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Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance Releases Agenda: Aging Report

The Cultural Alliance will launch the new report at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Senior Art Reception at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill Adult Center on May 29.

PHILADELPHIA – May 29, 2019 – The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance today launches a new report that highlights how, for adults over 50, arts and culture dramatically reduces the risk of developing depression, decreases the possibility of dementia through volunteer engagement and improves mental and emotional processing power. Agenda: Aging is the fourth in a series of advocacy tools that outline the positive impact of arts and culture on important civic issues.

“Pennsylvania has the second-highest percentage of seniors in the nation, at 16 percent of the population,” says Maud Lyon, Cultural Alliance president. “What we’ve found through Agenda: Aging is that arts and culture are key to keeping people engaged and inspired through the entire journey of life.”

Local highlights from the report include:

  • The Brandywine River Museum of Art’s workforce of 300+ volunteers not only contributes to the work of the organization; it also gives seniors regular social connection, routine and physical activity. Regular volunteer work—like that done in gardens, museums and other arts and culture organizations—makes older adults nearly 2.5 times less likely to experience dementia.
  • The Curtis Institute of Music’s Creative Expression Through Music program, offered with the Penn Memory Center, gives seniors with Alzheimer’s disease a weekly opportunity to make and share music and tell stories in a safe space, helping 50+ seniors and family members feel “happier, lighter and more at-ease.”
  • Monthly engagement in cultural experiences—including theater, opera, art galleries, cinema, exhibitions, museums and concerts—reduces the risk of developing depression by a staggering 48 percent.

AARP Pennsylvania is the lead sponsor of Agenda: Aging. “Art and culture can have a positive impact on older adults, from the artist who is beautifying the community to those who are being stimulated by art,” says Yocasta Lora, AARP Pennsylvania Associate State Director. “It’s clear that art can connect people with each other, reduce social isolation, and improve physical and brain health. In its own way, art and culture enrich our communities and make them more livable and enjoyable.”

Project partners include AARP Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, the Mayor’s Commission on Aging, Fleisher Art Memorial, ARTZ Philadelphia, the Brandywine Museum of Art and Curtis Institute of Music.

Find out more about Agenda: Aging at

The Agenda series highlights the impact of arts and culture on various civic issues. The inaugural issue, Agenda: Pre-K, focused on the benefits of art integration in early childhood education. The second edition, Agenda: Prosperity, documented that arts and culture supports families, neighborhoods and cities and serves as an economic engine for the entire region. The third edition, Agenda: Wellness, illustrated the intersection of groundbreaking advances in educating medical professionals and the region’s world-class arts and culture sector.

Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and amplify the voices of a cultural community that ignites creativity, inspires people and is essential for a healthy region.” Our membership includes more than 450 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit