Here you'll find annual reports and guides to our projects and programs.  In addition, we share links to national resources and the treasure trove of resources from the UWM Center on Age & Community. 

The UWM Center on Age & Community launched in 2001.  In 2013, the CAC reorganized to become the Center on Aging and Translational Research.    During its 10 years under the directorship of Anne Basting, CAC focused primarily on innovations in care practices, particularly in arts, humanities and design. 

White papers from CAC Think Tanks and descriptions of educational products developed at CAC that are focused on the arts, humanities, and design are listed below, along with resources developed by the Creative Trust. 


creative trust report 2015-16

We had a fantastic year with implementing the SAIRs program (8 Student Artists in Residence and 3 apprentices) in settings as diverse as community-serving agencies, care homes, and hospitals. We also continued our award-winning TimeSlips program with student volunteers from UWM, and engaged learning classes.  Find that report here.


The Islands of Milwaukee Project

The Islands of Milwaukee aims to bring meaningful engagement to older adults living alone or under-connected to community and to use art to catalyze a community-wide conversation about the importance of connecting to community as we age.

We forged a broad network of partners to reach older adults living alone and over the last three years, built a system to bring meaningful engagement to them through home delivered meals, volunteers, and meal sites and senior centers.

The Questions of the Day are the backbone of this engagement system. Do you know an older adult who is living alone or under-connected to community? Invite them to answer a Question of the Day with you - and share your answers here. Connect. It’s fun. It’s enlightening. It’s good for you.

This project yielded radio segments, visual art, an exhibit and performance, and street performances to make Milwaukee a city that SEES and STOPS for pedestrians!  See all the connections we made over 2 years at the website


The Penelope Project

The Penelope Project was a collaborative effort to dramatically raise the bar on activities in long term care.

Using the story of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, a team of staff, residents, artists, and students engaged an entire long term care community in creativity and learning. Everyone was welcome.

Discussion groups, movement exercises, visual art, stories, and music all emerged from this multi-year project that culminated in the performance of FINDING PENELOPE, a professionally-produced play staged inside the care facility. Over 400 people attended the performances.

See website for information on the 52 minute documentary, educational guide and other materials from this exciting project.   Look for it on PBS in May 2015!  Call your local station and ask when they are screening it in May (Older Americans Month). 

Penelope’s collaborative team included:
UWM Center on Age & Community and the Dept. of Theatre;
Luther Manor Senior Living Community; and Sojourn Theatre.
371 Productions created and distributes the documentary.

Opening Doors to Memory and Imagination
Creating a Museum Program for People with Memory Loss

Compiled by Jane Tygesson
Inspired by the experiences of the Spark Alliance of museums and cultural institutions.

This new manual (97 pages) is designed to offer a road map to starting programs for families with memory loss at a wide range of cultural institutions.  Small, large, rural, urban - the Spark Alliance of 10 museums and cultural institutions shared trainings and resources to help build their network and improve the lives of people with memory loss. Made possible by grants from the Helen Bader Foundation.  

For more on the SPARK ALLIANCE, visit their website.


Almost Home

A highly acclaimed, stunningly intimate PBS documentary that takes you inside a year-in-the-life of a nursing home trying to implement culture change.  CAC was an integral part of developing the curricular material to support this moving documentary.  It is now available from 371 Productions.  Email for more information.



The story of a model program designed to bring growth and meaning to the lives of the people who attend and work at an adult day center through sculpture, dance, storytelling, fabric art, ceramics and gardening.  Provides tools/models for creating your own program. 60 pages, 4-color. 

Now available from Attainment Company!


The Arts and Dementia Care Resource Guide

The Arts are one of the most powerful tools for connecting with the people with dementia and for improving the experience of caring for them. This Resource Guide is the first to help people through the challenging work of beginning, running, and sustaining an arts program.  50 pages  Now Available from Attainment Co.


Using the Arts and Humanities in Community Health (2011)

Free and downloadable. 18 pages.

This white paper represents a summary of a half-day, interactive workshop where national and local leaders explored model projects and discuss challenges, resources, next steps and future support needed to further community engaged research in the arts and humanities in the field of community health. 


How Can We Radically Transform Activities in Long Term Care?  (2009)

FREE and downloadable.  30 pages. 
Leaders in the arts and in aging services, students, family caregivers, and people with memory loss joined together to think out of the box about how we can bring meaningful engagement and build community in long term care, whether that means people living in their own homes or in congregate care settings.


Creative Expression and Dementia Care: Finding Meaning in Dementia (2006)

FREE and downloadable. 
When rational language fails, creative expression offers new channels for communication through movement, gesture, poetry, music, and images. Read what experts in the field had to say about the benefits of creative expression in dementia care when they gathered for a 2006 think tank.