“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 this historically segregated city. We did not see this change as a byproduct of the work, but rather, as the primary purpose. ArtsEmerson aims to tear down traditional cultural divisions and invest in a vibrant, connected Boston.

Our initial seasons focused on building a world-class cultural institution, raising awareness of our existence and work, and forging a reputation for artistic excellence. In 2013 we expanded our focus through a variety of civic engagement activities, setting out to become an effective partner in Boston’s efforts to foster social cohesion.

ArtsEmerson was first named “Boston’s Best Theater” by Boston Magazine following its 2012/13 season. 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.” In 2019 WBUR recognized ArtsEmerson as a “A Model For Equity In The Arts”, stating, “From its inception, ArtsEmerson has instituted programs at the intersection of civic dialogue and artistic exploration that have expanded its audience and engaged communities that arts organizations have historically ignored.”

Since then, we have worked to build diverse audiences that reflect Boston as a whole. While borders, intolerance, and isolation may try to separate, art and conversation connects people over differences. 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. In this way, we all step into someone else’s shoes and engage with questions of equity and justice.

Our globe-spanning theatrical performances, films, and public dialogues invites each of us to be part of a Boston that is more creative, equitable, and connected. We hope that you will join us.

Where Boston Connects

“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.”


“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.”


“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


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