media center

Levine Museum Selected for Inaugural National Innovation Lab for Museums


January 18, 2012 — Levine Museum of the New South (NC), the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (MO) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (CA) have been selected to participate in Round 1 of the Innovation Lab for Museums - a unique incubation and prototyping program to foster programmatic and organizational innovation. Innovation Lab for Museums is presented through a partnership between the American Association of Museums' Center for the Future of Museums and EmcArts, funded by a generous $500,000 grant from MetLife Foundation.

The Innovation Lab for Museums is a four-phase program over 18 to 24 months and builds on the long-standing success of the Innovation Lab model, designed and managed by EmcArts. The Lab provides museums with facilitated support in researching, prototyping, evaluating and disseminating innovative responses to organizational challenges. As part of the program, each museum is awarded a $40,000 grant to help accelerate the prototyping of its project.

Richard Evans, President of EmcArts, comments on the first Round of the Innovation Lab for Museums: "EmcArts' national Innovation Labs provide a timely response to the rapid and unprecedented change in the operating environment for the arts. Now, more than ever, adaptive change - not just tweaking business-as-usual - is essential if organizations are to remain relevant and thrive in this new era. Our approach has proven its value to the arts field, fostering the design and testing of significant innovations that otherwise would likely not have reached the public. We are grateful for the strong support of MetLife Foundation, which has recognized the urgency and importance of this work on a national scale."

Elizabeth Merritt, Director of the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM), noted: "Museums need to innovate in order to successfully navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the 21st Century. The American Association of Museums is pleased to work with EmcArts to adapt their Innovation Lab program for museums in order to encourage experimentation and risk-taking. The lessons the Lab museums learn will benefit the museum field as a whole, and pioneer the successful strategies of the future."

Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation, comments: "MetLife Foundation is proud to continue its longstanding commitment to ensuring the vitality of the museum field. We are pleased to foster innovation and experimentation in museums through the Innovation Lab program and support projects that will engage community members in the rich landscape of American museums."

For questions or additional information, contact: Liz Dreyer, EmcArts, (212) 362.8541,; Dewey Blanton, American Association of Museums, (202) 218.7704,; or Peggy Atherlay, MetLife Foundation, (212) 578.1525,

Information about Round 2 of the Innovation Lab for Museums will be announced on EmcArts' website ( in Spring 2012.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Round 1 Levine Museum: Project Description
The Latino New South Project will begin to construct a "learning network" that brings together history museums in the southeastern U.S. Long known for its white and black racial landscape, Charlotte, NC, is now multiethnic and multicultural. Since 1990, the city's Latino population has increased from barely 1% of total population to over 11% in 2010. Immigrant integration full and meaningful inclusion in community life is a major nationwide challenge that is especially keen in the South. Levine Museum will use its skilled staff, experienced board and active community partners to begin forging links with museums in Atlanta and Birmingham. The aim is for Latino communities to become full partners with museums in the work of community-building.

« Back