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Creative Aging Network- NC

Who We Are

Creative Aging Network-NC (formerly Center for Creative Aging North Carolina) incorporated in May 2004 and received tax exemption in February 2008. The organization changed its name in January 2012 to Creative Aging Network-NC (CAN-NC) to more directly reflect our purpose as a connector, convener, and catalyst for the arts and aging field.


Our work is based on the research of Dr. Gene Cohen whose landmark three-year study, commonly referred to as the Creativity and Aging Study, was the first of its kind to assess whether participation in the creative arts, apart from traditional medical care, can promote healthier aging. His work proved that when older people engage in professionally conducted arts programs, they have fewer doctor visits, take less medication, have fewer falls, experience less depression and increase their participation in other activities. In Cohen’s words, “…these community-based cultural programs for older adults appear to be reducing risk factors that drive the need for long-term care.”


We know from experience that within every elder there is creative talent waiting to be released and once triggered, it provides opportunities for continued learning as well as a sense of meaning and purpose otherwise unknown.  We emphasize the process of creative self-expression and inspire older people to share their life experiences through the arts. We work from a potential-based approach to create supportive environments where older people are accepted as they are. In essence, we promote creative aging.

What We Do

We work to complement, enhance, and initiate creative programming in existing aging service organizations by providing education and training to staff as well as artists.


We offer a variety of programs for older people such as on-site classes and interactive workshops. We also provide services for artists and healthcare professionals including on-site training, personalized consultations, educational workshops, and interactive presentations.


We foster the creative potential of each individual, promoting the person-centered care approach, and we emphasize the positive health outcomes resulting from active creative engagement. We are dedicated to promoting a better aging experience for present and future generations.