Illinois Arts Council Agency

Illinois Arts Council Agency

To build a strong, creative, and connected Illinois through the arts. 

The Illinois Arts Council Agency declares with One Voice that we shall be Better Together with the Arts. The IACA keeps focused on a single purpose, the creative well-being of Illinois, so that Illinoisans can have the best that can be offered to learn, connect, and advance.


Creative Aging Profile

Man dressed in white attire and kufi cap dances with a small group in a park.

Teju Dancing with Friends

Universal Arts Illinois

The Illinois Arts Council Agency supports universal access to the arts.

Unity in diversity

The arts are not practiced in isolation. The Illinois Arts Council Agency promotes unity among diverse communities. Differences shared create unique mosaics; they enrich the lives of Illinoisans.

Agency Initiative 

Art Encounter: Arts Experiences for Caregivers


This is a pilot program that covers training for ten caregivers to learn these skills. Ten caregivers will take two half-day workshops, one focusing on how to engage clients to talk about what they see and what they think about in an artwork, and the other focusing on simple hands-on activities they can do with their clients. Both activities help keep memories alive.

Unfortunately, there is a large group of people who do not have access to quality programs with art. These are people residing in their own homes with services provided by caregivers. While caregivers are not usually artists, they can be taught to use visual images as a tool to encourage conversation and to provide hands-on art experiences that will foster creativity and a sense of relating to the outside world.

Viewing, talking about, and creating art are powerful tools for stimulating older minds, fostering communication, and nurturing happiness. Caregivers can learn techniques that encourage conversations about pictures and simple art activities that expand the imagination and give clients a sense of control. Art Encounter has worked with the elderly in assisted living and skilled care residences since its inception.

Creative Aging Resources & Tools

Art Encounter

Mission: To bring an understanding and appreciation of art and the creative process to people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds through interactive explorations of visual art and hands-on activities.

Hats Off to Art – Community building for the elderly in four senior residences

This 6-session series begins with a traveling art exhibition and discussion at senior residences. Art Encounter’s teaching artists present several works of art and lead discussions aimed at bringing out the ideas in the work and stimulating the participants’ memories. During the next weeks, the group explores their own creativity with different art materials. A mask-making session begins with a presentation of original masks from around the world. Another week, the participants decorate hats to symbolize their interests. At the end of each session, the teaching artists encourage the participants to talk about their creations with the group. The project culminates with an exhibit and discussion of the work for other residents, friends, and families.

Picturing Thoughts 

Higher functioning seniors express their memories and interests as they create personal art books. For 7 weeks, teaching artists introduce a theme for the day such as, “food” or “historical memory,” by leading a discussion of original art works that show unique approaches to the topic. For example, “food” begins with a discussion of a mixed media painting by Laura Kina who explores her own Asian/ Spanish heritage. The project concludes with a discussion of the books with friends, family, and other residents.


JourneyCare is the largest nonprofit provider of palliative, supportive and end-of-life care in Illinois. Music thanatologists help people access emotions, however, the main focus of music thanatology is to connect musically with what’s going on physically for the patient. For example, the pace of someone’s breathing informs the thanatologist on how to pace the music to slow the breathing to bring comfort.

Music therapists are trained as therapists to talk about feelings and memories brought on by music giving patients and families an expressive outlet. Art therapy offers hospice patients an opportunity to use visual arts to improve the quality of life at the end of life. Guided art activities offer patients the ability to reconnect with long-term memories finding meaning and closure while creating a new memory that can be left for loved ones.

Terra Nova Film 

Terra Nova was founded in 1981 with the mission of creating films and videos that explored with sensitivity and dignity the complex issues surrounding aging and growing older. Terra Nova’s pursuit of excellence led to the national distribution on PBS of its community forum, Compassion for Those We Love: A Town Meeting on Family Caregiving for Alzheimer’s in the Hispanic Community. By Spring 2016 the program reached a potential audience through 90 broadcasts of nearly 100 million people, including more than six million Hispanics.


Additional Creative Aging Resources

GoldMind Arts

Chicago Dance Therapy

Illinois Department on Aging

Illinois Area Agencies on Aging

Senior HelpLine

The Illinois Department on Aging helps older adults live independently in their own homes and communities. As the population ages, services and programs for older adults must evolve as well because longevity means more when the quality of life is enhanced. To best serve older adults, we must also serve their families and teach younger people about the realities of aging, so many of our programs have an intergenerational emphasis. Working with Area Agencies on Aging, community-based service providers, and older adults themselves, the Illinois Department on Aging strives to improve the quality of life for current and future generations of older Illinoisans.

Illinois Attorney General

Advocating for Older Citizens

The Attorney General works to protect the rights and safety of Illinois’ older citizens, who are often targeted by scam artists and abusers. The office is equipped to respond to the special needs of older citizens, including those related to consumer fraud, abuse and neglect, financial exploitation, veterans’ rights, and health care concerns.

Illinois Department of Human Services-Family and Community Services 

Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled



The senior population of northeastern Illinois continues to grow. As this generation continues to age, residents age 65 and over will represent a growing proportion of the nation and region’s population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of residents between 65 and 84 years of age is projected to double by 2040.

Senior Care – Illinois Senior Guide

The Illinois Senior Guide contains key statistics and information about how senior citizens in Illinois live. Use this tool to compare healthcare quality, senior housing options, demographic and financial statistics, and other important data for Illinois with the rest of the country. This guide also contains helpful contact information for local government agencies that offer assistance to senior citizens.




Image of Encarnación Teruel

Creative Aging Point Person

Encarnación Teruel

Encarnación M. Teruel
Illinois Arts Council Agency
Director of Visual Arts,
Media Arts, & Multi-Disciplinary Programs
ADA/504 Access Coordinator

TTY: 888/261-7957