Wisconsin Arts Board

Wisconsin Arts Board

The Wisconsin Arts Board is the state agency which nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development, and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage.

Creative Aging Profile

4 performers with string instruments playing music for adults in a senior residence.

Madison Symphony Orchestra: HeartStrings

This music therapy-informed program continues to reach beyond traditional performance settings to bring live, interactive presentations by some of the MSO’s best players into healthcare and residential facilities.

Agency Initiative

The vision of the Wisconsin Arts Board is inspired by a quote from the late Robert E. Gard, Professor Emeritus of Community Theatre, University of Wisconsin:

“If we are seeking in America, let it be for the reality of democracy in the arts. Let art begin at home and let it spread through the children and the parents, and through the schools and the institutions, and through government. And let us start by acceptance, not negation-acceptance  that the arts are important everywhere, and that they can exist and flourish in small places as well as large, with money or without it, according to the will of the people. Let us put firmly and permanently aside the cliché that the arts are a frill. Let us accept the goodness of art where we are now, and expand its worth in the places where people live.”

We embrace this vision: it guides our belief that the arts are basic to human life and essential to the human spirit.

Creative Aging Resources & Tools

Madison Children’s Museum: SPARK!

Cultural Programming for People With Memory Loss – SPARK! provides an opportunity for adults with dementia and their care partners to enjoy arts and artifacts in a comfortable setting, guided by trained docents and volunteers.

Kohler Arts Center: SPARK!

Since 2010, The SPARK! program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has provided creative, stimulating activities for seniors with memory loss while remaining free of charge. SPARK! programs offer participants an opportunity to enhance their quality of life through social engagement, mental stimulation, and communication in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

Danceworks: Danceworks Generations

Danceworks Generations, formerly known as Danceworks Intergenerational Multi-Arts Program (IMAP), builds relationships between students from Milwaukee schools and older adults from assisted living and adult day programs through dance and visual arts instruction.



Between 2015 and 2040, the population ages 65 and older will grow by 640,000 people an increase of 72%. This expected growth rate is also reflected in the projected increases in dementia prevalence.

In Wisconsin, the population is rapidly aging in rural areas, and is most pronounced in the northern half of the state.

The increase is projected to occur at an above average rate in this portion of the state. These counties have moderate to high rates of poverty, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data, as well as a higher level of health concerns per County Health Rankings.

NOTE: By 2040, 18 counties in Wisconsin are projected to have at least 33% of their total population ages 65 and older. Three of these counties are estimated to reach 40%.

photo of Dale Johnson

Creative Aging Point Person

Dale Johnson

Grants & Information Specialist
Accessibility Coordinator
Wisconsin Arts Board
PO Box 8690
Madison, WI 53708-8690