Upcoming Workshops and Events – Spring 2016


This spring, EmcArts will be back on the road with workshops and talks about innovation and adaptive change, creative placemaking, community development, and systems change.

We’re proud to share our upcoming partnerships and collaborations with ArtPlace America, the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s (LISC) national Creative Placemaking Initiative. (More details below). Our President, Richard Evans, will be conducting a hands-on workshop about our local, arts-integrated Community Innovation Labs at the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Conference in May 2016 as well.

Read more about our events below. You can also follow us on Twitter at @ArtsFwd and @EmcArts, and like us on Facebook to keep up with updates on our talks, events and service offerings.



Wednesday, March 2nd: ArtPlace Webinar for CDI Grantees

Richard Evans and Lyz Crane, Deputy Director of ArtPlace America will co-present a webinar on adaptive capacity, organizational and systems change for ArtPlace’s Community Development Investments (CDI) grantees. (See the grantees list here).

As CDI grantees begin to move from concepting to planning to action in their communities, working in new ways with their partners, it will be particularly important to understand the dynamics of the organizational change required. It’s very hard to do things differently – to innovate and adapt – based on old ways and purely incremental improvement, or on existing structures and mindsets. To sustain new approaches requires building capacity, rethinking business structures, and managing personal exposure and uncertainty.

In this webinar for CDI grantees, Richard Evans will provide practical information and guidance on organizational change (from designing adaptive responses to complex challenges, to recognizing organizational assets, to developing adaptive capacity) and on the professional and emotional stresses that change can entail.

Read more about ArtPlace’s Community Development Investments (CDI) program here.


Wednesday, March 9th in Grand Rapids, MI: Strategic Leadership Series at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy
4:00pm – 6:00pm

At: Grand Rapids Art Museum
101 Monroe Center Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Social Innovation and Creative Placemaking

Presented by Richard Evans, President, EmcArts Inc.

Public Talk: The Real Work – New Practices for a New Era

Behind the ongoing programmatic and financial stresses being felt by nonprofit organizations at a time of economic uncertainty lies a vast territory of change in the sector as a whole.  This means practitioners of all stripes unlearning a lot of things we have taken for granted, surfacing new assumptions to drive new thinking, and doing things differently across the board.  Organizational innovation is challenging in a resource-strapped sector, but is now essential if field leaders are to successfully re-orient themselves to this new era. Fortunately, innovation can be systematized as a new organizational discipline, one that brings our best thinking together across traditional organizational and sector boundaries, and helps us make competitive use of our creative assets.  Organizations across the United States are beginning to see that daring to risk a new approach can reveal new pathways to relevance and sustainability.

More session and conference details here.


Monday, May 2nd in Minneapolis, MN: GEO 2016 National Conference

At: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

A Breakthrough New Approach to Collaborative System Change: Community Innovation Labs

Traditional approaches to civic problem solving have not increased the pace of social progress and often reinforce existing power dynamics.  Communities need unconventional approaches that bring multiple viewpoints together to discover and develop new ways to intervene systemically, and grantmakers need to know how to support these approaches. In 2015, representatives from city agencies, cultural organizations, nonprofit service providers, artists and business leaders in two cities — Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Providence, Rhode Island — began piloting the Community Innovation Lab framework to help solve complex systemic challenges around economic inequality and community well-being.  More Labs are beginning in 2016.  One novel feature of the Labs is the integration of artists and artistic processes into the change methodologies as a unique way to reframe challenges and explore new thinking.  This workshop introduces the five stages of the Lab framework and offers a deeper dive into the first stage – a process to recruit and nurture local champions.  You will use a framework to identify and explore complex challenges, complete a hands-on activity that demonstrates how to identify champions, and learn about how artists can contribute uniquely to the change process.  You will have space to reflect on how a similar framework might be co-designed in your community.

Read more about the GEO session on their conference page here, and more about our Community Innovation Labs program here.


April, May, June 2016: LISC’s National Creative Placemaking Initiative

EmcArts is proud to be partnering with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC’s) National Creative Placemaking Initiative to offer a series of capacity-building workshops in nine cities across the U.S in April, May and June 2016. Our series of one-day workshops will be offered to LISC staff and local partners, and will help build skills and competencies in their local networks to meaningfully navigate complex problems in their creative placemaking and community change work.

Our capacity-building workshops will emphasize different content and skills based on local needs and contexts, but overall, they will support LISC leaders in managing adaptive changes demanded by their work and in building stronger networks and connections in order to change local systems for the long haul.

We will be partnering with LISC in these nine cities this spring and summer.

  • Boston
  • Rhode Island
  • Twin Cities
  • Chicago
  • Kansas City
  • Indianapolis
  • Cincinnati
  • Toledo
  • Philadelphia
  • Two-day Creative Placemaking Convening in the summer

Follow us on Twitter at @ArtsFwd and @EmcArts, and like us on Facebook to keep up to speed on what we’re doing in our workshops.


Nayantara Sen is the former Communications Manager at EmcArts.