Artful Aging

Organization Associated with Program
COMPAS
75 Fifth St. W. #304
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

The COMPAS Artful Aging program began in 2007, as part of an Arts in Health Care initiative. Each year COMPAS works in 6-18 senior living sites and serves 500-2,000 participants. Arts learning activities are usually introduced through an arts camp that includes advance training for staff and volunteers, a meet and greet session with the artist, several days of intensive arts learning, and a final celebratory community event. Camps are followed with an ongoing set of classes. Typical classes are 90-120 minute sessions, held weekly or bi-weekly.

Program History

COMPAS is a statewide community arts organization with over 40 years of service. COMPAS powers imaginations, learning, and life with the arts. In the past, COMPAS ran writing projects with seniors (e.g. Literary Post). Starting in 2007, COMPAS began to look for fresh opportunities and has built partnerships with local senior housing and care centers, providing ongoing Artful Aging camps and classes in a variety of art forms. COMPAS programs are always about active participation in the arts. Trained teaching artists take participants through all the steps of creating their own work, often related to stories from their own lives.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Evaluations are conducted by staff and partnering organizations at the end of each program. The interviews, individual assessments, and attendance numbers are used to fine tune and refocus future projects. Sites report back that participants engage with more people than previously, are more likely to keep their doctor appointments, and regain vigor and love of life.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Presenting a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in an Ensemble, Participate in a Residency
Arts Discipline: Dance, Design, Folk/Traditional Arts, Literature, Media Arts, Music, Theater, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Design / Architecture / Built Environments, Health / Medicine, Housing / Placemaking, History
Target Audience: Active Adults, Caregivers - Professional, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational
Adaptive Program Design Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities
Program Setting: Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Community Center, Healthcare - Long Term Care, Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), House of Worship / Religious Center
Program Service Area: Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices