Maine Arts Commission

Maine Arts Commission

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine.

For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.

Creative Aging Profile

The Maine Arts Commission was pleased to fund Common Threads, a fiber arts group for senior refugees and asylees, 60-years of age and older facilitated by the Elder Services Program of the Catholic Charities Maine-Refugee & Immigration Services. It addressed isolation for the elders in their own community and provided an interpretation component that spoke to creative aging principles.

Agency Initiative

Creative Aging Partnership Program

The Maine Arts Commission’s Creative Aging program is grounded in the belief that the arts play a powerful role in enhancing the quality of life of older adults. Designed to generate opportunities for lifelong learning, social engagement and mastery of skills, the program provides new creative possibilities for adults over 55.

Interested in developing high-quality, participatory arts programs for older adults? Contact us about the Creative Aging Partnership Program. Up to $1,000 is available to fund teaching artists working with adults in a range of community settings including libraries, senior centers, arts organizations, and assisted- and independent-living centers.

Successful programs will:

  • Engage older adults in meaningful, creative activity and sequential learning     
  • Incorporate creative aging principles of social engagement and mastery
  • Recognize the contributions of older community members
  • Promote intergenerational exchange

Grants are made to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations for artist fees and related expenses and must be matched on a 1:1 basis from other sources such as cash, in-kind or grants. Preference will be given to proposals which utilize teaching artists from the Creative Aging Teaching Artist Roster.

Creative Aging grants are awarded twice annually. Please visit the Creative Aging Grant page specifics on the grants funding page.

Agency Creative Aging Resources & Tools

Creative Aging Teaching Artist Roster

This free online directory features Maine-based professional artists, trained in Creative Aging, who are available to conduct high-quality, participatory arts programs for older adults in a range of community settings including senior centers, libraries, assisted- and independent-living facilities, and cultural centers.

Interested in Being Part of the Roster?

Successful applicants will demonstrate:

  • Mastery of an artistic discipline
  • Experience in sequential arts instruction
  • Familiarity with the field of Creative Aging
  • Good communication skills
  • Planning and organizational ability
  • Patience, resourcefulness and compassion

For more information how to join the roster, call the Maine Arts Council at 207-287-2724.

Demographics

Maine is the oldest state in the nation. Maine’s oldest-in-the-nation status comes from its median age of 43.5 years, according to a 2012 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau. New Hampshire and Vermont ranked second and third.

“Median” is a statistical term that identifies the middle number of a list of numbers. That means that half of Maine’s population is older than 43.5 years, and half is younger. No other state has a higher median age. Utah has the lowest at 29.9 years. The national average is 37.4 years.

This information was taken from The Demographics of Maine

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is creative aging?  Creative aging is the practice of engaging older adults (55+) in participatory arts programs, with a focus on mastery of new skills, social engagement, and life review. Helpful links are just above, in the Additional Resources section.

What is a teaching artist?  A professional teaching artist, who is dedicated to lifelong learning and arts education, has made it an integral part of his or her professional practice, and who has cultivated skills as an educator in concert with his or her skills as an artist.

What is mastery?  The term ‘mastery’ means the development of a skill, technique or body of knowledge through practice, understanding and refinement.

What is sequential instruction? Sequential instruction is participatory learning with each activity building on the one before it, usually increasing in difficulty or complexity.

What does social engagement mean?  Social engagement refers to active involvement with other people on both an individual and community level. Such opportunities enable older adults to make new connections, strengthen existing social networks and accomplish something of value and meaning.

Why do I need to have a six- to eight-week teaching plan?  Adult learners are goal oriented and seeking challenging and creative learning experiences. Teaching sequential activities over this period of time encourages mastery of skills and social engagement with others.

Image of Julie Richards

Creative Aging Point Person

Julie Richard

Julie Richard most recently held the position of President & CEO of the West Valley Arts Council in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona. Before that she was the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville, South Carolina. She is noted for her ability to take organizations to the next level and has done that wherever she has worked. Julie earned BS degrees in Psychology and Music (Voice) and a MA in Business (Arts Administration) all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previous positions include managing director of Tulsa Opera in Tulsa, Oklahoma; managing director of Syracuse Opera in Syracuse, New York; executive director of the Cayuga Community College Foundation in Auburn, New York; and director of external relations at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust in Oak Park, Illinois. She has extensive experience in development, strategic planning, arts education and organizational development. Julie was a member of Valley Leadership’s Class XXXI and a past chair and member of the National Arts Education Council for Americans for the Arts.