Our rigorously designed and facilitated workshops, coaching, and intensive labs help people, organizations, and communities create the space and conditions to test innovative strategies and build cultures that embrace change.  

Our practice is deeply influenced by the artistic process, which we believe has a unique power to unlock entrenched beliefs and open up new ways of seeing.  


Community Innovation Labs

Community Innovation Labs is a new approach that equips local communities to address tough social challenges by bringing together a diverse, cross-sector group of stakeholders, and deeply integrating artists and artistic practice into rigorously designed and facilitated change processes. The Community Innovation Labs framework was developed by EmcArts, with lead support from the Kresge Foundation, and it brings together the best from the fields of social innovation labs and creative placemaking. EmcArts is currently piloting this program in two cities — Wintson, Salem, NC and Providence, RI. Read more here.

For more information about the Community Innovations Lab, contact Karina Mangu-Ward, Director of Strategic Partnerships, at kmangu-ward@emcarts.org.


National Programs

The Innovation Labs for Performing Arts, Museums, and Arts Development Agencies take cross-constituent teams through a facilitated process to research ideas, design and prototype new approaches, and launch real-life projects that address complex challenges facing arts and culture organizations. 

For more information about our national programs, contact Liz Dreyer, National Programs Manager, at ldreyer@emcarts.org.


Local and Place-based Programs

New Pathways is a flexible program designed in partnership with local funders to strengthen adaptive leadership within local cultural communities. With program components such as a highly-acclaimed workshop series, participant-led convenings, an innovation incubator, organizational coaching, and systems analysis, each New Pathways initiative is individually tailored to address the needs of specific arts and culture communities. Learn more about New Pathways.

For more information about our local programs, contact Louise Brooks, Manager of Local Programs, at lbrooks@emcarts.org.


Activating Innovation

Through ArtsFwd.org, an online platform for learning and exchange around "next practices" for arts leaders, we aim to create a community and common language about the skills, processes, and behaviors that are integral to creating an adaptive and resilient nonprofit arts and culture field. 

The National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture brought together arts leaders from around the world for a high-profile event that explored the challenges, discoveries, and achievements of daring to depart from traditional approaches. For four days in October 2013, pioneering arts leaders and funders from 14 communities around the country came together for a non-traditional conference in Denver, Colorado. Simultaneously, a free online event extended the experience to participants around the world through a Virtual Summit that included livestreamed talks and discussions. 

Learn more about Activating Innovation.



News and Announcements

Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators: Now Accepting Applications from NYC Leaders of Color

We're now accepting applications for ALACI Cohort 2, which will engage 15 rising leaders of color in New York City. More details here, and RSVP for our info session on September 30th, 2015 at 10am in Harlem here.

Pilot Sites Announced for Community Innovation Labs

We are pleased to announce that after a competitive national search, Winston-Salem, NC and Providence, RI have been selected as the two pilot sites for the Community Innovation Labs. Read the press release here.

New Pathways | Alaska names four arts organizations for Incubating Innovation

Alutiiq Museum, the Island Institute, Anchorage Concert Association, and Perseverance Theatre have been selected for Incubating Innovation, a program that provides innovation grants of $20,000 each to support organizations in exploring, testing and prototyping adaptive strategies for increased public impact and value. Read the press release here.