“ArtsEmerson has not only filled a void in the cultural ecosystem with new work, it has also emerged as a model of how to do the internal, uncomfortable work of attempting to reform systemic inequalities in the arts.”

-Maria Garcia, WBUR

Our Story

Making Boston Better

ArtsEmerson is the professional presenting and producing organization at Emerson College, based in the heart of downtown Boston. Founded in 2010—the year the U.S. Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston—we set out to foster positive change in Boston, a historically segregated city. We did not see that change as a byproduct of the work, but as the purpose, and an opportunity to tear down traditional cultural divisions and invest in a vibrant, connected city.

Our first seasons focused on building a world-class cultural institution and forging a reputation for artistic excellence. Within two years Boston Magazine named ArtsEmerson “Boston’s Best Theater.”

Expanding our focus to include civic engagement, we set out to become an effective partner in our city’s efforts to promote social cohesion. When naming ArtsEmerson “Boston’s Best Theater” again in 2015, Boston Magazine wrote, “Most impressive, ArtsEmerson realizes its global vision while remaining audience-focused and community-centric.”

Every season since then, we’ve worked to build diverse audiences that reflect Boston as a whole. While borders and isolation may try to separate, art and conversation can connect. Through the lens of contemporary works from around the globe, audiences throughout the city are inspired to reflect on what’s happening here at home and in the larger world, to step into someone else’s shoes, and engage with questions of equity and justice.

Our globe-spanning season of performances, film, and dialogue invites each of us to be part of a Boston that is more creative, equitable, and connected.

“ArtsEmerson is the lifeblood for the city of Boston. They have profoundly changed the architecture about how work gets produced and showcased here, in this city I call home.”

— MELINDA LOPEZ, PLAYWRIGHT & ACTOR

“A thriving world, for us, is one where each of us has the equal opportunity to achieve our fullest potential. To dream, to build, to fly.”

— DAVID DOWER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

“The performance is Act 1. The conversations that we have following each performance is Act 2. The way we carry the ideas into the world is Act 3.”

— ArtsEmerson Staff Member

NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERSHIPS

With the help of 70+ partners in neighborhoods across Boston, ArtsEmerson is strengthening connections and magnifying our impact.