Illinois Arts Council Agency

Mission: To build a strong, creative, and connected Illinois through the arts 

Core Value: The Illinois Arts Council Agency declares with One Voice that we shall be Better Together with the Arts.

Guiding Principles: The Illinois Arts Council Agency abides by guiding principles to keep focused on a single purpose, that of the creative well-being of Illinois. Illinoisans deserve to have the best that can be offered to learn, connect, and advance.


Creative Aging Profile

Teju Dancing with Friends


The Illinois Arts Council Agency supports universal access to the arts.

Unity in diversity

The arts are not practiced in isolation. The Illinois Arts Council Agency promotes unity among diverse communities. Differences shared create unique mosaics; they enrich the lives of Illinoisans.

Agency Initiative 



This is a pilot program that covers training for ten caregivers to learn these skills.   10 caregivers will take 2 half day workshops, one focusing on how to engage clients to talk about what they see and what they think about in an artwork, and the other focusing on simple hands on activities they can do with their clients. Both activities help keep memories alive.

Unfortunately, there is a large group of people who do not have access to quality programs with art. These are people residing in their own homes with services provided by caregivers. While caregivers are not usually artists, they can be taught to use visual images as a tool to encourage conversation and to provide hands-on art experiences that will foster creativity and a sense of relating to the outside world.

Both viewing and talking about art and creating it are powerful tools for stimulating older minds, fostering communication and nurturing happiness. Caregivers can learn techniques that encourage conversations about pictures and simple art activities that expand the imagination and give clients a sense of control. Both activities help keep memories alive. Art Encounter has worked with the elderly in assisted living and skilled care residences since their inception.



Mission: To bring an understanding and appreciation of art and the creative process to people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds through interactive explorations of visual art and hands-on activities.

Hats Off to Art –Community Building for the Elderly” in four senior residences.
This six session series begins with a traveling art exhibition and discussion at senior residences. Art Encounter’s Teaching Artists present several works of art and lead discussions aimed at bringing out the ideas in the work and stimulating the participants’ memories. During the next weeks, the group explores their own creativity with different art materials. A mask-making session begins with a presentation of original masks from around the world. Another week, the participants decorate hats to symbolize their interests. At the end of each session, the Teaching Artists encourage the participants to talk about their creations with the group. The project culminates with an exhibit and discussion of the work for other residents, friends, and families.

Picturing Thoughts at a senior residence.

Higher functioning seniors express their memories and interests as they create personal art books. For seven weeks, our Teaching Artists introduce a theme for the day such as “Food” or “Historical Memory” by leading a discussion of original art works that show unique approaches to the topic. For example, “Food” begins with a discussion of a mixed media painting by Laura Kina who explores her own Asian/ Spanish heritage. The project concludes with a discussion of the books with friends, family and other residents.


Music Thanatologists help people access emotions, however, the main focus of music thanatology is to connect musically with what’s going on physically for the patient. For example, the pace of someone’s breathing informs the thanatologist on how to pace the music to slow the breathing to bring comfort.

Music therapists are trained as therapists to talk about feelings and memories brought on by music/song giving patients and families an expressive outlet. For example, when a patient hears an old song, they automatically remember the feeling of when they heard that song before.
Art Therapy offers hospice patients an opportunity to use visual arts to improve the quality of life at the end of life. Guided art activities offer patients the ability to reconnect with long-term memories finding meaning and closure while creating a new memory that can be left for loved ones.

Terra Nova Film:

Terra Nova was founded in 1981 with the mission of creating films and videos that explored with sensitivity and dignity the complex issues surrounding aging and growing older.

Terra Nova’s pursuit of excellence led to the national distribution on PBS of its community forum Compassion for Those We Love: A Town Meeting on Family Caregiving for Alzheimer’s in the Hispanic Community. By Spring 2016 the program reached a potential audience through 90 broadcasts of nearly 100 million people, including more than six million Hispanics. The program was originally broadcast on Univision Chicago in April 2015 and later that year was honored with an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Midwest for Outstanding Achievement for Public Affairs/Current Affairs Programming—Program/Special.

Terra Nova has also been honored with the National Mature Media Award for the best marketing communications, educational materials and programs for older adults, for a video produced for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s series Your Time to Care, A Roadmap to Alzheimer’s Disease and Driving, exploring the complex issues that come into play when an older person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and needs to give up the car keys and stop driving.


Additional Resources

Illinois Department on Aging:

Illinois Area Agencies on Aging:

Senior HelpLine:

The Illinois Department on Aging helps older adults live independently in their own homes and communities. As the population ages, services and programs for older adults must evolve as well because longevity means more when the quality of life is enhanced. To best serve older adults, we must also serve their families and teach younger people about the realities of aging, so many of our programs have an intergenerational emphasis. Working with Area Agencies on Aging, community-based service providers and older adults themselves, the Illinois Department on Aging strives to improve the quality of life for current and future generations of older Illinoisans.

Illinois Attorney General:

Advocating for Older Citizens

The Attorney General works to protect the rights and safety of Illinois’ older citizens, who are often targeted by scam artists and abusers. The office is equipped to respond to the special needs of older citizens, including those related to consumer fraud, abuse and neglect, financial exploitation, veterans’ rights and health care concerns.

Illinois Department of Human Services-Family and Community Services 

Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled:



United States Census Bureau:

Persons 65 years and older Population estimates, July 1, 2016,           12,801,539

Senior Care-Illinois Senior Guide:

The Illinois Senior Guide contains key statistics and information about how senior citizens in Illinois live. Use this tool to compare healthcare quality, senior housing options, demographic and financial statistics, and other important data for Illinois with the rest of the country. This guide also contains helpful contact information for local government agencies that offer assistance to senior citizens.




Creative Aging Point Person

Encarnacion Teruel

Encarnación M. Teruel
Illinois Arts Council Agency
Director of Visual Arts,
Media Arts, & Multi-Disciplinary Programs
ADA/504 Access Coordinator

TTY: 888/261-7957