Aging Creatively in the Arctic: Alaska Art Programs Liven Up Lifelong Learning



Media Contact: Jeanette Anderson Moores,, 907-929-9229


Aging Creatively in the Arctic: Alaska Art Programs Liven Up Lifelong Learning

Anchorage Museum launches free older adult programming


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – March 4, 2019 – The Anchorage Museum is launching a new workshop series – Vital & Creative – geared to adults ages 55 and older, thanks to a $25,000 Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums grant from Aroha Philanthropies. Each series meets weekly for eight consecutive weeks, allowing participants to develop art skills, make an artwork to take home and connect with others in the class. Local, professional artists lead each class, incorporating objects in the museum’s extensive collection of Northern and Arctic art and cultural material.


Studies show that older adults benefit psychologically, physically and emotionally when participating in creative activities in a social environment. Anchorage’s older population is growing four times faster than the rest of the U.S., and a 2017 Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development study projects there will be nearly 74,000 seniors residing in Anchorage by 2020.


“The balance between personal vitality and overall well-being is particularly delicate for individuals aging in the North where climate and remoteness can present social and other barriers to fully engaging in community and lifelong learning. As a museum, we’re uniquely positioned to offer imaginative and innovative opportunities for older adults to continue to learn, grow and create with others,” says S. Hollis Mickey, director of learning and engagement for the museum.


Northern traditional knowledge and lifeways infuse three eight-week workshops offered by the Anchorage Museum starting this spring. The first is Vital & Creative: Textile Arts for Ages 55+, which runs April 3 through May 22. Each week focuses on different textile techniques, including hand felting and hand sewing, and materials, such as fish skins and calico. Time for reflection and sharing with other participants are included. Contemporary Alaska textile artist Amy Meissner is among the instructors confirmed for this initial workshop.


“The museum is committed to reducing barriers – like cost – that may prevent older adults from participating in programs such as these,” says Mickey. “And thanks to generous funding from Aroha Philanthropies, we can make these workshops free of charge.” The museum is also working with local organizations, including the Anchorage Pioneer Home, to welcome a diverse group of people and address challenges, such as transportation.


Aroha Philanthropies Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums initiative addresses the urgent need to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism and promote a healthy change in attitudes toward aging as senior populations grow. The Anchorage Museum was one of 20 museums across the country to receive the grant.



The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is the largest museum in Alaska, and one of the top 10 most visited attractions in the state. The museum’s mission is to connect people, expand perspectives and encourage global dialogue about the North and its distinct environment. Learn more at

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