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Arts & Health: Healthy Aging through the Arts

Participating in creative arts practice builds better health in older adults. Professional artists work collaboratively with seniors and Elders, facilitating the expression of participants’ knowledge and life experiences. Together artists and participants dance, sing, write, draw, paint, weave, and develop art projects of all kinds.

Programs are delivered by organizations with close ties to the community and mandates focused on health, community recreation, and art participation, in partnership with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and Vancouver Coastal Health.

Arts and Health provides a forum for expression, communication, exploration and imagination, which in turn fosters an improved sense of health, well-being, and belonging.

See local projects, performances, and exhibitions, at our annual year-end showcase

View research and resources on the health benefits of community-engaged arts participation for older adults 

Arts, Health, and Seniors Project Report

The Arts, Health, and Seniors Project Report

A Three-Year Exploration of the Relationship between Arts and Health


Arts and Health addresses many current issues for seniors, the largest growing sector of the population:

  • Health practitioners across North America recognize the need for new models of care
  • Our populations is aging and marginalization is increasing amongst the elderly
  • Current approaches to recreation are expanding to enrich and support seniors' wellness
  • Research demonstrates strong links between participation in the arts and health

Our goals

To create a healthier aging population, Arts and Health aims to:

  • Provide support for seniors dealing with marginalization or conditions of vulnerability
  • Maintain, and/or improve the health and well-being of vulnerable seniors through their participation in community-engaged arts practices
  • Create a supportive environment for community-engaged arts practices and increase their use within health environments and centres for community programming
  • Demonstrate the positive impact of participants in arts-based activities on the health and well-being of communities

Project activities

Weekly workshops

Artists typically meet with a local group of seniors and Elders once a week for 30 weeks, between October and June.

Exhibition and performance opportunities

A year-end exhibition and gala showcase all the seniors' work annually. The project sites also organize local exhibition and performance opportunities throughout the program season.

Community of practice

The Arts and Health Community of Practice provides professional development and capacity building opportunities for our team of artists and site staff, who meet to share successes, challenges, ideas, and to analyze their work. These collegial gatherings are an important support for the project leaders, who each work at different sites with different senior groups.

Together we are growing a network knowledgeable in community engaged arts practice for seniors and Elders.

Contact project staff

Caroline Liffmann
Community Arts Programmer
Arts, Culture, and Engagement
Vancouver Board of Parks
and Recreation
Phone: 604-718-5857

Learn about Arts & Health

For more information about Arts & Health, visit Arts & Health: Healthy Aging Through the Arts 

Reduced cost recreation programs for seniors

If you are a Vancouver senior with a low income, you may qualify for access to basic recreation programs and facilities at reduced or no cost. 

Learn about Leisure Access Cards