Important News

Dear Friends, Partners, Teaching Artists, Colleagues and Supporters,

Elders Share the Arts will be drawing to a close our fruitful 40-year history as of June 30, 2018. We are passing on our exemplary programs to well established organizations in the field. This decision reflects the growth of the field and our understanding that the work continues with like-minded professional organizations.

As you know, it is very challenging to sustain an arts organization of our size and after exploring a variety of options, the board of directors decided that the strongest choice is to pass on our stellar programs to select arts organizations doing work in the field.  ESTA pioneered the field of creative aging.  We have fulfilled our mission and are proud to pass the torch.  As of July 1, our Legacy Arts and History Alive programs will be passed to Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and our Pearls of Wisdom will be passed to DOROT.  

We are proud that we have pioneered the field of Creative Aging and have brought the value of the arts to the well-being and health of thousands of New York City older people, and many more throughout the United States and countries worldwide.

The core mission of ESTA recognizes the life generating benefits of celebrating the voices of our elders while honoring their presence in our lives through creative expression in theater, music, storytelling, spoken word, writing, and the visual arts. ESTA's residencies have been a model for developing replicable programs.

Among ESTA’s significant milestones are:

  • Providing dynamic arts programs for seniors in NYC neighborhood centers, such as History Alive!, Legacy Arts, and the Pearls of Wisdom,  ignite creative expression,  establish elders' role as bearers of culture, and  establish pathways that deepen seniors’ connections to their communities;
  • Being a key research partner in Dr. Gene Cohen’s landmark study, “Creativity and Aging” in 2001 which inspired and led ESTA to launching the National Center for Creative Aging as an advocacy, policy and networking organization for the field;
  • Receiving awards and recognition for our programs from the National Council on Aging, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Society on Aging, and the United States Committee for the Observance of the United Nations International Year of Older Persons, and many others;
  • Initiating and developing a training unit for the Creative Aging field in partnership with the NYC Department for the Aging, New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Center for Creative Aging, as well as internationally with foundation support in Taiwan, England and Australia.

ESTA’s current Board and staff thank all our many partners, community site staffs, teaching artists, funders, donors, past board members, and ESTA staff whose vision, energies and enthusiasm helped create the field of Creative Aging and sustained us throughout these years. We also want to recognize all the elder participants who have lent their energies, enthusiasm and vitality to our programs.  

ESTA is proud to announce that we have prepared the first archive for the field of Creative Aging which will reside at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in their National Arts Policy Archives and Library. It will feature a breadth of materials from ESTA, other NYC arts organizations, the NCCA as well as other national arts programs for elders, which will secure the legacy of the field.

We deeply appreciate your commitment to ESTA’s vision of elders as the keepers of our culture and the programs that have built communities and enhanced the quality of life for all.


ESTA Board:  Betsey Nathan, John Flack, Susan Fleminger, Nancy Avitabile, Karen Bassuk, Judy Padow

Founder and Executive Director: Susan Perlstein

The ESTA Board of Directors acknowledges our appreciation of Susan Perlstein and her dedication to ESTA and the Creative Aging field. We know that she will always be a strong advocate for older adults and we wish her all the best.

Posted on March 15, 2018 .