Richard Evans:
In Memoriam

We are sad to share that EmcArts co-founder and long-time president Richard Evans has died. Richard passed away at his home in southwest France on Saturday, April 23, 2022 after battling an aggressive cancer.

EmcArts, a social enterprise for innovation and adaptive change in the arts, works to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, helping them design and manage innovation and adapt to a changing environment.

Patrick Willingham, executive director of The Public Theater and EmcArts board member stated, “I have had the great privilege of working with Richard over the past ten years, first as a program participant, then as an arts leader and finally working together as board members of EmcArts. Richard’s work has had a profound impact on me as a leader, on The Public as an institution, and on the entire arts field. Richard’s vision of building deeply adaptive practices has better prepared us to evolve as a field; his passion and leadership will be sorely missed by so many of us, especially now as the world has shifted so radically around us.”

As EmcArts president, Richard designed and implemented a sustained series of groundbreaking initiatives including the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts, Innovation Lab for Museums, New Pathways for the Arts, Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators, and ArtsFwd.org, a virtual resource designed to accelerate adaptive change as a core organizational discipline. These and other programs have engaged more than 2500 individuals, 250 organizations, and numerous communities across the United States and Canada.

Prior to founding EmcArts, Richard held a number of leadership positions in the arts and in philanthropy, including serving as co-director of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Advancement Program; chief executive of the Bath International Festival of Music & the Arts in England, and as Vice President of the National Arts Stabilization Fund, now National Arts Strategies.

Commenting on Richard’s significant legacy, board member Charlie McDermott, director of finance and operations at Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge, Mass., and formerly deputy director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council said, “My relationship with Richard goes back to 1989, when we both worked at the National Arts Stabilization Fund, launched by the Ford Foundation to invest in the managerial and financial health of arts organizations nationwide. Over the next 33 years, our working relationship took many forms, but there was always one through-line: Richard was one of the most innovative, creative leaders I have ever known. He was a visionary thinker, a voracious learner, and an extraordinarily gracious human being. I will miss him dearly.”

“Richard brought such joy and rigor to his work. He remained deeply curious, and deeply committed to an evermore resilient arts sector. I will miss him, both as a close friend and treasured colleague,” said John McCann, EmcArts co-founder and board chair.

Richard is survived by his long-time EmcArts partner and wife, Melissa Dibble, three children, two step-children, grandson and further family. More information regarding a celebration of Richard’s life and his many contributions will follow over the next several weeks.

Condolences for the family may be sent to
Melissa Dibble:

147 Chemin de Beral
Lascabanes
46800 Lendou en Quercy
France

Or mdibble@emcarts.org via email

A stateside celebration of Richard’s life will happen in October 2022 in New York City.
For more information, please contact John McCann: jmccann@partnersinperformance.us.

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