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WHATAn intergenerational arts legacy project dedicated to archiving senior artist's work and collecting background information and bios on individual living artists.
WHYTo appreciate, recognize and give credit to senior artists for their artwork, to provide an intergenerational exchange between seniors and students and to promote the connection between art and positive aging.
WHEREResearch Center for Arts and Culture National Center for Creative Aging.
Washington, D.C., USA.

Program Description

" A recent study…revealed that artists are in many respects a model for society, maintaining strong social networks and an astonishing resilience as they age. Yet 61% of professional visual artists age 62+ have made no preparation for their work after their death; 95% have not archived their work; 97% have no estate plan; 3 out of every 4 artists have no will and 1 in 5 have no documentation of their work at all."

"Documenting the Art Cart process will allow us to share artists’ recipes for healthy aging with present and future generations. Art Cart addresses these challenges by providing aging artists with direct, hands-on support and guidance to manage and preserve their life’s work, and by providing students with an intergenerational, educational experience and mentorship in the documentation of artistic legacy"

Teams of graduate students work with senior artists to document their artwork including collecting digital images along with relevant history, bios, and background information.

Without the proper documentation elderly artists may pass away leaving their artwork without gaining credit. As a result, work which they may have intended to go to heirs could lead to inheritance complications.

The Research Center for Arts and Culture’s Art Cart Program aims to:

  • Document and preserve senior artists work and preserve their legacy.
  • Organize and document senior artist work.
  • Appreciate the importance of meaningful roles and activities (the occupation of art) to positive aging.
  • Participate in life review and in-depth discussion of senior artist’s work.
  • Review and recognize senior’s artistic achievements and creations over their lifetimes.
  • One-to-one mentorship with graduate fellows.
  • Describe the importance of preparation for later life to fellows as they mature professionally.
  • A forum for life lessons and advice to help young artists in their careers.

Art Cart works in partnership with New York’s Columbia University, New York University and the American University in Washington, DC.

Art Cart is based on the Research Center for Arts and Culture study ‘Above Ground: Information on Artists III: Special Focus New York City Aging Artists.’ The study addresses the stereotypes and misperceptions of aging, how artists who reach artistic maturity as they age-are supported within their communities, their social network and access to healthcare and retirement savings.

Art Cart is establishing an art archiving toolkit to help archive and recognize senior art in other communities throughout the country.

The Research Center for Arts and Culture offers services for artists, arts institutions, academics, researchers, private funders, policy makers and students for research and a variety of artistic purposes.

Senior Theater and Senior Arts Programs





Find out more about the Research Center for Arts and Culture's Art Cart Program

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