California Arts Council

California Arts Council

A state agency dedicated to advancing California through the arts and creativity.

The California Arts Council builds public will and resources for the arts; fosters accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serves as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and provides relevant programs and services.

Creative Aging Profile

Female senior participant models an ornate red paper-cutting of flowers and vines draped from shoulders down to her waist like a vest.
With support from the California Arts Council, Art Produce will facilitate a residency with paper artist, Bhavna Mehta who will engage the local senior community and neighborhood residents in art workshops and story-telling. Participants will design intricately cut and folded paper creations to be worn and exhibited in a multimedia performance, transforming stories into visual memories. Artwork and documentation will be displayed in storefront windows and banners throughout the community.

Agency Initiative

The California Arts Council takes actions that express various values including: the arts are a societal cornerstone that bring people together and build community; arts and culture have a direct impact on the health, welfare, and economic well-being of all Californians and their communities; and arts education is an essential tool for healthy human development, core curriculum and lifelong learning that must be available to all—during early development years, during and after school, and for all ages.

The California Arts Council offers 15 grant programs to California nonprofit organizations and units of government.

Grant programs that have funded projects for older adults/creative aging include:

Artists in Communities – Up to $18,000 for artist residencies in community settings.

Local Impact – Up to $18,000 for community-driven arts projects by small and mid-sized arts groups.

Veterans in the Arts – Up to $18,000 for arts projects for veteran communities.

Arts & Accessibility Technical Assistance – Enhancing opportunities for participation in the arts by people with disabilities, administered in partnership with the National Arts and Disability Center.


Agency Creative Aging Resources & Tools

Examples of creative aging projects funded by California Arts Council grant programs:

Mariposa County Arts Council – F/STOP, Mariposa

The Mariposa County Arts Council offers a lifespan-learning program, F/STOP, which provides photography-based programs to underserved senior citizens. Participants learn how to use photography to express their identities, tell stories, and share their connection to Mariposa. The culminating event is a multi-sited public exhibition that will engage the general public with art created by F/STOP participants.

San Diego Dance Theater – Aging Creatively, San Diego

Six times per week San Diego Dance Theater hosts an “Aging Creatively” dance class. This hour-long class is specifically designed for moving bodies, ages 60-99. Students are encouraged to write journal entries about any memories or life stories that are triggered from the movements generated in class.

Modeled after Aging Creatively, San Diego Dance Theater Theater and lead artist Jean Isaacs will design and implement, with two veteran teaching artists, a sustained residence in modern dance and dance improvisation, for senior dancers living in and near Chula Vista. Grant Program: Artists in Communities

Diversionary Theatre – The Stonewall Salon, San Diego

Diversionary Theatre, America’s third oldest LGBT theatre, presents The Stonewall Salon, a lifelong learning program for older adults. This interactive arts education program focuses on developing and writing personal histories giving their often unheard dynamic life stories a platform. The program builds writing and acting skills, and strong ensemble principles. This 13 week program meets weekly and culminates with an original devised performance on Diversionary’s historic Mainstage. Grant Program: Artists in Communities

Queer Rebel Productions – The Elder Project Creative Writing Workshops, San Francisco County

With support from the California Arts Council, Queer Rebel Productions and lead artist Kali Boyce will facilitate The Elder Project Creative Writing Workshops, two 6-month programs of creative writing and storytelling workshops for LGBTQ seniors, one in San Francisco and the other in Oakland. The aim is to reduce isolation, while building community and visibility for this underserved community. Grant Program: Artists in Communities

Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy, Los Angeles County

SAPPA will provide free year-round weekly music education workshops for very low-income African-American and Latino seniors at two sites in partnership with the Watts Labor Community Action Committee: the Bradley Multipurpose Center in Watts, where the program has been offered since October 2016; and the Theresa Lindsey Senior Center in South Los Angeles, where a new program began in fall 2017. Participants learn to read music and play keyboards. Grant Program: Local Impact

Additional Creative Aging Resources

EngAGE, Burbank

EngAGE creates community and changes lives by transforming affordable senior and multigenerational housing projects into vibrant centers of learning, wellness, and creativity. EngAGE in Creativity is a community-based multi-disciplinary arts program. It is taught by professional artists who provide college-level arts and creativity classes, programs, and events to low- and moderate-income seniors and others, delivered on-site at no cost to them at the affordable senior and multigenerational apartment communities where they live.



California is projected to be one of the fastest growing States in the nation in total population. In 1990, California comprised 12% of the nation’s population and is expected to have 14% of the nation’s population by 2020 (an increase of 15.7 million people). In California, the elderly population is expected to grow more than twice as fast as the total population and this growth will vary by region.

Source: California Department of Aging


Creative Aging Point Person