Combating Physical Distancing with Virtual Joy

About the Project

For over 30 years, Arts for the Aging (AFTA) has brought the arts to older adults in the DC Metro region.  Through innovative, multidisciplinary arts experiences, AFTA gives older adults – especially those who are frail, isolated, and vulnerable – a sense of healing, self-worth, and independence. 

Due to COVID-19 sweeping the nation and placing much of the DC region in a shelter in place, the senior and community centers where AFTA’s programs take place are in a necessary lock down. Many older adults are confined to their individual rooms. These measures are needed to protect the health and safety of both older adults and the artists they work with. However, it also means that the interaction, joy, and artistic experiences that over 1,000 senior citizens and 180 care providers rely on can no longer take place in person, and the isolation felt by many of our clients has intensified.

It also means that our teaching artists, who are normally paid per workshop, have seen all of their future work (i.e. revenue) put on hold. AFTA is dedicated to finding a way to keep its 28 teaching artists employed and paid during this crisis. The stipends they normally receive for workshops are on hold from our client partners, so we're asking for your support to help us create an artist incubator. With this opportunity, we can pay our artists to reimagine our previously high-touch work into a new digital format. We've already begun actively researching virtual methods of connecting and teaching. Our artist fees are $6,000/month. We anticipate that we need to cover three months of artists fees to get us through this crisis and to redesign, pilot, and implement new and exciting ways to keep making art with seniors and their caregivers.

We invite you to join us in supporting AFTA’s teaching artists. They are the heartbeat of this organization. Together, we will rise above COVID-19, and protect the health and safety of everyone in our community.  With your help, we will also ensure that our artists are paid and employed, so they in turn can give their gifts to our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Even though we might have to be physically distant for a while, we know that if we support our artists, they can continue to spread joy digitally to the older adults who need art now more than ever!




Matching Sponsors

Our generous sponsors will contribute $1 for every $1 donated to this project up to $5,000 ! (pending matching fund availability)

  • Montgomery county logo
Donate Now
$10,252.32 of $10,000 goal ⋅ ended 52 days ago
  • Donate $25 or more

    $25 is one hour of planning for our teaching artists. For a donation of this amount, you'll help us think about how to re-create our work; plus you'll be the star of our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds with a social media shout out!
    Amount is fully tax-deductible
  • Donate $100 or more

    $100 pays for one hour of teaching artist work. A donation of this amount will support an artist as they work to create new virtual versions of their workshops; plus you'll be spotlighted in our newsletter!
    Amount is fully tax-deductible
  • Donate $250 or more

    $250 will pay for the new digital tools (software and hardware) our artists need to redesign our programming; plus, you'll receive a beautiful, hand-crafted tango pillows.

    2019 was our Year in Movement, which featured a partnership with the Embassy of Argentina on tango dancing. Since the embrace, abrazos, is core to tango , and we often have more seniors in our workshops than teaching artists, these pillows were hand crafted by our teaching artists during the tango series as alternative dance partners, fully outfitted in the festive spirit of the dance.

    You can see the pillows here: https://aftaarts.org/2019/12/10/embraceable-tango-pillows-can-be-yours/
    (4 of 4 remaining)
    Amount over $50 is tax-deductible
  • Donate $500 or more

    $500 pays for one week's worth of artist fees. A donation of this amount will help us keep our Teaching Artists employed, even as we've lost revenue from our client partners that paid for the workshops; plus, you'll receive two tickets to our next fundraising in-person event. Last year's was at the Embassy of Argentina where we honored our founder and tangoed the night away!
    Amount is fully tax-deductible
-$252.32 to go. Every dollar helps.
$10,252.32 of $10,000 goal ⋅ ended 52 days ago

Founding Sponsors


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  • $112
    Joyce Hagel-Silverman
    2 months ago
  • $83.68
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $28
    in honor of Peter Burroughs
    2 months ago
  • $28
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Anonymous
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    in honor of All the Teaching Artists!
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $560
    in honor of Mary T Wright
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Anonymous
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Scott Span
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $300
    Rosie & Kevin Bryan
    2 months ago
  • $300
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $56
    Anonymous
    2 months ago
  • $56
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    in honor of To Janine, AFTA staff, board members, and teaching artists who bring love and light to the Seniors in our community.
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Raquel Stephenson
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $28
    Anonymous
    2 months ago
  • $28
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $56
    Paula Cleggett
    2 months ago
  • $56
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $51.52
    Jennifer Campbell
    2 months ago
  • $51.52
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $100
    Cheryl McQueen
    2 months ago
  • $100
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $44.80
    Miles Spicer
    2 months ago
  • $44.80
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Nancy Havlik
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $500
    Svetlana Dimovski
    2 months ago
  • $500
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Ralph Tursini
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $224
    in honor of In memory of Ron Matkso-Ensel
    2 months ago
  • $56
    in honor of Stella Alba Helene
    2 months ago
  • $56
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $28
    Nazan Kirdar
    2 months ago
  • $28
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  • $112
    S. Alexandra Russell
    2 months ago
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    marla bush
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Mary and Peter Robinson
    2 months ago
  • $112
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $224
    Stephanie Ocallaghan
    2 months ago
  • $224
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Melanie Wolfe
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $28
    Stephanie Hanson
    2 months ago
  • $28
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Janine Tursini
    2 months ago
  • $560
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
  • $56
    in honor of Kathryn Jaquish Engebretsen
    2 months ago
  • $56
    Match from Montgomery County MD
    2 months ago
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