Art With Elders uses the power of art, creativity, and community to enrich the journey of aging.
Our vision is a society in which every older adult engages in the creative arts as part of a healthy and vibrant aging process.
What We Do
Founded in 1991, AWE engages older adults in fine arts classes and shares their work and life experience through public exhibits. Through classes and exhibits, the AWE program provides older adults with a vehicle for self-expression, social connection, and a presence in the larger community. Classes are taught in person and online by professional artists and are available in 5 languages. Exhibits engage artists and audiences through the power of creativity, deepening connection between cultures and generations.
Racial Equity Statement
Art with Elders strives to meet our student artists – older adults and those living with disabilities – where they are: in the community, linguistically, and culturally. We practice long-term internal equity and inclusion efforts, as we know this is the way to build a welcoming, strong, and comprehensive program. AWE’s equity work seeks to prioritize the voices and experiences of older adults, communities of color, of the LGBTQ community, different religions, low-income individuals and members of the disabled community. We know that artistic endeavor has the capacity to cross all human boundaries.
Art With Elders is committed to stronger connections among groups of people who are often separated in society by bias in attitudes, policies, and systems. Our work to help older adults make themselves seen and heard grows out of a larger belief that everyone should be seen and that everyone’s voice should be heard; no one should be marginalized or ignored. Our work to help elders envision, experience purpose, and share in creation is a witness to these beliefs We exhibit the artwork of older adults and adults with disabilities to increase their visibility and amplify their voices.
Our work is inclusive of all agency stakeholders from the Board of Directors, to AWE’s core staff, to the hiring of teachers, to our clients. AWE creates a network of partners that share the values we live by. We ensure that client input addressing racial equity, cultural competence, and inclusion is embedded in our programs and events through regular open communication with our students and by coming to their neighborhoods to conduct our classes. AWE’s students are encouraged to advise us, formally through survey and informally through conversation, on their needs and thoughts. Our goal is to evaluate our work through the lens of racial equity. Lesson plans are derived from such input.
We hire racially diverse and culturally literate instructors and actively seek out bilingual artists to ensure that classes serve all older adults and adults with disabilities who are interested. We accommodate individual needs and interests in class to make classes accessible and welcoming to all. We provide artists of color, women artists, LGBTQ artists, and artists with disabilities a safe, welcoming, nurturing working relationship.