Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts
We’re very excited to welcome our Round 8 cohort:
Northrop Performing Arts Center, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Redmoon Theater and The Theater Offensive have been selected to participate in Round 8 of the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts, an intensive training and immersion program that supports prototyping of innovations at nonprofit theater, dance, jazz and presenting organizations. The Lab is designed and managed by EmcArts and funded by a generous grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF).
- Northrop: How can we transform our revitalized facility into a hub of interdisciplinary creativity and innovation at the University of Minnesota that dynamically engages students, faculty, researchers, artists, and the greated community?
- PICA: In considering our ongoing model of using temporary, pop-up spaces and alternative venues to site work in spaces appropriate to artists' needs, how can we challenge our assumptions about the value of this model? How can we preserve our practice's core values while reshaping it?
- Redmoon: How can we cultivate a well-trained community of collaborators to build the next generation of artists, and invest in individuals in the long-term by scaffolding training from intern to apprentice, apprentice to collaborator, and from collaborator to peer artist?
- TTO: What is the impact of our newly formed Pride Youth Theater Alliance (PYTA) -- a strategic alliance supporting and encouraging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth theater in North America? How will this new model affect TTO's work locally as it takes on this new initiative on an international scale?
We believe it’s helpful for the field to learn a bit about the range of projects which were proposed. As part of the application process, we ask everyone to write a short summary of their project. What follows is each applicant’s submission.
Follow their stories on ArtsFwd as they examine these adaptive challenges.
We’re pleased to announce Round 8 of The Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts with the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Lab is a 12-month program that helps performing arts organizations incubate and test innovative strategies to address major adaptive challenges.
We have also revised the feedback timing:
- Phone counseling is now open and has been extended to November 21st.
- Draft applications will be accepted through November 28th.
- Phone feedback on draft applications has been extended through December 5th.
About the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts
The Innovation Lab for Performing Arts was created to advance and accelerate the development of new and innovative strategies by performing arts organizations in order to address well-defined adaptive challenges. It is designed to do this in a way that promotes internal culture change and builds the capacity of participating organizations to innovate more effectively in the future. Participating organizations form a “laboratory” for testing new approaches to achieving artistically vital and organizationally healthy arts institutions.
What Makes a Project a Good Fit for the Lab?
The Innovation Lab is a non-traditional program with a non-traditional application, so we thought it would be useful to talk through some of the underlying ideas of the program and give a few examples to help guide your thinking.
Liz Dreyer, Manager of National Programs sat down with Richard Evans, President of EmcArts, and prompted him with a few questions to establish guiding principles for applying to the Innovation Lab. That conversation is available in three forms: a video, an audio podcast or the full transcript is in this blog post. As always, as you prepare your application, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can write me at LDreyer@emcarts.org with questions and to schedule a consultation.
The organizations will be examining three different adaptive challenges:
- Dancewave: How can we build an innovative, structured curriculum that values both high artistic development and supporting services capable of decreasing delinquent behaviors and increasing engagement in at-risk members?
- Geva: How can we forge a new bond between patrons and artists through engagement, relationship building and artist-patron centered programming that will create both deeper appreciation of and greater support of the artist’s voice?
- ICE: How can we put the artist at the center of not only artistic but operational, decisions?
We received 27 amazing applications examining a variety of themes — training of new professionals, blending artistic and administrative work and new models of audience and community engagement were among them. If you’d like to learn more about the applicant projects, we’ve put together the summaries for your reading pleasure.
Announcing Round 7 of The Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts, designed and managed by EmcArts, with the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Lab is a 12-month program that helps performing arts organizations incubate and test innovative strategies to address major adaptive challenges.
Most arts institutions operate using constantly stretched resources and consequently struggle to implement truly new ideas. At the same time, however, the capacity of American arts organizations to innovate—to find new pathways to mission fulfillment that are discontinuous from previous practice and that result from shifts in underlying organizational assumptions—is and will be a leading indicator of sustained marketplace success and viability.
The Innovation Lab was designed to serve as a catalyst for the journey to these new pathways: to help arts organizations challenge core operating assumptions, engage in intense planning on a practical innovation project, create a sense of organization-wide investment in change, and test innovative strategies with grants that help organizations prototype new practices.
The three-phase Innovation Lab provides a strong framework within which new strategies can be explored and prototyped in relatively low-stakes environments before a full launch:
Phase 1: EmcArts works with organization to identify an Innovation Team (of up to 10 people) at each participating organization, which then defines project goals and success measures, and conducts pertinent research
Phase 2: Innovation Teams from all participating organizations attend a 5-day Intensive retreat that serves as a “project accelerator,” giving teams time to focus on their projects
Phase 3: EmcArts grants Lab participants seed grant money to prototype and evaluate their innovative strategy before full launch.
The Program provides a needed antidote to the general trend of throwing resources, time and energy toward flavor-of-the-month initiatives that seem attractive in turbulent times.
—Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts Program Evaluator Elizabeth Long Lingo, Vanderbilt University