AFTA’s vision, in the Washington D.C. region and beyond, is to model and promote how very important dignity and compassion are in the care of older adults, and that arts intervention strategies provide accessible and uplifting ways to cope with changing abilities as we age.

Arts for the Aging is a nationally-recognized social service organization that delivers innovative, multi-disciplinary arts experiences in community and residential care settings and with museums and cultural institutions in Greater Washington. We engage older adults and care partners in health improvement and life enhancement through regular participation in arts programs that are specially designed to minimize the effects of a range of physical and cognitive challenges.

Immersion in visual, musical, performing, literary, and intergenerational arts programs ignites self expression, sparks memory and imagination, lifts spirits and creates social bonds–all so vital to older adults, especially those who are becoming more isolated and lonely because they are developing health impairments.

You can read and see more about us in What We Saw Today, a viewbook of artwork, images and writing from AFTA programs.



Read about The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on the Physical Health, Mental Health, and Social Functioning of Older Adults, published in The Gerontologist.

Creativity Matters: The Arts & Aging Toolkit explains why and how older adults benefit from participating in professionally conducted community arts programs. It offers detailed advice and examples on program design, implementation and evaluation and is available, free and online, at

Bringing the Arts to Life: A Guide to the Arts and Long-Term Care identifies current model programs in long-term care communities that demonstrate how the arts play a key role in moving toward person-centered care by engaging older adults in the artistic process.

Impact on Arts Participation on Health Outcomes for Older Adults examines various research on creative aging programs. Its research concludes that older adults who participate in arts programs experience positive effects in cognitive functioning, mental health, physical health, and general well-being.

Americans for the Arts Creativity Matters: Arts and Aging in America provides fundamental information on integrating the arts with the elderly. It details how the aging benefit from engaging in creativity and offers examples of organizations and pioneers in creative aging programming in the United States.

Arts in Medicine maps the past, present, and future of arts programming in medicine. This literature review discusses how recipients, staff, and families benefit from participating in the arts and proposes how to improve such programming to increase the arts’ presence in modern medicine.

For more resources, visit the National Center for Creative Aging.