This is the first sentence in my latest book (at least in the first draft!), which tells the story of how I find myself blessed to do the work of bringing learning, beauty, and joy into the lives of students of all ages and abilities. I was a kid fueled by imagination. Essentially, my work has been to ensure that no one, including myself, ever has to stop playing with imagination and growing.
I studied the arts and was an English major at a liberal arts college (Colorado College) that taught me to be curious and try things. But I also have a very practical streak. So rather than just become a writer, I thought I’d get a PhD (U of MN), so I could also teach. Thus a hybrid career was born–and I continue to balance both arts practice and scholarly work and teaching.
Nearly all my plays and art projects are collaboratively created with communities of non-artists. I’m a good listener, with a good memory (knock wood), and a musical ear; which helps me gather stories and shape them into art.
After living all over the country, I have been hip deep in Milwaukee since 2003. Many academics end up far from where they started. My father was born here, and I grew up just an hour and a half down the road. I have family here. The landscape, both physical and emotional) has become engraved in my psyche, from the vast horizon of Lake Michigan, to the sturdy caps of classic bungalows; from the subtle shades of winter fields to the searing pain of decades of redlining. Milwaukee and Wisconsin are where I live, raise a family, and try ideas for how to make lives and the world better.
Anne Basting (Ph.D.) is a scholar and artist whose work focuses on the potential for the arts and humanities to transform our lives as individuals and communities. For over 20 years, Basting has researched ways to infuse the arts into care settings with a particular focus on people with cognitive disabilities like dementia. She is author of numerous articles and three books, The Penelope Project: An Arts-based Odyssey to Change Elder-care (University of Iowa Press, 2016) co-edited with Maureen Towey and Ellie Rose; Forget Memory: Creating better lives for people with dementia (2009) and The Stages of Age: Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture. Named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Basting is also the recipient of an Ashoka Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, a Brookdale National Fellowship, The Randy Martin Spirit Award, and numerous major grants across both the arts and social services. She is author and/or producer of nearly a dozen plays and public performances, including Slightly Bigger Women (2015) and Finding Penelope (2011), a play inspired by a year of intergenerational conversations about the myth of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, and professionally staged at a long term care community. In all her work, Basting is striving toward a moment when the arts are fully infused into care systems.
Basting holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota, and a Masters in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin. She is founder and President of the award-winning non-profit TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, an international alliance of artists and caregivers bringing meaning to late life through creativity. Founded in 1998, TimeSlips became an independent non-profit in 2013 and how has certified facilitators in 47 states and 18 countries.
Basting advises the burgeoning field of arts and health and gives keynote addresses across the world on the power and potential of Creative Care. Basting was Founding Director of UWM's Center on Age and Community from 2003 to 2013, where she fostered partnerships between scholars, students, and service providers, and translated applied research into innovative educational tools including manuals, films, and social media. Now based at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts, Basting coordinates the Arts and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate and the Student Artist in Residence program, a year-long experiential learning program in which student artists live in and foster community building in care settings. Her teaching/practice focus includes Social Entrepreneurship, Playwriting, Directing, and Storytelling.
Basting is at work on a new book, Creative Care (Harper One, 2020), and a new project, I Won't Grow Up, an ambitious reimagining of the story of Peter Pan with 12 rural nursing homes across Kentucky. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein and their two sons Ben and Will.
Basting is Professor of Theatre at the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and founder and President of TimeSlips.
Basting's innovative work as an artist and scholar has been recognized by a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, an Ashoka Fellowship, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and multiple major grants. She is author/editor of multiple books, including the Penelope Project (U of Iowa), Forget Memory (Johns Hopkins), and the forthcoming Creative Care (Harper One). TimeSlips fosters an alliance of artists and caregivers bringing meaning and joy to late life through creativity, and has certified facilitators in 47 states and 18 countries.