New Mexico Arts

New Mexico Arts

New Mexico Arts strives to preserve, enhance, and develop the arts in New Mexico through partnerships, public awareness, and education, and to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations.

Creative Aging Profile

One of the highlights of the creative aging field is Lifesongs, a program at the Academy for the Love of Learning in Santa Fe, NM. It is an intergenerational arts program that engages communities to heal the fear that shrouds aging, illness, and death. Through relationships, storytelling, music, and performance, Lifesongs promotes dignity and inclusion for our elders. Working one-on-one and in ensembles, participants develop original works that incorporate music, movement, and multimedia to explore the richness of all stages of life. After many months of collaboration, the pieces are performed in a public concert by professional musicians, local choirs, and artists of all ages.


Agency Initiative

For more than a decade, New Mexico Arts has funded non-profit organizations or social service organizations in our Arts in Social Service funding category. These arts-based projects focus on addressing social issues with a primary purpose of reaching specific populations (people who are incarcerated, homeless, abused, ill, elderly, veterans, etc.) or foster artistic activity that formally encourages civic dialogues on important social issues (the environment, crime, aging, etc.).

Applicants to Arts in Social Service are limited to a maximum request of $15,000.

Funding for Arts in Social Service must include a 50% match by the applicant organization, at least half of which must be cash.


Agency Creative Aging Resources

Arts in Social Service – New Mexico Arts, Santa Fe

Lifesongs – Academy for the Love of Learning, Santa Fe

In addition to public performances and scalable concerts, Lifesongs provides free and public facilitated dialogues on death and dying with community partners. In 2015, Lifesongs launched the Story Gathering project. The Story Gathering project brings youth, community members, and elders together to share stories and life experiences. Participants collaboratively shape stories into new works of writing and art to present to the wider community. While deepening its roots in northern New Mexico, Lifesongs is carefully fostering and mentoring projects in other communities around the country. Lifesongs was founded in 2007 by The Santa Fe Opera and Littleglobe.

Two elder women approaching a stage from behind a curtain, one woman pushing the other in a wheelchair.

Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, Santa Fe

The mission of the APP is to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia by facilitating creative expression through poetry.

Additional Creative Aging Resources

For additional funding opportunities throughout New Mexico, please visit  Funding Resources on the New Mexico Arts website.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between the years of 2010 and 2050, the number of U.S. adults aged 65 and older is projected to rise to 88.5 million individuals, more than double the number of those over the age of 65 in 2010. New Mexico is projected to experience a more rapid growth in this age range, moving it from a state with one of the lowest percentages of elders to having one of the highest by the year 2030. According to the 2010 census figures, the percentage of New Mexico’s population that is age 65 or older is 13.2%, up from 11.7% in 2000. At the same time, the percent of the population under the age of 19 is decreasing, moving from 31.1% in 2000 to 28.2% in 2010. Based on 2010 census projections, New Mexico will move from 16th in the nation to 4th in the percentage of people over the age of 65 by 2030.

Image of Phyllis Kennedy

Creative Aging Point Person

Phyllis Kennedy

Phyllis Kennedy is a Program Coordinator responsible for grants in the categories of Arts & Education, Arts in Social Services, and Colleges, Universities, and Government Entities. She also coordinates the New Mexico Poetry Out Loud recitation contest, an annual event with a state final held at the St. Francis Auditorium in Santa Fe each winter. Her background and degrees are in the visual arts—BFA printmaking from Rochester Institute of Technology and MA photography from New York University. After completing her masters, she moved to New Mexico and began a career as a practicing artist. The nineties brought marriage and motherhood. Then came a return to citizen advocacy which she had not explored since high school. She loves art and politics and was able to combine them in her legislative advocacy work with hundreds of stakeholders to restore New Mexico’s elementary fine arts programs.