Our Approach

We design workshops, coaching, and intensive labs that are deeply influenced by artistic processes, which we believe opens up new ways of thinking and seeing.

Our Vision
A world where individuals, organizations, and communities are equipped to respond to their most complex challenges through collaboration, experimentation and artistic practices.

Our Goals
  • To build local capacity for innovation and adaptive change in the arts and social sector
  • To create the space and conditions for our partners to take on complex challenges
  • To deeply integrate artists and artistic practices into change efforts
What We Believe
Innovation is primarily a process, not a product, fueled by discipline, focus, and a strong will for change. It requires letting go of what is no longer useful and experimenting your way forward. This is difficult and vulnerable work. 

Artistic experiences help us learn to navigate the tension between thinking and feeling, both of which are required to respond to complex challenges. 

Highly effective teams bring together people with many points of view and engage those differences.

Lasting change occurs when you do real work in tandem with rigorous reflection, and support it with strategic financial investment.

Communities that learn together have more power to shape the future than any one person or organization working alone.  

Since 2005, we’ve helped 2,500 leaders, 250 organizations, and dozens of communities transform their practices, navigate uncertainty, and create new value. Learn more

Our Work

Our team has helped leading nonprofits, foundations, city agencies, and cultural leaders realize their dreams for the future. Read more about our team members.

Our Story
EmcArts has evolved in three phases that resemble the stages of innovation we see in cultural organizations. In 1999, Richard Evans and John McCann founded EmcArts LLC as a consulting firm focused on organizational change. In 2005 we re-incorporated as a nonprofit with the aim of systematizing innovation and adaptive change in arts and culture field. In 2014, EmcArts turned its attention to the wider social sector, creating the Community Innovation Labs to advance innovative responses to community challenges through the arts.

In 2018, EmcArts is opening a new chapter, entering into a partnership with the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Joint programs of the Kenan Institute and EmcArts will bring together University faculty and resources with leading expertise in arts innovation and adaptive change to provide a new national platform and critical mass for “next practices” in the arts sector.