Vote for AFTA: Named Finalist for Major Award

Arts for the Aging is honored to be named a finalist in the 2019 #RenewalAwards from @TheAtlantic and @Allstate. We are among just 15 nonprofits across the country being recognized for driving positive change through social innovation around America’s most pressing problems. Five winners, to be announced at a national symposium and ceremony in spring 2019, will each receive $20,000 in funding from Allstate. Please vote for us, between now and March 1, at https://therenewalawards.theatlantic.com/ and help us spread the word!


#GivingTuesday feature in The Washington Post

We are delighted to be included in The Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak's piece about #GivingTuesday. Join the AFTA cause by making a gift today! It will support our skilled and trained professional teaching artists who uplift the lives and improve the health of older adults living with physical and cognitive health vulnerabilities. Our celebrated artistic faculty lead therapeutic and multidisciplinary arts engagement programs in 31 community and residential care settings in Greater Washington, this year impacting 1,000+ seniors in the region with weekly and bi-weekly activations. Help us ensure underserved senior communities have continued access to the transformative power of regular arts participation. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation for up to $15,000!


Creative Aging Exhibition at The Phillips Collection

We marked another 30th anniversary milestone in 2018 with the mounting of a Creative Aging exhibition at the stunning Phillips Collection museum in Washington D.C. Works in the show highlight community partnerships that celebrate art and wellness. Art featured made by AFTA participants center around themes explored in the Phillips' 10 Americans: After Paul Klee show which we visited with older adult participants in our programs earlier this year. Visit the exhibition through December 31 by contacting Donna Jonte at djonte@phillipscollection.org. View photos from opening night here.


"The Rhythms of Life:" Integrating Percussion with Movement

Iona Senior Services welcomed AFTA teaching artists-in-training Chris Brown and Manny Arciniega to lead a program called, "The Rhythms of Life," which features musical technology and themes new to AFTA programming.

Chris and Manny began the program by playing for Iona's older adults as they walked into the room to join; Chris strummed a melody on the bass while Manny accompanied on percussion. To formally begin the program, Chris and Manny played Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why." The room swayed side to side and seniors clapped their hands to the beat of Chris' slow-jazz bass performance.

The program focused on rhythm and layering 'loops' to create textured music. To illustrate this, Manny assigned participants different movements and instruments to play at certain parts of a song. First, the participants practiced making a rhythm using motions with their hands and arms, such as moving them up and side, patting their stomachs, and even flapping like a bird, as suggested by a participant.

Later, Manny passed percussion instruments, including the maracas and the tambourine, throughout the room to be played in harmony with one another. The participants were split into sections, where one group would play their instrument first while another group would play right after them. Manny's instruction led to the room playing in a loop, making a continuous rhythm that repeated itself. Chris demonstrated a similar 'loop' by recording a bass line for the audience and playing over the recording to add new elements to it. The final product resulted in a beautifully synchronized percussive accompaniment to Chris' bass line to Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely."

Chris and Manny concluded their day at Iona Senior Services by playing "Happy Birthday" to celebrate a participant's special day. The room sang along together, applauding Chris and Manny's musical performance and program as it came to an end.

We're excited to offer this stimulating new music program to our partners this fall.