Jennie Smith-Peers is Executive Director of National Center for Creative Aging, leading the nation in supporting capacity building, cutting-edge research, and public policies for older adults in the arts. Prior to her tenure at NCCA, Jennie served as Executive Director of Elders Share the Arts, a pioneering arts and aging organization headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. Under her leadership, ESTA became an active advocate for older adults within the New York City cultural field, and developed an innovative cross-sector training program with the State Office on Aging and the Arts of Pennsylvania, now one of ESTA’s signature trainings.
Her love of working with older adults began during her time as an AmeriCorps member which focused on supporting the health and well-being older adults throughout the Middle Tennessee area. Subsequently, Jennie led parallel careers as a professional actress and administer in aging, She is invited to speak locally and nationally on the importance of creativity in later life, intergenerational arts education, and strategies on how to use reminiscence and life review.
Jennie holds a BFA from Emerson College; is a graduate of Antonio Fava’s Stage Internazionale di Commedia dell’Arte in Reggio-Emilia, Italy; and is currently finishing her graduate degree in Drama Therapy from NYU, focusing on ways reminiscence can support the long-term remission of late-life depression.
Jennie believes the arts are critical to personal, community and national well-being, since sharing our stories through art-making can build connections that go far deeper than those resulting from passive diversions. She also believes that by giving voice to our elders through the arts that the dynamic of a community can be changed, thus building a more equitable society for all.
Jennie is a board member of the Shin Kong Life Foundation, co-chair for the Arts, Media Culture Committee for Age-Friendly New York, an avid kayaker, and twitter junkie – @dignityinaging.