New Resources on Audience and Community Engagement

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s Connectivity program connects board, staff, and audience members to foster a sense of artistic ownership in its community. Image: Ted Eytan.

Over the course of ten years, the EmcArts Innovation Labs for the Performing Arts and Innovation Labs for Arts Development Agencies created spaces to support arts organizations as they navigated their most pressing, complex challenges, and built cultures that embrace change.

These programs were made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, under the auspices of their Audience and Community Engagement program. Other organizations supported by this program include Dance/USA, Theatre Communications Group, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, and the National Performance Network.

Now, we are excited to share a set of six articles by Anne Dunning of Arts Action Research, examining the long-term impacts of these programs and presenting overarching themes and questions for further consideration.


  1. “The Paradigm Shifting Power of Audience Building/Community Engagement”
  2. “Practices Building/Community Engagement Practices as Change Agents”
  3. “Effective Mindsets for Audience Building/Community Engagement”
  4. “Best Practices for Funding Audience Building/Community Engagement”
  5. “Evaluating and Disseminating Audience Building/Community Engagement Results”
  6. “Field Building Activities in Audience Building/Community Engagement”

EmcArts and Innovation Lab participants are featured several of these articles. In particular, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is profiled in article #2. Woolly Mammoth was a participant in the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts, and you can read more about their innovation process, including a detailed case study, on ArtsFwd here.

We want to thank Anne and our friends at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for bringing these articles to life, and we look forward to some great discussions about the issues and questions they present!

Ben Sachs-Hamilton is the External Relations Coordinator at EmcArts.