Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is one of nine museums sharing a grant of more than $2 million to cater programming for older adults.

The grants are from the Minneapolis-based E.A. Michelson Philanthropy’s new initiative, the Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums.

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Aerial rendering of the expanded Crystal Bridges. File photo.

The arts education foundation is giving more than $2 million over 18 months to the nine museums in an effort top support “creative aging” programs for visitors 55 and older.

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Crystal Bridges’ grant will be for $229,129, the sum the museum requested,
Teresa Bonner, executive director at the philanthropic organization, said today.

“We just need to throw aside an ageist attitude and think of ways to bring older adults into our lives more and more equitably,” Ellen Michelson, the foundation’s founder and president, told Artnet News.

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According to Artnet, research suggests that engaging with art may have substantial health benefits and demographic projections indicate American senior citizens will soon outnumber those under 18.  Yet American Alliance of Museums data show that institutions now spend three-fourths of their $2 billion in annual education funding on programs for those in high school or younger, according to Artnet.