"I was thoroughly impressed with the reception Wednesday evening. The talent you involved was amazing. You make a strong case for support of the creative aging initiative."
Michael Donavan, Executive Director Missouri Arts Council
KC Studio Magazine - 'The Art of Life' May, 2018
Behold the Beauty of Aging Artfully
Arts & AGEing KC is pioneering creative aging in the heartland
The stage is a perfect place to engage audiences in overcoming negative stereotypes about aging women. And now, the theater, along with other forms of creative art, is helping to address ageism in a way that every generation can appreciate.
As a pioneer in the field of creative aging, Arts & AGEing KC (AAKC) presents programs and educational resources to help people of all generations experience the cognitive, social and health benefits of participating in the arts.
Creating Communities for All Ages
For AAKC Founder and President Debra Campbell, it’s not just about older adults. Creative arts participation benefits caregivers, younger generations and entire communities.
“We are community building,” Campbell says. “Through art inspired by life stories, we are helping people claim their place in their communities, bind to their neighbors, and create a sense of pride in building a community for all ages. It’s really powerful.”
To that end, AAKC has developed, designed and delivered more than a dozen original performances and plans many more, if Campbell can secure funding for professional teaching artists, program managers and consulting work. “The demand is incredible,” she says, “and every community in the Heartland deserves this kind of rich, engaging programming that can change the quality of a person’s life.”
AAKC’s diverse community outreach programs are increasing accessibility to older adult marginalized populations, such as ethnic minorities and persons of lower socio-economic status.
In the next decade, the population of seniors 65+ will grow to 20% of the U.S. population, and in Kansas City alone, 2,200 people turn 65 each month. Campbell advises cities and counties, civic organizations, healthcare and public policy leaders and businesses how to incorporate ‘artful aging’ solutions to benefit their aging populations.
Inspiring Research Connects to Dementia
The field of creative aging has seen rapid growth over the past three years, and research strongly supports the vital role it plays in life long learning and health and wellness. Much of AAKC’s work is rooted in evidence-based research, which shows findings of less depression, fewer medications, reduced health risks due to isolation and lower risks of developing dementia -- among other health benefits – for people who participate in the arts as they age.
“It’s exciting to see people emerge as artists later in life.” Campbell explains. “The connections and impact they’re making in their communities, with their caregivers, and with their peers and families is life-changing.”