Past Projects

For over 30 years, the Kenan Institute for the Arts has been committed to promoting creative leadership and innovation in the arts through partnerships, programs and initiatives. The following list of programs and projects represent our history in exploring exciting trends, connecting with innovative arts leaders and positively impacting the public’s understanding and appreciation of the arts.

A+ School Program

A comprehensive school reform begun in 1994 that views the arts as fundamental to how teachers teach and how students learn in all subjects. 


Artists Contributing to Civic and Responsive Democracy (ACCORD) partnered young, emerging artists with local nonprofits and governmental agencies to address community needs and issues related to culture, identity and inequity.

Arts Enterprise Lab

The Kenan Institute for the Arts and the Center for Creative Economy partnered on the Arts Enterprise Lab to encourage the creative community to collaborate and develop and grow their ideas. Training and strategic coaching sessions conducted at the Creative Community Lab encouraged, mentored and developed creative enterprises. This work helped outline the pathways necessary for business development, customer identification, revenue growth, finance and marketing.

Artpreneur Awards

The Kenan Institute for the Arts led the development of the Chancellor’s Artpreneur Initiative (2017-2022), part of a shared strategic initiative of UNCSA and the Kenan Institute to catalyze arts-based community and economic development. Each year, Artpreneur of the Year Awards were given to two UNCSA alumni in support of a creative project or enterprise and Student Artpreneur Grants were awarded to graduating students to support their creative work or enterprise.

Artivate Summit

The Creative Catalyst Artivate Summit (2019-2021) was an arts-infused experience that connected artists with a vibrant and diverse community of creative leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who contribute their creative ideas, visionary leadership and novel strategies to strengthen our culture and improve the economic and social well-being of their communities.


An initiative inspired by artists and scholars who efface the lines between "the arts" and the "STEM" disciplines of science, engineering, technology and mathematics, bringing UNCSA faculty together with public school educators for seminars and creative teaching collaborations and programming.

BREATHE Faculty Professional Development at UNCSA

For UNCSA teaching artist faculty to design collaborative, multi-disciplinary summer intensive projects that would stimulate course and curriculum development within and across schools and programs at UNCSA

Community Innovation Labs

The Kenan Institute for the Arts, in partnership with The Winston-Salem Foundation and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, convened the first Community Innovation Lab in the nation in 2015.

The Lab brought together a coalition of 40 city officials, business and faith leaders, artists, academics, low-wage workers and others, who sought to address formidable local disparities using a change process deeply informed by artists and artistic practices.

The framework for the labs was developed by EmcArts of New York City with funding from the Kresge Foundation as an innovative response to complex social challenges across the United States.

Conservatory Leadership Conference

The Kenan Institute and UNCSA hosted the first national conference of conservatory leaders in 2002, with a second convening taking place in 2007. 

Creative Catalyst Certificate

The Certificate Program was an online, non-degree continuing education program that gave students and artists an opportunity to strengthen their technical, creative and leadership skills through a combination of self-directed experiential projects and assignments.

Creative Community Lab

In April 2016, the Kenan Institute opened the Creative Community Lab in an historic Railroad Building in downtown Winston-Salem. The leased facility offered programmatic, meeting and temporary work space for UNCSA faculty and staff, guest artists, community members and partner organizations that aligned with the Institute’s mission and programmatic themes.

Educational Outreach and Summer Programs

Development of a unique set of non-credit courses and workshops offered through the UNCSA Office of Educational Outreach and Summer Programs, begun in summer 2012. Courses included: those offered in partnership with nationally recognized artists and arts organizations; courses developed and taught by UNCSA alumni, while developing final performances; and directed-focus courses, addressing specific needs such as business skills for artists and teaching artist training. 

Dance Collaborations: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

An unprecedented workshop focused on collaborative and creative methods for choreographers and dancers on the campus of UNCSA in August 2011.

Dialogues: Conversations with Guest Artists

Events focusing on conversations with guest artists who visited the UNCSA campus to work directly with young artists in training, sharing their experience and knowledge of the profession from the standpoint of a working professional. 

Directors Program at UNC-TV 

A partnership with UNCSA, matched by a grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, that engaged professional directors to work with students and faculty to do live filming of campus productions for UNC-TV broadcasts, allowing students to experience the television production process with a major broadcast station.

Happy Hill Partnership

The Kenan Institute worked in partnership with the Happy Hill Neighborhood Association to present Happy Hill Arts, a place-based arts and cultural initiative in a historically African American community adjacent to the University. Additionally, in 2019, UNCSA, in partnership with the Kenan Institute and the Winston-Salem Department of Community Development, received an Our Town grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support an artist-led cultural restoration project in the Happy Hill neighborhood.

Kenan Arts Research Fellows

Through Kenan Arts Research Fellowships, the Kenan Institute facilitated inquiry, led interactions and supported initiatives that identified and tracked skills and knowledge in leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation in the arts with UNCSA students, graduates, faculty and the field. Fellowship recipients included UNCSA School of Design & Production faculty Christal Schanes and Norman Coates, and UNCSA School of Drama alumna Emily Simoness.

Kenan Writers' Encounters

A series of special events at UNCSA that brought renowned and emerging writers, artists and thinkers to innovative forums that focused on a variety of topics.


The LEAP initiative defined area resources across the campus of UNCSA and the adjoining neighborhood of Washington Park, as well as artists, to ground strategic thinking in history and current conditions and look toward innovative and extraordinary alliances for future programs and projects.

Lincoln Center Institute International Educator Workshop 

The Kenan Institute for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council (NCAC), and the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCI) presented the second southeastern regional LCI International Educator Workshop on the UNCSA campus in August 2011.

LINKS Commissioning Project

In partnership with the UNCSA School of Music, four commissioned pieces were presented in world premiere performances on campus during 2009-2010.

Magnolia Baroque Festival

A biannual festival held at UNCSA and venues in Winston-Salem, featuring world-class performers of Baroque music in glorious concerts of some of the most beloved music of all time.


A Music National Service Initiative that provided outreach opportunities for UNCSA students to take part in community-based public service projects, serving as teachers and mentors in low-performing public schools, youth centers, hospitals, and other high-need community settings.

Oklahoma! Web Series

An 8-episode web series documenting the history of Oklahoma!, alongside UNCSA's 2011 production of this landmark work in the American musical theatre repertoire.

Open Dream Ensemble

A professional outreach program which brought the power of original live performances that integrated theater, dance and music to K-8 students across the southeast.

Random Dance

Wayne McGregor/Random Dance brought the choreographic teaching tools of the multi-award winning choreographer Wayne McGregor to UNCSA. One hundred School of Dance students participated in the project and co-created choreography for the UNCSA Winter Dance Program. 

Teaching and Learning Center at UNCSA 

Working closely with the UNCSA Provost's Office, the Teaching and Learning Center was created to advance and enhance the work of UNCSA's world-class faculty with a focus on supporting engaged teaching, creative activity and research, while providing a structure for collaborative efforts between faculty members in sharing their learning experiences and research methods within different departments.

UNCSA Southeastern Regional Entertainment Technology Conference

A conference in collaboration with the UNCSA School of Design and Production, featuring Cirque du Soleil's Resident Shows Division and their business partners with demonstrations of Cirque's cutting-edge automation techniques, rigging, show operations, digital projection, wardrobe/wig/makeup and audio system.