandell of Stagebridge Senior Theatre, Tim Carpenter of EngAGE, and Jorge Merced of Pregones Theater, to name just a few.

Huge thanks are due to Megan Buchanan, Erin Hart, and Claire Chamberlin, for helping me to manage ArtSage through many program developments and changes over the past three years.

As we turn the page on June 30, I’m sad to say goodbye to ArtSage, but excited for its next phase and grateful to have played a part in its success.

—Tammy Hauser

ArtSage Director at “The Creative Age”
National Center for Creative Aging Conference

ArtSage Executive Director Tammy Hauser was a presenter at THE CREATIVE AGE: NCCA Leadership Exchange and Conference, held in Washington D.C. May 19-20. Tammy took part on a panel, “Lifelong Learning — Leaving An Impact: How To Be Sustainable And Artful,” looking at ways business practices can help support lifelong learning initiatives in a variety of settings.

Tammy’s fellow panelists included Antoinette Ford, Executive Director of the Double Nickels Theatre Company, and Francesca Rosenberg of the Museum of Modern Art, along with moderator Susan Chandler, Vice President of Art Midwest.

ArtSage partners Kairos ALIVE! also helped to kick off THE CREATIVE AGE conference with one of their signature Community Dance Hall events at the Old Naval Hospital in Washington on the evening of Monday, May 18, a celebration that was carried live across the nation via Periscope.


Check out our brand-new ArtSage video, an introduction to our work. The film features Executive Director Tammy Hauser, along with master artists Joey Clark and Iris Shiraishi, talking about the work they do, and engaged in art-making with their older adult students. The students join in the conversation as well, giving a personal perspective on what involvement in the arts brings to their lives: the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social benefits of lifelong learning.

The new video was produced by Paul Auguston and Edie French of, who will be exhibitors at the ArtSage Midwest Arts & Aging Conference on June 19.

Get Social with ArtSage!

ArtSage is on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and we’d love to invite you to join in the conversation about arts and aging in Minnesota.

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You can also check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds on the ArtSage website.

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