The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) recently awarded a three-year, $130,000 grant to Central Florida Community Arts effective April 1, 2017. The grant will support the creation of a performing arts program for healthy, older adults that will offer skill building instructional sessions led by teaching artists. Culminating events, which will follow the conclusion of these sessions, will be an integral part of the format and will be either a presentation or performance open to the general public. These events will celebrate the achievements of participants and provide confirmation of the value of this work. The program will also help reduce ageism by elevating the accomplishments of older adults within the local community.
The program was designed based upon research conducted during a six-month planning process funded by a 2016 WPHF grant. In addition to reviewing best practices of successful existing programs of this kind across the country, the planning grant supported attendance and networking at the National Center for Creative Aging international conference and site visits to several programs. Input was also gathered from local organizations interested in partnering with Central Florida Community Arts, as well as local older adults, to determine priorities for creating a performing arts program.
Based upon this feedback, initial offerings planned include Acting Foundations and What Goes on Backstage, Moving to the Music, Storytelling/The Story of Your Life, Holiday Sing, Joy of Dancing, and Percussion, Guitars and Keyboard. The program will work with local organizations that already serve older adults to expand the learning opportunities available to seniors.
Central Florida Community Arts is a non-profit organization that believes every artist of every age should have a cultural platform to connect, serve, & perform. Executive Director Joshua Vickery noted, “We believe that the arts improve quality of life, build community and create a culture that allows individuals to thrive among peers. Central Florida Community Arts is thrilled to be leading the way with offering such exciting performing arts opportunities to healthy, aging adults.”