New Pathways | Houston


Announcing New Pathways for the Arts | Houston

EmcArts, alongside the Houston Arts Alliance, proudly announces the launch of New Pathways for the Arts | Houston, a multi-year program geared to strengthen Houston’s distinct arts organizations by investing in adaptive change efforts.

New Pathways for the Arts celebrates and advances organizational innovations as responses to complex challenges during times of rapid change in both the arts and nonprofit sectors. “HAA’s multi-year Capitalization Program aims to allow organizations the freedom, through funding and expertise, to examine more closely the ways they do business, to challenge long-held organizational assumptions, and potentially to shift away from what others are doing in the field in an effort to test new ideas,” states Richard Graber, Houston Arts Alliance’s Director of Grants and Capacity Building. “In this ever-changing sector and world, arts and cultural organizations must be adaptable to meet challenges.”

New Pathways for the Arts | Houston will integrate a wide range of learning activities and financial investments as activities escalate from micro to macro-level experimentation. The initial cohort of sixteen organizations will learn about building financial and adaptive leadership capacity through group workshops, forums, coaching, individual organizational facilitation, and tiered capital investment. 

New Pathways for the Arts | Houston is supported by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), with generous change capital funding from the Houston Endowment.  The HAA will put $150,000 toward an original New Pathways design for the region’s diverse arts and culture sector. The program includes facilitation work by EmcArts experts, program-related micro-grants to support “small experiments with radical intent”, project grants to bolster prototyping efforts for substantial new strategies, and access to larger capital grants for qualifying applicants.
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Program design
The components of the program include:
  • A sequence of six workshops and three participant-led Innovation Forums,
  • The choice for each organization to apply for either On-site Coaching to support experimentation (with a $2,000 micro-grant) or a year-long, individually facilitated deep dive process to incubate a specific, larger-scale innovation initiative (with a $20,000 prototyping grant); and
  • The opportunity to apply for capital grants to support the scaling of those projects which bear the possibility of long-term, transformative impacts.

Says EmcArts President, Richard Evans: “We are tremendously excited to extend our national network of New Pathways communities to serve the Houston arts and culture sector.  We live in a time of great turbulence and rapid change for the arts, and it is the organizations that put a strong emphasis on adaptive change and innovation that will thrive in the future.  The Houston Arts Alliance is a leader in this work and we are delighted to partner with HAA in this vital endeavor.  With inspired support from the Houston Endowment, HAA has recognized that resilience in the arts community can only be advanced by combining two strategies: strategic financial investment over time to support new ways of creating public value, and investing in human capital to strengthen the adaptive “muscles” of funded organizations.”

New Pathways | Houston program participants
Aurora Picture Show
Dance Source Houston
Express Children's Theatre
Houston Boychoir
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston Chamber Choir
Houston Metropolitan Dance Center
Magpies and Peacocks
Project Row Houses
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO)
Fresh Arts
University of Houston-Downtown
Writers in the Schools