Somewhere Becoming Rain: Adaptive Change is the Future of the Arts

To our ArtsFwd readers:

I am delighted to present to you Somewhere Becoming Rain: Adaptive Change is the Future of the ArtsThis monograph reflects on EmcArts’ experience of designing and implementing national Innovation Labs for the Arts over the last 10 years. With each round, the Labs increasingly focused, not only on generating, designing and testing a specific innovative response to a major persistent challenge facing each organization, but also on strengthening the underlying muscles each organization needed to flex whenever it found the need to diverge from its “business-as-usual” activities and sustain a new approach – the adaptive capacity that few organizations have in the past been encouraged to develop.

Today, the design principles, structures and activities of the Innovation Labs live on in other forms.  At EmcArts, they form the core of our place-based program New Pathways for the Arts (to date, over 250 organizations have participated in the New Pathways initiative as a whole); Our Community Innovation Labs also make use of what we’ve learned about Incubating Innovation in the service of systemic change in response to complex community challenges; We’re also applying these insights to work with single organizations and, through our leadership program Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators (ALACI), to building the adaptive skills of a generation of rising influencers in the field.

We hope the paper will stir up dialogue across the arts field, nationally and internationally, about the nature of change that’s now going on. We hope it will spur adaptive leaders in the field–board members, artistic directors, executives, and both public and private funders, who know the future will look very different from the past–to be bold in their efforts to advance the public value of their grantees and the arts sector as a whole.

Looking to the future,



Richard Evans
EmcArts President

Richard Evans is the President Emeritus of EmcArts, where he directs program design, research, and strategic partnerships that place a particular emphasis on innovation, adaptive organization change, and effective ways that the arts and culture field can respond to the demands of a new era.