Five years ago I got a speaking invitation from Maura O’Malley, co-founder of Lifetime Arts, a nonprofit that was creating professional arts programs for olders long before “creative aging” was a thing. (Google it now.) Last night they celebrated their tenth anniversary at a gorgeous gala in NYC, honoring Aroha Philanthropy’s Ellen Michelson for her visionary leadership and me with their inaugural Game Changer Award. (That’s Ellen below on the right—no, we didn’t coordinate our dresses—and Maura in the middle.)
One thing I turn out to be good at is recognizing my people when I encounter them, and the Lifetime Arts crew are definitely among them. They were the first organization to support me, and the first people in the creative aging field to understand that confronting ageism is central to their mission. As I said in my very short acceptance speech, “Artists like you are taking this change out into the world.” I’m grateful.
I also heard last week from San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that I had been selected for their YBCA 100 list. “We believe that any major political or social change first requires a cultural movement. The YBCA 100 celebrates the 100 people, organizations, and movements that are using their platform to shift culture,” they write. “This year we continue to highlight cultural provocateurs and innovators from the Bay Area and around the globe. Welcome to a list that includes alumni such as activist Alicia Garza (2016), journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (2017), and filmmaker Boots Riley (2017).” Cultural provocateur! What an honor, and what fantastic company to be keeping.
left; with my kids, Luke and Morgan, at the Lifetime Arts gala; right, thanking John Leland, friend and author of Happiness is A Choice You Make, who introduced me.