EmcArts, devoted to the discipline of adaptive changemaking for over 20 years, is a social enterprise that works alongside leaders, organizations, and communities across the US and Canada as they take on their most complex challenges.

Since 2005, EmcArts has helped 2,500 leaders, 250 organizations, and dozens of communities transform their practices, navigate uncertainty, and create new value.

The Story of EmcArts
Founded over 20 years ago, EmcArts has evolved in phases that resemble the stages of innovation it sees in cultural organizations. In 1999, Richard Evans and John McCann founded Emc.Arts LLC as a consulting firm focused on organizational change. In 2005 we reincorporated as a nonprofit with the aim of systematizing innovation and adaptive change in the arts and culture field. In 2014, EmcArts turned its attention to the social sector, creating the Community Innovation Labs to advance innovative responses to community challenges through the arts. With our Adaptive Leaders as Cultural Innovators program, we also took on the urgent need to advance the adaptive leadership skills of the next generation of field influencers.

Post-pandemic, we have adaptively re-imagined our programs to scale up our reach and to partner throughout the United States and Canada, at a time when the call for sector-wide re-invention and adaptive thinking is of paramount importance. Building on our 20-year track record, programs for 2021 offer structured community dialogue linked to online engagement sessions for shared learning. All our programs strengthen the capacity of leaders, organizations and communities to adapt and innovate. Others offer technical advice and leave you to get on with it. Our process facilitators work alongside you as you tackle your most complex challenges, supporting you on journeys into new and once unimaginable futures.

A world where individuals, organizations, and communities are equipped to respond to their most complex challenges through collaboration, experimentation and artistic practices.


  • To build local capacity for innovation and adaptive change in the arts and social sector
  • To create the space and conditions for our partners to take on complex challenges
  • To deeply integrate artists and artistic practices into change efforts


  • Innovation is primarily a process, not a product, fueled by discipline, focus, and a strong will for change. It requires letting go of what is no longer useful and experimenting your way forward. This is difficult and vulnerable work.
  • Artistic experiences help us learn to navigate the tension between thinking and feeling, both of which are required to respond to complex challenges.
  • Highly effective teams bring together people with many points of view and engage those differences.
  • Lasting change occurs when you do real work in tandem with rigorous reflection, and support it with strategic financial investment.
  • Communities that learn together have more power to shape the future than any one person or organization working alone.

Learn About Vision

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