About Us

Mission:

The Emmaus Creative Arts & Innovation Center mission is to create a thriving intergenerational arts community in Emmaus PA.

Vision:

To stimulate and encourage a thriving creative economy and inclusive community through an arts/innovation center that provides cross generational traditional and emerging arts education center, supports the business aspects of the arts and offers hands on experiences, MakerSpace and resources to foster collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship in the visual, performing and culinary arts.

Press Release – 10/7/19 7:00pm

Emmaus Creative Arts & Innovation Center Being Established in Emmaus

Center to be located in renovated warehouse at Phoebe’s Chestnut Ridge at Rodale

Contact: Joyce Marin, Marin Consulting, 917-288-3936, jkmarin@ptd.net

A diverse team of friends and neighbors passionate about arts and innovation has come together and crafted a dynamic vision to make magic and creativity happen in Emmaus. In early 2019 the group incorporated a PA charitable organization and in August received 501(c)3 non-profit status from the IRS for their project, known as the Emmaus Creative Arts & Innovation Center (ECAIC). With the vision of stimulating and encouraging a thriving creative economy and inclusive community that fosters collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship, the center will provide cross generational, traditional, and emerging arts education, support the business aspect of the arts, and offer hands on experiences to community members.  Maker, instruction, and studio space, as well as other resources will be available to artists, inventors, and innovators.

An experienced executive team has been assembled to form, establish, and operate the ECAIC.  Led by James R. Baker, a local investment advisor, the team also includes local attorney, Audrey Gardner Racines; CPA, Chris Basile; John Oetting, an inventor Makerspace and innovation advisor;  Jo-Ann Pendleton, an interior designer and vocalist; and experienced non-profit executive Julie Thomases.  Joyce Marin of Marin Consulting has been providing the board professional services in non-profit strategic management.

The ECAIC executive team has assembled over 40 interested stakeholders and kicked off Phase 1 of this project. They are partnering with Phoebe Ministries, who has made available the use of the 35,000 square foot vacant warehouse building on South 10th Street in Emmaus, located directly across from Phoebe’s new senior living community, Chestnut Ridge at Rodale. Located in an attractive, natural setting adjacent to Furnace Dam Park, the warehouse property is within walking distance to dense residential neighborhoods and Emmaus High School. 

Scott Stevenson, CEO of Phoebe Ministries shared, “We are thrilled to be a partner of ECAIC. The Borough of Emmaus has embraced Phoebe and our new community, Chestnut Ridge at Rodale, just as we are eager to embrace the vision of the Creative Arts and Innovation Center. The programmatic aspects at the Center will allow for our future residents to be engaged in new and exciting ways, both within their own community and the greater community.”

When asked to reflect upon the creation of the ECAIC, James R. Baker, President of the board of directors, says, “From the beginning, I’ve been amazed at the immediate enthusiasm and support from the greater Emmaus community for the idea of an Arts & Innovation center.  Everyone I’ve talked to in meetings and one on one has not only liked the vision but has offered their own ideas to make it even better, and I’ve listened.  I’ve wanted this to be a community collaboration and I got my wish!  For me the most important aspect of this project is the goal of inclusion.  Everyone is going to be welcomed to the Center and have opportunities to experience the creative arts.”

Audrey Racines[1] , local attorney and Vice President of the ECAIC board of directors, says, “Emmaus is a great place to live. Although I’ve always known that, for many years I thought Emmaus lacked two things to make it perfect:  1) a high-end senior living community, and 2) a multifaceted arts center.  I was so happy to learn last year that Phoebe was taking care of the first of my wishes.  Now, I am doubly grateful and very excited that Phoebe is helping to make possible the Emmaus Creative Arts & Innovation Center.”

The Emmaus Creative Arts and Innovation Center envisions resources to the community including space for arts instruction and pop up artist gallery space, rehearsal, instruction and collaboration space for performing artists such as musicians and dancers, a black box theatre, a culinary arts/local farm connection including a shared use commercial kitchen, and Maker spaces for the creation of both soft, hard and digitally fabricated items.  ECAIC will address the needs of all ages in providing cross-generational opportunities during the after school, weekend and summer time frames. 

An important aspect of the Center will be the programming.  Films, lectures, discussions, and performances will be scheduled in alignment with changing themes, creating dynamic synergistic opportunities.  Additionally, the project will function as a collaborative space for entrepreneurs, existing businesses, and other mission-aligned non-profits.  The multi-faceted environment provided by the center hopes to encourage interactions and collaborations between and across program areas resulting in an explosion of art and creativity.  The breadth and depth of programs housed under one roof is unique both within the Lehigh Valley and the Northeast region of the nation.

The committee has launched its capital campaign to renovate the building and is in the process of designating use of the space. The board is planning public engagement where citizens can weigh in on the project to ensure that the project meets the needs of the community. As the board and stakeholders are in the process of securing funding, they are also exploring partnerships with other organizations, individuals, businesses and government entities.  Individuals interested in more information on volunteering, donating or serving on a committee can go to the ECAIC website at  emmauscreates.org

Endorsements:

“The East Penn School District is proud to support and collaborate with the Emmaus Creative Arts & Innovation Center (ECAIC).   It is our hope that our students can bring their passions and ideas in collaboration with the greater community in Emmaus. These meaningful authentic experiences are priceless for our students. The ECAIC provides us with the means and the opportunity.”

East Penn School District Administration

“The Borough of Emmaus is very supportive of this project. It’s a great reuse of an under-used building.  We see tremendous potential for this project to support arts and innovation to Emmaus.”

Shane Pepe – Emmaus Borough Manager

“The Lehigh Valley will benefit greatly when its independent performing artists have more accessible, professional, and affordable rehearsal-and-presentation space than is currently available…the Emmaus Creative Arts and Innovation Center will also serve to fill somewhat of a (theater) void that exists today in the fast growing western and southwestern municipalities of the Lehigh Valley.  The specific missions of these independent artists are often those of creating and presenting new works on a variety of culturally and socially significant issues of our time.”

Ara Barlieb – Producer & Director of Crowded Kitchen Players

“The Da Vinci Science Center supports the efforts of the Emmaus Community Art and Innovation Center and looks forward to exploring opportunities to collaborate on STEAM Education programming as the project moves forward.”

Lin EricksonExecutive Director & CEO of Da Vinci Science Center

Vision:

The ECAIC’s vision is to stimulate and encourage a thriving creative economy and inclusive community through the development of an arts and innovation center, fostering collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship in the visual, performing and culinary arts. The center will provide cross generational, traditional and emerging arts education, support the business aspect of the arts, and offer hands on experiences to community members.  Maker, instruction and studio space and other resources will be available to artists, inventors and innovators.

Mission:

The mission of the ECAIC is to create a thriving intergenerational arts community.

The Emmaus Creative Arts & Innovation Center envisions:

1) Visual arts: space for arts instruction and pop up artist gallery space for rotating exhibits and sales and private artist studios

2) Performing arts:  rehearsal, instruction and collaboration space for performing artists such as musicians and dancers, a black box theatre for instruction, practice and performances, areas for music instruction, practice and performance and an audio/video/film/photo recording studio.  Collaborative and instructional space for writers and poets will be provided. 

3) Culinary arts/local farm connection: a cafe, a food court of local artisan food vendors, indoor sales space for food items, food hub to connect local farms to institutional food buyers; and shared use commercial kitchen to support emerging food entrepreneurs in the area, including commissary support for local food trucks.

4) Maker spaces:  space and tools for the creation of both soft and hard fabricated items.  Maker spaces will provide equipment for the making of items and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, develop prototypes and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to most individuals.  Materials technologies, such as computer-controlled manufacturing, 3D printing, laser/plasma cutting and digital technologies such as AR/VR (Augmented and Virtual Reality), digital animation and MOCAP (Motion Capture) will provide unique opportunities, connections and academic research opportunities


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