Photo of enduring masters performance from the website PHOTO: SUSAN HARRIS

Enduring Masters Program

Organization Associated with Program
Ithaca College Gerontology Institute
Ithaca, New York 14850

The Enduring Masters Program of Ithaca, New York, is an initiative of Ithaca College Gerontology Institute in close collaboration with several Ithaca College arts departments. The program sponsors an arts series featuring older musicians, visual artists, and performing artists who conduct workshops and give performances as well as reflecting on aging and their art. Older artists present at these workshops and performances and also engage in public discussion about the arts with the broader community. Many older adults enjoy attending Enduring Masters performances and appreciate the opportunity to learn about the work of the visiting artist. The program also features performances by local musicians as well as Ithaca College students in diverse venues serving older adults. Each semester, the program features a different older artist, who comes to Ithaca College to participate in a concert/exhibition and interact with the Ithaca student body. 

Program History

The Enduring Masters Program was formally launched in 2008 and now serves approximately 1,000 people each year as it continues to grow. It first began as a collaboration between two components of Ithaca College—the School of Music and the School of Gerontology. The collaboration has since expanded to include other arts departments at Ithaca College, including the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Roy H. Park School of Communications, and the Department of Theater Arts. The Linden Center for Creativity and Aging is also a key partner. The mission of this program is to celebrate the accomplishments of older adults and to make the talent of those artists accessible to others. Previous performances conducted as part of the Emerging Masters Program are preserved in a digital archive by Ithaca College, and video clips are made available online through the Ithaca College website. In addition, past performances and interviews are available for purchase online in DVD and CD formats.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Ithaca College does not conduct a rigorous evaluation of the Emerging Masters Program at the present time. However, attendance records for program activities are collected.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

It is vital to develop and implement programs that relate to older adults and the arts because they greatly enhance their lives and the lives of the other generations that they connect with. This program has been very successful as a tool for connecting the generations.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Attending a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Dance, Folk/Traditional Arts, Literature, Media Arts, Music, Musical Theater, Theater
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education
Target Audience: Active Adults, Intergenerational, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Program Setting: Education (e.g. School / University)
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban, Urban, Virtual
Type of Practice: Promising Practices