EngAGE in Creativity

Organization Associated with Program
EngAGE: The Art of Active Aging
240 E. Verdugo Avenue, Suite 100
Burbank, California 91502

EngAGE in Creativity is a community-based, multi-disciplinary arts program in Burbank, California. Professional artists provide college-level arts and creativity classes, programs, and events at no cost to low- and moderate-income older adults at the affordable apartment communities where they live. The initiative was launched in 2006 and currently serves 3,000 people. EngAGE aspires to achieve the following outcomes when conducting each program:

  • Increase access to the arts for low-income older people by breaking down barriers between them and art. (Many do not think of themselves as artists or feel unworthy of these types of classes.)
  • Provide a minimum of two storytelling arts classes per month at each site.
  • Increase opportunities for low-income older adults to create, exhibit, perform, and present artwork in varying disciplines by providing a minimum of two lectures, interviews, and workshops by notable artists at each site.
  • Host one performance per site during the project in which low-income residents’ stories are performed and invite community and media participation at each.
Program History

EngAGE catalyzed the development of and provides programs for The Burbank Senior Artists Colony, a first-of-its-kind 141-unit apartment community for older adults, featuring a theater group, independent film company, fine arts collective, music program, and intergenerational arts program for artists in their second 50 years of creativity. It also offers a 60-seat theatre, arts studios, music performance spaces, a computer media arts center, a digital filmmaking lab, outdoor performance areas, an art gallery, and a sculpture garden. The EngAGE in Creativity program was launched and piloted at the Burbank Senior Artists Colony. EngAGE is a nonprofit that transforms aging and the way people think about aging by turning affordable apartment communities for older adults into vibrant centers of learning, wellness, and creativity.

Program Research and Key Findings

According to the University of Southern California study, “Lifestyle of Low-Income Seniors Living in Independent Senior Housing,” EngAGE had more respondents reporting improved health and fewer reporting worsening health in the past year than non-EngAGE sites. The “Century Housing Study” found that EngAGE programs reduce the number of older adults requiring higher levels of care (such as round-the-clock nursing care) by 25%, representing a $3,000 per month, per person reduction in the cost of care for at least 500 residents—an annual savings of $18 million. And EngAGE also makes life better and more rewarding for each of these older adults.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

EngAGE uses self-reported health surveys, event evaluations, and focus groups for evaluation.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Presenting a Performance, Attending a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Participate in an Ensemble, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Dance, Folk/Traditional Arts, Literature, Media Arts, Musical Theater, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Civic Engagement, Design / Architecture / Built Environments, Education, Health / Medicine, Housing / Placemaking, Transportation, Volunteerism
Target Audience: Active Adults, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational
Adaptive Program Design Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities
Program Setting: Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center)
Program Service Area: Urban
Type of Practice: Research Validated Best Practices