EmcArts receives $1.5 million from Kresge Foundation for Community Innovation Labs

EmcArts announced recently that its Community Innovation Labs program was selected to receive a grant of $1.5 million from the Kresge Foundation. The grant will support the completion of EmcArts’ two pilot Community Innovation Labs, launched in 2015 in Winston-Salem, NC and Providence, RI, and the launch of two additional Labs in communities across the United States, in order to build local capacity to take on complex social challenges by integrating the arts into a rigorous process framework. With this grant from Kresge, along with local funders and conveners, EmcArts commits to a two-year investment in the Winston-Salem community totaling $1 million.

The Winston-Salem Lab was convened by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, and The Winston-Salem Foundation. Core questions of the Lab, which addresses a strategic goal of the UNC School of the Arts in community development, include: How can we create a more equitable and abundant Winston-Salem? How can we move systems of race, class and power to do so? How can we, as a community, build enough trust to enable transformative change to happen?

The Winston-Salem Lab has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders including city agencies, community organizers, business leaders, artists, cultural organizations, faith-based organizations, and nonprofit service providers, to begin to address inequities in employment, income, and wealth in the city.  For more information about the origins and design of EmcArts Labs visit here and for more information on the existing pilot sites click here.

"We are proud to fund the Community Innovation Labs in multiple American cities," said Regina Smith, Interim Managing Director of Arts & Culture at the Kresge Foundation. "We are invested in interdisciplinary, cross-sector programs that help communities address intractable problems, disrupt systemic barriers, and tangibly improve their economic and cultural outcomes. The Community Innovation Labs, with their focus on artistic integration, systems change, local relevance and courageous innovation, are aligned with these goals. We're thrilled to support EmcArts and our local Lab partners in this important work and urge the larger philanthropic community to join us in funding this critical initiative."

Corey Madden, Executive Director of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, said: “We are thrilled that EmcArts received this generous grant from the Kresge Foundation to support the completion of our Community Innovation Lab in Winston-Salem.” 

“Our collaboration with The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and the Winston-Salem Foundation, as well as a diverse selection of key stakeholders in our community, is turning out to be even more exciting than anticipated.” Madden noted. Together, we are creating innovative strategies that will effect positive change in our city.”

About EmcArts

EmcArts logoEmcArts is a nationally recognized service organization for innovation and adaptive change. EmcArts works alongside people, organizations, and communities as they take on their most complex challenges. Through their rigorously designed and facilitated workshops, coaching, and intensive labs, EmcArts creates the space and conditions to test innovative strategies and build cultures that embrace change. Their practice is deeply influenced by the artistic process, which has a unique power to unlock entrenched assumptions and open up new ways of seeing.

About the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts

The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts is a creative catalyst at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts that encourages and supports the exploration and development of new knowledge to transform the way artists, organizations, and communities approach their creative challenges.

About the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

The robust arts community in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County enriches the lives of area residents every day and accounts in large part for the recognition the city and county continue to receive as a great place to live, learn, work and play. The Arts Council raises funds and advocates for the arts, sponsors events in conjunction with other arts organizations, promotes and funds arts education, creates cultural and learning opportunities, develops social capital and aids economic development. For more information visit intothearts.org.

About the Winston-Salem Foundation

The Winston-Salem Foundation is a community foundation that supports charitable programs in the greater Forsyth County area. Founded in 1919 with a $1,000 gift, it now administers approximately 1,300 funds and had total custodial assets of $384.3 million at the end of 2014. In 2014, the Foundation granted $24.8 million to charitable causes, over $2 million of which was through the Community Grants program. Learn more at www.wsfoundation.org.

Please visit this link to read the press release from EmcArts regarding this announcement.

February 17, 2016