LOUISVILLE, KY, FEBRUARY 2, 2017 – Fund for the Arts, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, and the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging today announced a new partnership at the Speed Museum to improve the health and wellness of Greater Louisville community members. The new program, engAGE Arts, will measure the effects of creative engagement on older adults and youth in a groundbreaking new study conducted by the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging. engAGE Arts is made possible through a significant gift to Fund for the Arts by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.

 
Representatives from Fund for the Arts, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, and the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging
 
“As the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence continues to work to improve the overall health of our community, we recognize that the arts have a vital role to play in achieving our goals,” said Jeff Polson, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Executive Director.
 
The announcement was made during Fund for the Arts’ thought leadership series with 2016 MacArthur Fellow Anne Basting who is recognized as an international leader in arts and aging. engAGE Arts seeks to build a stronger community by engaging older adults and youth in arts-rich initiatives that promote the capacity to function across many domains — physical, functional, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual — to one’s satisfaction and in spite of one’s medical conditions. Creative engagement has shown to have positive effects on general health, age related cognitive functioning, balance, mental health, use of medications and overall well-being of older adults and academic and social-emotional development in youth (Castora-Binkley, Noelker, Prohaska, & Satariano, 2010; Catterall, Dumais, & Hampden-Thompson, 2012).Additionally, programs focused on connecting youth and older adults in meaningful relationships have shown to help break down generational stereotypes and create rewarding experiences for both young and older generations (Larking, Sadler, & Mahler, 2005).
 
“This is new territory for our community with a transformative grant program that partners an arts nonprofit, private foundation, and leading university research center to measure the impact of the arts on participants’ health and well-being,” said Kat Abner, Fund for the Arts Impact Officer.
 
EngAGE Arts will engage 128 participants in arts experiences, measuring the impact of the programming on the participants’ health and well-being. Participants in the study will come from two populations: older adult veterans and high school-aged youth. Participants will be recruited from local aging care facilities and veterans’ groups as well as from Central High School. Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Shakespeare, and KMAC Museum will lead the participants in arts activities. Project goals include addressing the needs of older adults and youth in Greater Louisville community through advancing the policy, practice, and quality use of the arts as tools for improved health and wellness, raising visibility, understanding and support of the use of the are in the promotion of health, and demonstrating the use of the arts as a tool for health.
 
“We are dedicated to bringing about a new vision of aging where individuals and society are able to approach aging as an opportunity, not as a disease,” said Anna Faul, Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging Executive Director. “The arts are an untapped resource for promoting health that demand to be explored further.”
 
About the Fund for the Arts
Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the arts to drive economic development, education, and quality of life in our community. The Fund conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country and supports world-class institutions, community organizations and arts in education. Fund for the Arts also hosts the nationally recognized NeXt leadership development program for young professionals, and leads collective action across the arts and cultural sector. For more information, visitwww.fundforthearts.org.

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