Postcards from New York City: 16 Creative Organizations in Action


UPDATE: We’ve just released a series of updates on these exciting projects. Click here to read more.

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.

Kicking off with this series of audio postcards, the partnership provides a unique opportunity to share learning and insights about innovation in the culture sector with other organizations, funders, and the field.  There are important new strategies being developed throughout the professional arts and culture field, but too often they remain isolated and not widely known. It is part of EmcArts’ vision to move the dialogue around innovation from the margins to the center of our discourse in the arts.

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be highlighting small groups of projects around four themes: equitable access to cultural offerings, affirming and supporting communities’ expression, better supporting artists and arts organizations, and environmental resilience.  Over the next 18 months, stay tuned to ArtsFwd to follow the stories of these 16 organizations through thematic podcasts and multimedia profiles of CIF grantees and more.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

To explore and develop creative approaches to serving local artists, community-based organizations, and audiences.

CEC ArtsLink

To launch One Big City, series of public events created collaboratively by NYC and international visiting artists engaging with and responding to NYC’s diaspora communities, presented at local cultural venues.

Casita Maria

To host Dancing in the Streets as a company in residence and work together with their community to develop a performance series illuminating the South Bronx’s cultural legacy.

Center for Urban Pedagogy

To develop a design clinic that helps community organizations to demystify and visualize complex urban issues.

Chimpanzee Productions

To bring to life NYC’s hidden visual history using  personal family photographic archives and stories through the interactive Digital Diaspora Family Reunion: One City, One Family project.


El Puente

To investigate the overlap between the creative, health and sustainability practices of their Southside Williamsburg community.

Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts

To develop a city-wide network with Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center in partnership with Arts + Community Change, Fourth Arts Block, El Museo del Barrio, El Puente, NY Chinatown History Project, Queens Museum of Art, and others.

Groundswell Community Mural Project

To partner with The Majora Carter Group for youth, artists and other community members to identify transportation-related concerns in the South Bronx and recommend design, signage and policy solutions with the Department of Transportation.

Misnomer Dance Theater

To utilize behavioral science for a stakeholder-engagement program for NYC’s performing arts organizations in partnership with strategy and marketing firm Orcasci.

National Association of Latino Independent Producers

To provide professional mentoring to New York Latino/a and Native writers, producers and directors of narrative and documentary projects to create and advance new films.

Mary Miss Studio

For a public art installation along the length of Broadway that makes the city’s sustainability initiatives tangible to citizens at street level through collaborations between the artist, scientists and the community.

New York Live Arts

The re-imagining of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop, to support a new mid-career resident artist program. The audio postcard will be available shortly.

The Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics

For their collaboration with a series of NYC arts organizations to support and train performance-based political artists to develop and share new work.


To expand, an online barter network for creative people.

Wildlife Conservation Society

To build an online forum that allows the public to develop and share their own preferred ecological climate-resilient designs for Manhattan.



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