History of Project Joy

This innovative arts program for seniors originated in 1972.  Structured by Marian Herzer, it was included in the Senior Proposal to the Washington State Office on Aging and was accept by them as well as the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.  Initial funding came from the Older Americans Act and was administered by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.

NAME:  “PROJECT JOY” expresses the joy we bring through the arts, and the joy we share with one another as we work together for the benefit of our fellows.

PURPOSE:   To serve and to grow in the spirit of joy as we entertain others.


  1. SERVICE – Serve those unable to join us yet appreciate a variety of quality entertainment.
  2. EDUCATION – Provide continuing Arts education.
  3. RECREATION – Recreate experiences.
  4. PUBLIC RELATIONS – Demonstrate that retirees are a vital segment of society.
  5. EMPLOYMENT – Create jobs for qualified seniors.

GROUPS:  Project Joy’s 200 plus volunteer members, comprising 38 groups, perform over 300 times annually. Entertainers include vocal and instrumental solo and small groups, a 50-voice choir, a 50-piece orchestra, sing-along groups, story tellers, puppeteers and country and bluegrass groups. Groups meet weekly for 1 to 2 hours at various locations for practice and performances. The only requirement is a desire to serve and share your talent.

MEMBERSHIP: Benefits of membership include insurance coverage while performing for Project Joy, inclusion in newsletter and other postal mailings, email contacts, and additional Project Joy activities. Membership is not required to participate only as a performer. No membership dues are required. 

ORGANIZATION:  Administration of Project Joy is by 2 part-time employees (Director and Administrative Assistant),  an 11-member Advisory Council and Music Directors of the 3 largest groups.

FUNDING:  We are partially funded by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department and also receive donations from the many facilities where we entertain.