Our Mission /

Arts for the Aging engages older adults and caregivers with diverse abilities and backgrounds in health improvement and life enhancement through regular participation in the multidisciplinary arts.

Our Vision /

To demonstrate excellence in multidisciplinary, participatory, and inclusive arts programming for older adults and caregivers.

Our Mission /

Arts for the Aging engages older adults and care partners in health improvement and life enhancement through regular participation in the multidisciplinary arts.

Our Vision /

Pioneering arts programming for older adults, Arts for the Aging is a model for excellence in life-long learning and creative aging.

About Arts for the Aging

Growing fields of research show what Arts for the Aging has practiced since 1988: that regular arts participation combats loneliness, spreads joy, and improves physical, cognitive, and emotional health.

Arts for the Aging is a social service organization that brings the dazzling beauty and therapeutic power of the arts to older adults and their caregivers, especially historically marginalized communities living with isolation, health, and accessibility needs. Our programs are led by a celebrated faculty of teaching artists trained in our nationally-recognized best practices for healthy aging and caregiving. Programs take place in cooperation with community and residential care clients, and with museum, cultural, and academic partners, primarily in Greater Washington D.C.

Discover Our Teaching ArtistsOur Visual Identity

Immersion in visual, musical, performing, literary, and intergenerational arts programming ignites self-expression, sparks imagination, lifts spirits, and creates social bonds—all so vital for healthy aging.

You can read and see more about us in What We Saw Today, a viewbook of artwork, images and writing from Arts for the Aging programs.

2023 By the Numbers

Our Values

The following values are foundational to our mission, goals, activities, and ways we relate to one another. These principles unite us – program participants, caregivers, teaching artists, board, staff, advisors, volunteers, clients, and partners. Through these values we celebrate the arts’ unique potential to connect us with our most authentic selves.

Community Outreach deepens our commitment to equity by reaching organizations serving older adults that cannot otherwise access therapeutic arts programming.

Participatory Engagement embraces creativity and an improvisational spirit of “yes, and…” Our teaching model validates all levels of interaction and celebrates
spontaneous self-expression, regardless of ability.

Respect uplifts the dignity of all human beings. We learn, grow from, and incorporate the diverse life experiences, cultures, and complexities of every individual.

Our Beliefs

We believe that all individuals have an inherent need to engage in creative self-expression.

We believe that regular arts engagement has the therapeutic power to improve physical, cognitive, and emotional health.

We believe that participatory arts programming inspires empathy and respect, fosters communication and belonging, and promotes social connection.

We believe that older adults and caregivers should have equitable access to participatory arts programs led by teaching artists with diverse backgrounds and art disciplines.

We believe that teaching artists trained in our creative aging best practices and programming support healthy aging and caregiving.

Our Strategy 2020 - 2023

Arts for the Aging will continue to focus on what it does best: Delivering participatory arts programs, which are artist-led, multidisciplinary, and designed to enhance the health and quality of life of older adults, and professional and family caregivers. Arts for the Aging will provide these high-quality programs—both virtually and in-person—with groups of people impacted by the effects of physical and cognitive health conditions, and whose access to these kinds of life enrichment interventions is limited for reasons of affordability, availability, or the ability to use such programs. As a regional service provider and a recognized national model, Arts for the Aging will strengthen and expand partnerships in thought leadership, business, program, and resource development to grow its offerings and expand its reach in the creative aging field. Arts for the Aging programs will engage community partners and professional and family caregivers while the organization continues to transform its services into pandemic-resilient formats, and grow board, staff, and volunteer capacity to close the founder-succession period and achieve financial sustainability.

Where We Work

Our History

In 1986, researchers at the National Institutes of Health approached Lolo Sarnoff, a sculptor and a founding Trustee of a small D.C. gallery called the Art Barn, to provide art workshops for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Lolo agreed and soon observed that art in every form was beneficial to the moods of most. Reports by nurses showed less agitation and aggressive behavior, as well as lingering positive effects in patients even after they left the Art Barn. In 1988, Lolo — then 72 — founded Arts for the Aging to continue that promising work.

Now Arts for the Aging is recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a pioneering arts program for older adults, and a model for excellence in life-long learning and creative aging. True to the founder’s innovative vision, Arts for the Aging gives older adults and caregivers — especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized — a sense of healing, empowerment, and independence.

On November 9, 2014, at age 98, Lolo Sarnoff passed away. She had a lilting and practical way of talking about becoming an “angel” some day. Now she has her wings! All of us here at Arts for the Aging — our board, staff, teaching artists, volunteers and many others — we miss her so. Each year Arts for the Aging bestows the Lolo Sarnoff Founder’s Award on an individual to commemorate the founder’s pioneering vision and that of others who carry her spirit.

Read more about Lolo Sarnoff’s remarkable life.

Our Team

Mercedes Blankenship
Grants Coordinator

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Kayla Conklin
Program and Communications Coordinator

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Joan Hampton Fraser
Teaching Artist Training Consultant

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Sarah House
Program Director

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Peggi McGovern
Administrative Manager

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Janine Tursini
Director & CEO

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Jackie Vinick
Director of Development

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Cultural Equity

Our Commitment

To support a full creative life for all, Arts for the Aging commits to champion policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, and  equitable organization.

Our Progress


Pioneer, $1 million +

Lolo Sarnoff (Founder) *

Visionary, $400,000 – $999,999

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Maryland State Arts Council

Catalyst, $200,000 — $399,999

Lili-Charlotte Sarnoff Irrevocable Trust, Clark-Winchcole Foundation, Philip L. Graham Fund, Martha Healy *, Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation

Innovator, $100,000 – $199,999

Don and Nancy Bliss, Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., John Edward Fowler Memorial Foundation, Law Offices of Bruce E. Matter, P.C., National Endowment for the Arts, The Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation, U.S. Small Business Administration, United Way of the National Capital Area

Creator, $50,000 – $99,999

Adobe Systems – McLean, Stephen and Jeanette Bruce, William T. Coleman, Jr. and Lovida Coleman*, Julia and Michael Connors /The Connors Family Foundation, Susie and Clayton Eisinger, Heinz Family Foundation, Billie and Wallace* Holladay, Alidz and Zaven Khachaturian, J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation, The Meredith Foundation, Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs,  Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Jeanne Ruesch and Otto* Ruesch, The Shaman Charitable Foundation, Julia Sevilla Somoza, The Sulica Fund, Inc., Weissberg Foundation

Devotee, $25,000 – $49,999

Mildred Winslow Ashcraft Trust, BB&T / Truist, Elno Foundation/The Samuel R. Dweck Foundation Inc., Harman Family Foundation, Tania and Jim Hosmer, Melanie Jarratt Wolfe and Doug Wolfe, Investcorp International, Kuni Matsuda, Dorn McGrath*, Mead Family Foundation, Metropolitan Life Foundation, Henry E. Niles Foundation, Inc., Carol and Earl Ravenal*/The Ravenal Foundation, Renah Blair Rietzke Family and Community Foundation, Deborah Ratner Salzberg and Michael Salzberg, Susan and Dick Schumacher, Sparkjoy Foundation, Mary Weinmann, The Ada and Albert Wibel Foundation, The World Bank Community Connections Fund, Don Wright and Lezley McIlveen

Groundbreaker, $15,000 – $24,999

American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati at Anderson House, Nathan Billig and Gail Weinmann,  BB&T, Marla Bush*, Pat Bush*, Chris Carr, Castle Gate Media LLC, Dorothy Jordan Chadwick Fund, Corrina Higginson Trust, William E. Cross Foundation, Cherrie Wanner Doggett, Richard and Ulla Dreyfus-Best,  Nancy Dunton, The Eder/Moreau Family Giving Fund, Jehan (Gigi) El-Bayoumi, Forest City Washington, Dorree Lynn and Furthermore, Inc., Geppetto Catering, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Joyce S. Hagel Silverman, Helen Wardman Naselli Memorial Fund, Jay* and Ann Kaplan, Melissa Keshishian and Harold* Keshishian, Shahin Mafi, The Marriott Daughters Foundation, Margaret Mekenie, The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, Napoleon Monroe and Dorie Geier Monroe, Rockville Rotary Club Foundation, Inc., Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Inc., Rotary Club of Washington, DC, Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation, Deborah Toll, Ralph* and Bonnie Tursini, Adrienne Vas, Joy Marzilli Willing

Facilitator, $10,000 – $14,999

Aron Family Foundation, Michelle Baker, Edmund Bartlett III and Mary Bartlett, Bethesda Fellowship House, The Dorothy G. Bender Foundation, Inc., Peter Buffington, Calvin Cafritz* and Jane Lipton Cafritz, Susan Carmel, Cloudbreak Foundation, Delta Air Lines, Inc., Jacques and Brenda De Suze, The Dominion Guild, Louis and Vera Emmerij, James and Mary Fernberger, Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Harold J. Goald Washington Harbour, Julius Goldstein, The Honorable Kingdon Gould* and Mary Gould, Gould/Konterra Property Management, E. David David Harrison , Esq., Healthcare Initiative Foundation, Impact1890, Nazan Kirdar, Joseph Kolar and Kathryn Sullivan Kolar, Honorary Marc E. Leland and Jacqueline Leland, Sylvia Mitchell, Montgomery County Executive’s Ball, Susan S. Richardson, Toni A. Ritzenberg, Rhoda Septilici, Sigma Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc., May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Beverly Spyopolous*, Swiss Air, The Jim & Carol Trawick Foundation, Janine Tursini, USEC – A Global Energy Company, Victor and Joan Van De Moortel, Wachovia Corporation, Walter Wells, Dorothy Whitehurst*, Adrienne Wolpoff 

Collaborator, $5,000 – $9,999

ACS|BNY Mellon HSA Solution The Bank of New York Mellon, ADS Corporation, Robert N. Alfandre Foundation, Allstate Foundation Helping Hands, Carolyn S. Alper *, Liana Atlas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg*, Marie Bernard and Leonard Tomlinson, Leo and Beverly Bernstein, Richard and Cindy Beyer, Matz, Blancato & Associates, Inc., Huntington Block*, Kathy Borrus, John Gordon Boyd and Anne Mauduit*, Meredith Bradley Jenkins, Larry D. Burton, The Samuel Burtoff, M.D. Foundation, CESA 7, Alexander Chase, Clark Charitable Foundation, Inc., The Community Foundation for Prince George’s County, Constellation Energy Group, Inc., Linda H. Cooper, James Curran, Jr.*, Gertrude D’Amecourt, Dimick Foundation, Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave, The Honorable Diana Dougan, Harold Evans, William N. Felder II and Laura Stottlemyer, James J. Ferguson , Jr., The Marie C. & Joseph C. Wilson Foundation, Florence Bryan Fowlkes, Howard and Jane Frank, Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Joan Gervino, Joseph Gildenhorn and Alma Gildenhorn, Elinor Ginzler, John Gizzi and Colleen Mary House, Walter Gorman and Sarah Gorman, Richard Graham and Susan Lloyd-Graham, Greater Washington Community Foundation, Stanley Greenspan, Matthew Hastings, Nancy and Dick Havlik, Warren Heenan and Louise Bon Heenan, Sonia Hekimian, Alan Hermesch and Susanna Michelsen, George L. Hesse, Carl F. Hicks, Jr. and Carolyn Hicks, Col. Stanford R. Hicks, Paul & Annetta Himmelfarb Foundation, Olga Hirshhorn, Daniel Hodes, James and Diana Holman, Thomas Hughes and Jane Casey, John Jeppson, Chad Johnson and Christopher Heaps, David Kenney and Justine Mascioli Hug, The Kiplinger Foundation, Steven and Eva Lamb, Kathryn D. Leckey , Esq. and Robert R. Best, Finlay and Willee Lewis, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Vibeke Lofft*, Thomas and Barbara Lott, Gerhard Mally and Summers Mally, Marcum LLP, Leavy Mathews, William F. McSweeny and Dorothy McSweeny, Chris Mixter and Linna Barnes, Mobil Foundation Community Affairs Advisor, Diane Montgomery, National Guild for Community Arts, John U. Nef, Nordstrom, Nuclear Energy Institute, Louis V. and Marjorie Perez, John and Donna Pfieger, Dean and Cathy* Philpott, Joan Polk, Norman S. Portenoy, Robert and MaryBeth Powers, Prince Georges County Community Partners Grant, Prince George’s Arts Council, Putnam Trust, Reinsch Pierce Family Foundation, Joseph E. Robert , Jr., Kyle Roche, Resource Partners/Susan Schaefer, S.H. & Helen R. Scheuer Family Foundation, Diplomat Gail Hubig Scott, Milan Selassie, Carol Siegel, Annie Simonian Totah, Kitty Skallerup, Lawrence and Pat Skantz*, Albert H. and Shirley Small, Robert H. and Clarice Smith, Janet W. Solinger*, SunTrust Bank, Judith Terra, TRW Systems Integration Group, United Arts Organization, Aldred and Mary Van Huyck, Anna Maria* and Giorgio Via, George Vradenburg, Washington Post Company, Edward Wheeler and Ruth Buchanan, Michael and Nan Whitehurst, Ryan Wilson Esq. and Devona Jefferson, Joseph J. Wolf, Catherine Wyler and Richard Rymland, Sidney Zlotnick

*In Memoriam

Board of Trustees

Michelle Baker, chairperson
Deborah Riley, vice-chair, organizational equity
Donald E. Wright, vice chair, executive board development, immediate past chairperson, emeritus trustee
Gabriela I. Coman, secretary
Melanie Jarratt Wolfe, co-chairperson, development-communications 
Lisa Emidy Consoldane, treasurer

Lolo Sarnoff, founder & chairperson emerita (1916-2014)

Read the Bios Here

Judith Bauer
Catherine H.K. Bell
Donald T. Bliss, Esq., emeritus
Joseph Andrew Jones, PhD
Bruce Matter, Esq., general counsel [ex officio]
Shane Repas
Scott Span, MSOD, CSM, ACC
Janine Tursini, director and chief executive officer [ex officio]
T. Ryan Wilson, Esq.

National Advisory Council

Jerome Barry, Performance Artist, Master Teacher, Founder of Embassy Series

Nathan Billig, MD, Gerontologist and Psychiatrist

Elaine Kotell Binder, Certified Association Executive, Nonprofit consultant, Trustee of Roundhouse Theatre

Robert B. Blancato , President of Matz, Blancato & Associates,  National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, and Trustee of National Center for  Creative Aging

Thomye M. Cave, Executive Director, Downtown Clusters Geriatric Day Care Center

Raquel Chapin Stephenson, PhD, ATR-BC, LCAT, Assistant Professor, Expressive Therapies Division, Lesley University

Yanira Cruz, PhD, President & CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging

William R. Dunlap, Artist, Arts Commentator, and Educator

Jehan El-Bayoumi, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine, Internal Medicine Residency Director, Gerontologist, The George Washington University, Medical Faculty Associates

Steve Gurney, Founder of Pro-Aging Network, and Founder/Publisher of Guide to Retirement Living Sourcebook

Anthony J. Hyatt, Founder, Moving Beauty, Master Teaching Artist

Peter Jablow, President and CEO of the Levine School of Music

Stuart Kandell, PhD, Founder of Stagebridge and Artful Aging Associates

Ermyn King, MA, RDT, Drama therapist, arts educator, teaching artist, arts in health administrator and practitioner

Dorothy Kosinski, PhD, Director, The Phillips Collection

Beverly K. Lunsford, PhD, RN, CNS-BC, Assistant Professor, The George Washington University School of Nursing; Director, Center for Aging, Health and Humanities; Director, Washington Area Geriatric Education Center Consortium

William F. McSweeny, Trustee of the Fine Arts Committee of the State Department

Susan Perlstein, MSW, Founder of Elders Share the Arts and The National Center for Creative Aging

Judy Rollins, PhD, President, Rollins & Associates

Judith Salerno, MD, President & CEO, Susan G. Komen

Robert and Tricia Sarnoff, Sarnoff Family Advisors

Susan J. Schumacher, Executive Vice President, Eagle Bank, AFTA Trustee Emerita

Rhoda Maria Septilici, Diplomatic Liaison



There are no staff opportunities at this time.


There are no internship opportunities at this time.

Teaching Artists

Interested in becoming an Arts for the Aging teaching artist? Click here for more information.


There are no volunteer opportunities at this time.