Lifetime Art Competition

Sponsored by the Helen Bader Foundation

Helen Bader Foundation Logo

We are very grateful to the Helen Bader Foundation for their continuing support of the Lifetime Art Competition and their encouragement of older artists in our community.

The Lifetime Art Competition is a juried, traveling exhibition of art created by adults at least 50 years of age who live in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Racine County. It began as a program of Art Reach Milwaukee, and in 2012, celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Click Here to view a gallery of the 2013 Lifetime Art Competition winners' artwork


Older adults can bring amazing talent and energy to their communities. Many of them have the skills to create astonishingly beautiful art which enriches our lives and gives the artists a deep, meaningful connection to the larger community.

"Some of the most powerful works of art have been produced by older Americans by hands that have engaged in years of hard work, eyes that have witnessed decades of change, and hearts that have felt a lifetime of emotions. Our whole society benefits when older Americans use their talents and experiences to become involved in the arts as creators, teachers, mentors, volunteers and audiences." (Hillary Rodham Clinton, from a monograph for the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, Americans for the Arts, in 1996.)

We believe it is important for our community to appreciate and affirm the gifts that older adults can offer to their neighborhoods. Art can bring a variety of audiences together; art can heal; art can tell a visual truth that cannot be told any other way; art can motivate continuous learning and exploration. Art can inspire. Through the Lifetime Art Competition, Interfaith celebrates the creative spirit among the older adults in Milwaukee County and provides an opportunity for them to showcase their talents and achievements to a broader audience.


Approximately 125 artists enter the competition. There are three winning categories: New Artist, Past Winner and Photography. Three-four judges from the art community and local colleges choose 25 winners based on presentation, aesthetic appeal, skill level and originality. The art travels to 10-11 locations during the tour from May through February. Previous locations for the juried work and extra exhibits featuring the winning artists have included public libraries, senior living communities, public buildings, galleries and hotels.

  • For a schedule of current exhibit sites, please check back soon.

Exhibit hosts hold receptions for the artists, their families and friends at which the public is welcome. At this event, each artist’s work is projected on a screen, and they are invited to talk about their piece and how they came to be artists. Many of the works of art are for sale. 

  • If you visit an exhibit and are interested in making a purchase, please call the Interfaith Older Adult Programs office at 414-291-7500.

In addition, the winning art is professionally photographed so that digital images can be used to create ads, posters and invitations, notecards and other promotional pieces. The public as also welcome to purchase these notecards.

Competition Schedule

  • January 2014: About 1,600 entry forms are mailed to artists, galleries, libraries, senior living communities, and art groups in southeast Wisconsin.
    • If you would like to receive an entry form, or be considered as an exhibit host site, please call our central office at 414-291-7500. We welcome your interest!
  • February: Setting schedule with exhibit hosts.
  • March: Judging of current year winners and closing of previous year's Competition at the last exhibit host site.
  • April / May to February 2015: Opening and reception at first exhibit host site with changing host sites approximately every three-four weeks.


Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 November 2013 )