Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC), is a community arts engagement program that places artists-in-residence at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City. The program provides selected artists with a stipend and access to workspace in senior centers in exchange for the creation and delivery of arts programming for seniors. Selected artists will engage participating seniors in an art project or series of cultural programs over the course of the residency, which will also include a public program component – a series of exhibits, readings, performances, open houses or other cultural interactions open to the surrounding community.

This initiative seeks to connect artists with seniors in senior centers and aims to positively impact the well-being of seniors through arts-based activities.  Senior centers seek to place artists who are sensitive to the needs of seniors and who are interested in engaging their communities.  Each senior center is unique and offers access to different types of spaces, resources and communities.  Selected artists will work with the senior center where they are placed to further refine project goals and coordinate a schedule for residency activities and use of facilities.

SPARC is a collaboration among the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the City’s five local arts councils situated in each borough – Brooklyn Arts Council, Bronx Council on the Arts, Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Queens Council on the Arts. It was developed as part of Age-Friendly NYC, a citywide effort to make the City more livable for seniors, and previously ran in 2012 and 2013.  The 2014 SPARC program is supported, in part, by public funds from the Department for the Aging.

LMCC accepts applications from artists seeking residencies at participating senior centers in Manhattan only.

Applications 2015 projects are expected to open in Fall of 2014.

In exchange for the creation and delivery of arts programming at a senior center during the residency period, SPARC artists-in-residence will receive a stipend in the amount of $1,500, an additional $500 materials/supplies budget, access to senior center workspace and access to materials/supplies of their choosing from Materials for the Arts. Individual artists can apply directly to participate in the program without a fiscal sponsor.  SPARC expects to fund 50 artist residencies at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City.