Pennsylvania Department of Aging

“Each of us in this room has a story to tell and when given the opportunity to have someone really listen and help record one’s story and one’s wisdom…transforming memories and life experiences into a variety of artwork…what a gift for all involved.”

–Teresa Osborne, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Aging

Creative Aging Profile


In the first year of the initiative , Elders Share the Arts conducted training for 14 teams across the state.  The teams, which were made up of a teaching artist, a senior center administrator and an Arts in Education Partner organization, were provided with the foundational  knowledge and principals to conduct a creative aging program.  Each team conducted a capstone project as part of the training, Shown above is Lee Sky-ward, a project participant at LifeWorks Center in Erie PA.

PA Creative Aging Initiative

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging have collaborated to develop, implement and sup-port the PA Creative Aging Initiative. A joint-agency program that offers older Pennsylvanians the opportunity to participate in high quality creative aging experiences through the Commonwealth’s senior center network.

The goal of this joint-venture was to enhance the quality of life for Pennsylvania seniors through the arts. Utilizing the PCA’s Arts in Education Partnership Infrastructure, the agencies are able to provide opportunities for qualified, trained teaching artists to conduct creative aging residency experiences at senior centers across the state in a variety of disciplines.

List of Resources / Tools

The Creativity and Aging Study

This study, led by Gene D. Cohen, MD, looked at the impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults. This was the first controlled study to assess whether participation in the creative arts, apart from traditional medical care, can promote healthier aging.

Creative Aging Online Training Modules

These free online training modules were designed for senior center administrators by the PA Department of Aging. The trainings can be accessed through the Long Term Living Training Institute’s web site Just create an account to access the trainings. Each module takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.



  • The fourth “oldest” state in the nation, with nearly 2.9 million individuals aged 60 and older and more than 300,000 individuals aged 85 and older.
  • By the year 2030, it is estimated that more than 3.6 million Pennsylvanians will be aged 60 and older.
  • Many of Pennsylvania’s older adults reside in the 48 counties (of Pennsylvania’s 67) that are classified as rural.

Creative Aging Point Person

Jamie Dunlap, Arts in Education Director

Jamie has been with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) for eight years and for the last seven as the Director of the Arts in Education Division (AIE). Prior to her time at the PCA, she had nine years of experience in promoting and supporting the arts through marketing and media relations, grant and program management, event planning and production, fundraising and community outreach.

Want to get in touch with Jamie? Contact her here: