Announcing Host Sites for EmcArts Community Change Workshops!

EmcArts is delighted to announce the first three locations for our two new workshop programs in pursuing community change through the arts. These programs are made possible through the generous support of the Kresge Foundation.

Arts in Complex Community Change

This series provides unique capacity-building support for arts organizations and agencies across the social sector working on complex community change – opportunities to slow down, reflect and learn how to make real progress in changing the dynamics of complex systems through the arts.  In the workshops, teams from up to 15 community agencies and arts organizations will strengthen their ability to work adaptively and address complex community challenges through the arts. Participants will identify the complex challenges they face in their work, and explore responses that are developed through small experiments, rapid learning, and repeated prototyping.

In 2018, this series will take place in:

Waterville, ME

Waterville is a post-manufacturing community located along the Kennebec River in central Maine. Like many mill towns in New England, Waterville suffered a severe economic downturn following the loss of its manufacturing base, though thanks to local support, they have continued to sustain some of the strongest cultural institutions in the state. Downtown Waterville is in the midst of an unprecedented revitalization, and the community is seeking ways to embrace the challenges that such shifts can create. This is a critical moment to explore the role that the arts can play in ensuring that all residents have access to Waterville’s cultural offerings, economic opportunities, and conversations about the community’s future.

Sponsor: Waterville Creates!

Waterville Creates! (WC!) promotes, supports, and grows the community’s arts and cultural assets in order to strengthen Waterville as a vibrant creative center, increase access to creative opportunities for residents and visitors, and advance community and economic development goals. Since 2014, WC! has served as the primary coordinating entity for arts and cultural programming in Waterville by working directly with local arts and culture organizations to strengthen partnerships, expand collaborative programming, and launch new marketing initiatives.


Artists as Change Agents within Complexity

This series focuses on how change efforts in conditions of social complexity can be re-imagined as artistic processes – not how artists could better contribute side-bar activities alongside systems analysis and strategy design, but how the creative assets artists can bring to developmental processes could become central to the complex change work itself. In the workshops, up to 10 locally-based artists will develop their artistic practice as a central methodology for systemic change in their local community. The workshops will orient artists to five essential capabilities needed for systems change, and explore the use they can make of them in a community context.

The two communities hosting this series in 2018 are:

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, has long been known as a financial center, and has a long history of institutional investment in arts and cultural amenities. In recent years, however, a burgeoning artist community has begun to arise, and this series presents an opportunity to leverage their creative talents in addressing critical community issues at the grassroots level.

Sponsor: Arts & Science Council

Arts & Science Council (ASC) serves as the designated Office of Cultural Resources for the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and six suburban towns by providing advocacy, cultural education programs, cultural planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops and trainings for the cultural community. They work to ensure “Culture For All” by combining resources from local and state government with those of the private sector to maximize community impact throughout the cultural sector.

Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga has been undergoing a massive transformation for many years, with huge public and private investments made in public art, the riverfront parkway, and downtown development and beautification. While these investments have improved the beauty and vibrancy of the city, there is an even greater potential for the arts to address the city’s most persistent challenges. With the right support, artists can play a pivotal role in moving this work forward.

Sponsor: The Chattery

The Chattery believes in enjoyable education and community collaboration, offering fun, affordable and accessible classes to the Chattanooga community. The Chattery also provides a wide variety of events, lecture series and workshops, serving as ambassadors who help cultivate and encourage community members’ passions.

Sponsor: Chattanooga WorkSpace

Chattanooga WorkSpace is a located in downtown Chattanooga and is filled with affordable studio space for artists and artisans. Operated by Chattanooga Public Markets, Inc., Chattanooga WorkSpace is home to 50 artists who are currently working in the building.


EmcArts is eager to jump into working with these organizations and communities in the coming months. We are also accepting applications for a second round of workshops, to be hosted by an additional four communities in 2019! You can find more information and application instructions on our website here, or write to Senior Program Manager Liz Dreyer.

Stay tuned for updates on ArtsFwd as these exciting new programs develop!


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