The Minnesota State Arts Board has awarded grants totaling just over $46,000 to three Ecumen communities to encourage artistic development and creativity among older adults through the Partners in Arts Participation program. 

The grants will allow Ecumen residents to work with highly accomplished professional artists who have a passion for working with older adults, said Judy Blaseg, Ecumen Vice President of Philanthropy.

“We’re so pleased the Arts Board recognizes and the need for high quality art experiences for older adults and is supporting this innovative programming,”Blaseg said. “Research clearly documents the critical role of creative expression in healthy aging, and we are making the arts a top priority in our approach to aging services.”

The three Arts Board grants are as follows:

·        Ecumen Parmly LifePointes, Chisago City, Minn., was awarded $14,910 to partner with COMPAS to provide a diverse array of arts activities to older adults to foster creativity and well-being, including engagement in the broader community. Classes and workshops will include creative movement, songwriting, mosaic tile-making, and creating a mural for the senior community’s wellness center.  COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts) is a 40-year-old statewide, non-profit arts organization with extensive experience bringing creativity and new skills into the lives of older adults.

·        Ecumen Seasons at Apple Valley, Apple Valley, Minn., was awarded $17,675 to partner with KAIROS Alive! to provide older adults with an opportunity to be creative and promote their artistic development using dance, storytelling, music and theater. KAIROS Alive! is a community-based dance company for all ages that has created an award winning program called  KAIROS Dancing Heart™ which engages frail elders, including those with mid-to-late stage Alzheimer’s, in dance and storytelling designed to improve the health of participants.

·        Ecumen Seasons at Maplewood, Maplewood, Minn., was award $13,867, to participate in VocalEssence Vintage Voices, a program that fosters the creation of choirs in assisted living homes and senior centers. Twenty-five residents will receive twelve weeks of choral residencies, attendance at a concert, and a final performance for their peers. Minneapolis-based VocalEssence is one of the world’s premier choral music organizations that engages people of all ages and cultures in the community through innovative choral music programming.

“We are excited to be partnering with these three highly experienced organizations that have such dedication and passion for working with older adults,” Blaseg said.  “We are continuing to build our relationships in the arts community to develop a wide array of creative opportunities for our residents.”

Earlier this year, Ecumen announced a partnership with ArtSage, a Minnesota nonprofit that connects artists and the arts with aging through training programs, consulting services and other resources. “We think the programming we are developing with ArtSage is unique for senior communities,” Blaseg said.  “This is innovative new territory in the field of aging.”