Arts Innovation

What is arts innovation?

We often hear that “art imitates life” – but what exists beyond imitation? When artists create or perform, they have the ability to evoke emotion and transport audiences to another world – but when artists use their creativity to transform systems, design solutions, and unlock new ways to collaborate and build trust, that is when an artist goes from an imitator, to an innovator. Arts Innovation is the ability to leverage artistic skill across disciplines and sectors to reimagine how form and function can interact and make our world more healthy & whole. Arts Innovation combines the power of design with the mindset of an artist to unlock potential and create the future.

Where is the impact?

Transformation In Practice

When we ask questions like:

  • How can the arts experiences improve and foster better physical/mental health?
  • How can the arts help to illuminate diverse narratives?
  • How can the arts connect us the creative industry and unlock human potential?

…we start to realize the power of various artistic medium and begin to apply artistic practices in unexpected ways.

2021 Arts Innovation Award Recipient

The Mount Vernon School was recently awarded the 2021 Arts Innovation Award by the Arts Schools Network

Unleashing the power of Arts Innovation can look like:

  • Using creative movement/mindfulness to help students regulate and improve their own mental/physical wellness.
  • Engaging in kinesthetic activities like jewelry-making, ceramics, fashion/fibers to reduce anxiety and improve focus.
  • Real-time collaboration through mural-making or set design.
  • Improving non-verbal communication through improv comedy or music making.
  • Amplifying influence through recording podcasts and building a brand.
  • Visualizing data and ideas through graphic design and filmmaking.
  • Building empathy and understanding through immersive experiences like virtual reality.
  • Apprenticeships with real world artists to learning alongside experts in their field.
  • Exploring various time periods and identities through plays, poems, and performance art.


Hear the power of the Arts in Inter/Transdisciplinary work and how it can act as a content accelerator and real-world connector.


Learn more about mindfulness and the arts and how it can support student emotional regulation, mental health and even sports performance.


Explore how the arts can be leveraged for exploring cultural identity, a vehicle for trauma-informed care and a healer for racial trauma.

MV Case Study

A Hipsummer Night’s Dream

Sixteen Mount Vernon students in high school traveled to Scotland to perform at the world’s largest theatre festival, The Edinburgh Fringe, August 5 – 10, 2022. The award winning theatre group, The MV Allstars, performed “A Hipsummer Night’s Dream” as part of the American High School Theatre Festival.

For three weeks in August, the city of Edinburgh welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. Artists and performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows in every genre. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters to everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

“It is a true honor to be invited to perform at the 2022 Fringe Festival. Our program has grown tremendously in size and scope since I came to Mount Vernon over 10 years ago – it’s exciting to see the students shine so brightly on the global stage.” said Clark Taylor, Upper School Theatre Director.

The invitation came due to the group’s innovative production of The Tempest in 2021. At the height of the pandemic, Taylor produced a fully-masked, outdoor performance on Mount Vernon’s Upper Campus in Sandy Springs. The masks were created in the style of Commedia Dell’arte covering students’ entire faces, allowing actors to focus on the importance of physicality in storytelling. Students pre-recorded their vocal performances in Mount Vernon’s state of the art recording studio. The outdoor amphitheater space offered a natural setting enhanced with additional lighting, sound, and set.

This successful persistence of artistic creation in spite of any obstacle was noted by The American High School Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe, which live-streamed the performance in Scotland in 2020. There was no in-person attendance at the festival in 2021; the long-awaited in-person experience was a testament to the MV All-Stars innovative approach to high school theatre.

The Mount Vernon theatre troupe known as “MV All-Stars” performed an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “A Hipsummer Night’s Dream”, adapted, composed and produced by Clark Taylor in 2017, sets the entire play to music of nearly every genre, demanding non-stop energy and inviting engagement for a broader audience. This performance required a heightened level of dedication from staff and students to utilize the final weeks of summer to prepare a full-length performance to be packed, transported, and rebuilt on the international stage.

External Case Study

The Darlington School

Over the course of a six-month consulting partnership, MV Ventures expert and Chief Talent & Experience Officer, Matt Neylon, worked with administration and teachers from The Darlington School to innovate the arts program and implement new arts learning initiatives. The project included a full-day site visit, stakeholder meetings & program analysis, program/event solutions, and monthly coaching calls for the school’s arts director. This customized approach allowed the school to implement innovative solutions that matched their unique mission and goals. Arts Innovation does not look the same for every school, so solutions that mesh with the fabric of the culture and build on organizational strengths is essential.

How do I get Started?

Excited? Curious? Overwhelmed? Check out these step-by-step resources to guide you along your Arts Innovation journey.


Want more information on arts innovation?  Let us know where you are on your journey.  Transformation needs a guide.  We can help. 

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Learn More About Our Arts Integration + Innovation: Field Studies

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