BALTIMORE, MD (May 26, 2021) - E.A. Michelson Philanthropy and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) announced recently that the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is one of 36 arts agencies receiving a grant through its Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging initiative. The grants are meant to expand opportunities for creative aging across the nation, facilitating lifelong learning, joy, social engagement, and improved wellbeing for older adults. MSAC’s grant will support a Creative Aging Arts Provider and Venue Training project, which includes collaboration with the Fine Arts Office of the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) to expand existing professional learning as part of MSDE’s Maryland Micro-Credentials for Creative Classrooms (#mcreds) Creative Aging Provider training. It will also support two biannual networking events for #mcreds alums and community partners as well as an annual convening at the Maryland Arts Summit. 

“We are grateful for NASAA’s support that will allow us to expand our support of lifelong learning, and are thrilled to deepen MSAC’s collaboration with MSDE’s Fine Arts Office,” said Ken Skrzesz, MSAC’s Executive Director. 

“This program will increase the capacity of teaching artists and vendors to sustain high-quality arts learning for older adults throughout the State,” said Alysia Lee, coordinator of Fine Arts at the Maryland State Department of Education. “We are also excited to increase employment opportunities for teaching artists as they engage with communities of older adults.”

Secretary Rona E. Kramer of the Department of Aging said, “ We are thrilled that NASAA’s support will allow for expanded educational opportunities for Maryland’s seniors. The pandemic has amplified the already pressing issue of isolation among our older adults. Programs like this one not only benefit our seniors by diminishing isolation and fostering creativity, but they allow all of us to benefit from the talent and experience that our seniors bring to our arts community."

The Creative Aging Arts Provider training is a 15-hour virtual course open to community teaching artists and arts educators. The course includes a variety of synchronous and asynchronous activities. All synchronous sessions are led by the Lifetime Arts facilitator team and all asynchronous activities are led by MSDE. The two biannual networking events supported by this grant will include presentations by local, state, and regional funders followed by artist showcases, speed dating, and resource sharing. These 90-minute events will be open to the 2020 and 2021 cohorts of the Creative Aging #mcred for Providers and Vendors. In addition, the grant supports a pre-conference at the 2022 annual statewide conference for the arts sector, the Maryland Arts Summit. The Summit convenes the entire arts sector, including education, tourism, health, public art and more. This pre-conference will feature presentations from the field and national experts as well as networking to support providers’ continuing education.