The Real Work — New Practices for a New Era in the Arts

Richard Evans

October 31, 2012 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington St.
First Floor Garland Room

Richard Evans, President of EmcArts

Mr. Evans will present and facilitate a conversation on the importance of addressing adaptive change in this new era for the arts through innovative strategies to create public value. The conversation will center around a focus on adaptive challenges rather than technical ones, shifting our underlying assumptions, developing new organizational capacities that emphasize innovation and adaptive change, and what EmcArts has learned about innovation in the arts.

Richard Evans says: "Behind the ongoing programmatic and financial stresses being felt by arts organizations at a time of economic contraction lies a vast territory of change in the arts and culture sector as a whole. A 50-year period of arts development tied primarily to growth in the professional arts infrastructure as the measure of success is giving way to a new phase, which will emphasize active participation in the arts, co-mingling of amateur and professional pursuits, and the integration of creative work with wider community interests. 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. Engaging the future via new and imaginative responses to the hunger for meaning through the arts, organizations across the country are beginning to see that daring to risk a new approach can reveal new pathways to relevance and sustainability."

Richard Evans is the President of EmcArts Inc., the leading provider to the arts and culture sector of learning programs in the areas of innovation and adaptive capacity building. Richard directs EmcArts' programs and strategic partnerships. His recent work emphasizes innovation, organizational change, and effective ways that the arts and culture field can respond to the demands of a new era for the sector. He leads two national Innovation Labs (for the Performing Arts and for Museums) and the community-based New Pathways for the Arts Initiative, a series of locally-based innovation programs, one of which has recently started up in Chicago in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation. Richard is a frequent speaker on the relationship between cultural policy and emerging practices in the arts. For more information on Richard's work in the areas of innovation and adaptive change, visit www.ArtsFwd.organd