Inspiring Short Films: NYC Arts Organizations Enriching Their Communities

7 short documentaries about New York City cultural institutions feature their projects from the Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund.

We’re pleased to announce that the Rockefeller Foundation has provided funding to EmcArts to document the work of 16 New York City cultural institutions ranging from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to the Center for Urban Pedagogy as they implement their 2011 Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund (CIF) awards. Each unique organization received a grant of up to $250,000 to develop a project that enriches neighborhoods, ignites communities, inspires with new artistic work, or builds a better future through art and design in New York City.

Today, EmcArts’s project concludes with the release of seven documentary videos and in-­depth written profiles featuring selected grantees, which capture learning and insights from their two-­year projects. These videos are housed in our Innovation Stories collection and build on previous documentation, including a series of audio postcards introducing each of the projects, blog posts with updates on each of the projects, and podcasts featuring the grantees. The cohort also convened in the fall of 2012 to learn from each other. Overall, the partnership provided a unique opportunity to share learning and insights about innovation in the culture sector with other organizations, funders, and the field.

BAMPLAYBrooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
The BAM Fisher Building: A Community Arts Center for the 21st Century

BAM planned and piloted programs for their new facility, BAM Fisher, to connect with Brooklyn’s creative community.



Casita Maria and Dancing in the Streets
Dancing at Casita: South Bronx Culture Trail

Working together, Casita Maria and Dancing in the Streets are investigating the artistic legacy of the South Bronx.


ChimpanzeePLAYChimpanzee Productions
Digital Diaspora Family Reunion

Chimpanzee Productions created a touring multimedia event and online portal to share hidden history contained in family photo albums.


CUPPLAYCenter for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
Public Access Design

Public Access Design is a rapid response design clinic that provides community social justice organizations with grass-roots organizing tools.



StreetWise: Hunts Point

Groundswell engaged local youth, artists, and community members in a series of community mural-making projects to identify local traffic and safety issues.



OurGoods undertook capacity-building initiatives to attract new users, match the diversity of barter requests, and improve its website.



Wildlife Conservation Society
Mannahatta 2409

Mannahatta 2409 invites the public to develop and share their own ecological designs for the future of Manhattan.


Download the Press Release (PDF)

Visit our Innovation Stories collection

Karina Mangu-Ward is the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at EmcArts.