Stories for Change: Leadership Examples of Expanding the Arts to New Audiences


Research Abstract
Stories for Change: Leadership Examples of Expanding the Arts to New Audiences

Stories for Change broadens the scope of Partners’ 2011 report, Culture Connects All: Rethinking Audiences in Times of Demographic Change, which describes the innovative programs of arts organizations in six major American cities. It shows that arts and culture are as essential to sustaining communities as bricks and mortar.

Newcomers and older adults (65 +) are two of the fastest growing populations—communities across the country are grappling with a demographic makeup that is increasingly diverse and proportionally older than in the past. Arts and cultural organizations have the opportunity to reach-out, to increase resources in the community, and to engage populations that are at risk for being overlooked.

Stories for Change is a compelling collection, brimming with new ideas brought to fruition by many types of organizations including: museums, libraries, community development organizations, theaters, orchestras, dance ensembles, area agencies on aging, transportation bureaus, parks, botanic gardens, universities, and more. Organizations that hope to enhance the lives of their older and immigrant residents can find approaches portrayed in these Stories that can be adapted to meet the needs of their communities.

Best practices include the well-known Alzheimer’s Project of the Museum of Modern Art, which has been adapted to museums around the country, and Circle of Care, a unique ride share program that partners young people with older adults to attend free arts performances in Boulder, Colorado. Stories are located in rural, mid-size, and metropolitan settings; many can be easily implemented, and do not require a major overhaul of staffing, operations, or an organization’s mission.

You will find many remarkable programs that make the arts and culture tools for change, enabling immigrant and older populations—and everyone—to thrive.

Stories for Change, a report by Partners for Livable Communities funded by MetLife Foundation, offers leadership examples that expand the arts to new audiences. This compendium of nearly 50 best practices showcases the notable strategies that increase access to arts and culture for older adult and immigrant populations.


Bieber, Liz; Miller, Brian; and Cooper, Will
January 1, 2012

Partners for Livable Communities
1429 21st Street, NW
DC, 20036
United States