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Research Center for Arts and Culture, Long Based at TC, Will Join the National Center for Creative Aging

A pioneering initiative expands its mission
A pioneering initiative expands its mission

By Joe Levine

The Research Center for Arts and Culture (RCAC), which provides data and information in service of artists and the arts, is leaving its long-time base at Teachers College to become part of the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, D.C.  The change will become effective on September 1, 2011. RCAC Director Joan Jeffri will leave Teachers College’s faculty to continue at the helm of the organization she founded in 1985.  A degree program in Arts Administration, which Jeffri also directs, will continue to operate at Teachers College under new leadership.

RCAC's studies have examined the situation of the living artist in America, including the complex challenges facing dancers as they transition out of their performance careers; the communities and support structures that sustain jazz musicians; and, increasingly in recent years, life and work issues for aging artists. RCAC also conducts research on a broad range of topics in the arts, from cultural policy and public spaces to labor relations and the law, convening public events and providing curriculum development to educational institutions and leadership training to arts organizations and managers around the world (

Founded in 2001, the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging and to developing programs that build on this understanding. NCCA promotes three initiatives: Civic Engagement, Health and Wellness, and Lifelong Learning, integral to its mission of bringing arts programs to older adults.

Media interested in learning more about RCAC and NCCA should contact Joan Jeffri at 212 678-3271 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            212 678-3271      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

“Teachers College has provided us with an ideal environment in which to establish ourselves as the premier organization dedicated to research issues that affect professional artists,” said Jeffri. “However, we see our mission expanding to include a focus on artists internationally, and a more intensive focus on issues related to healthy aging, which is an exploding issue as the Baby Boomers retire. People are living longer, and they want to remain engaged in and fulfilled by life.  And all our work shows that artists, who know about resilience, flexibility and multi-tasking, are a model in our society for healthy aging.”

Dr. Gay Hanna, Executive Director of NCCA said, “RCAC brings NCCA an extraordinary opportunity to promote and expand cutting edge research in the arts, health and culture addressing aging issues at a time of great need for solutions in our nation’s capital.”

RCAC will maintain ongoing ties with Teachers College. A project called “Art Cart: Saving the Legacy” that Jeffri created this past year at the College, through which  students in Arts Administration, Art Education, Occupational Therapy, Art History and Social Work help older New York City visual artists catalogue their work, will be offered again at both Teachers College and Columbia during the 2012-13 academic year. RCAC will also offer ”Art Cart” in Washington with a consortium of other colleges and universities.

“Joan Jeffri has been an innovative leader in reframing how we think about the arts and the human life cycle,” observed Thomas James, Provost of Teachers College, Columbia University.  “She and the center she created have carried to new heights our sense of potential for the power of creativity in opening new pathways for human development as our population ages, and I am delighted that this work can be lifted to a national platform with the center’s move.”

Dr. James said that the College’s Deputy Provost, John Allegrante, would serve on the advisory board for NCCA-RCAC.

Joan Jeffri is a former actress and poet who became interested in artists’ career issues after acting as her own agent. After working for the City University of New York and doing consulting work for the New York State Council for the Arts, she joined Columbia University’s School of Arts  in 1975, designing the institution’s first course on arts administration and later founding RCAC. During the 1990s, she moved both the degree program in arts administration and RCAC to Teachers College.

Jeffri has written several seminal texts including the co-authored Respect for Art: Visual Arts Administration and Management in China and the United States, published in 2007; Arts Money: Raising It, Saving It and Earning It (1989)  and The Emerging Arts: Management, Survival and Growth (1980), as well as over 20 research reports from original and commissioned work, and articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Poetics, the International Journal of Cultural Policy, and the International Journal of Arts Management.

The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging and to developing programs that build on this understanding.  Based in Washington, DC, NCCA is a nonprofit with 2,500 members and is affiliated with The George Washington University.

Published Monday, Jun. 13, 2011