Master storyteller Deb Swanegan performing at our Arts Aging in Missouri convening

Performing at our Arts and Aging  convening: Deb Swanegan of Columbia, storyteller and Master in our Missouri Folk Arts Program’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program | photo, Marianne Kilroy


Resources from our statewide convening

We put the power of the arts in support of older adults at our statewide convening, Arts and Aging in Missouri. Speakers and performers told their stories, shared their successes, and helped participants learn how to reach and work with older adults by using the arts. Performances by musicians, storytellers, and more entertained and inspired us. The event was attended by older adults, social workers, family members, artists, arts administrators, educators, and other people who were with an arts organization, business, foundation, nonprofit, or government agency that cares about older adults.

We know the arts have the power to assist older adults with creative expression. The arts add value beyond the aesthetic, using creativity to enhance outcomes that are engaging, healing, and educational.

Adults ages 65 and older number more than 16% of our population. Within just a couple of decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

Arts and Aging in Missouri took place on April 4, 2019 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.



  • Joel Anderson, jazz guitarist, Columbia
  • Deb Swanegan, storyteller, Columbia

Thanks to Our Partners

Arts and Aging in Missouri was also supported by Office of Minority Health in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Missouri Coalition Celebrating Care Continuum Change, Missouri Folk Arts Program, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Paula J. Carter Center on Minority Health and Aging of Lincoln University, and Stephens College.

Artwork: Detail of hands from  The Creation of Adamceiling of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Painter, sculptor, architect, and poet, Michelangelo was born in 1475 and died in 1564, three weeks short of his 89th birthday. He never stopped creating. Six days before he died, he spent an entire day working on  a sculpture.