Artistic Director Craig Harris and Interference Arts engage with communities using the arts as a central feature and resource to address community challenges and to assist in realizing community goals and vision. Work in this arena is rooted in the beliefs that arts-focused community development creates healthy and sustainable community ecologies, and that communities need to engage with the arts, artists, and creative literacy to effectively address 21st Century local and global challenges.

This work has included managing and consulting on strategic and operational planning, program and organizational development, conference and festival direction, feasibility studies, and leadership cultivation initiatives for local, national and international projects, including such clients as Artspace Projects; University of Michigan Center for Performing Arts and Technology; School of Music at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Center for Art, Media, and Technology in Utrecht, Holland; The Banff Center for the Arts; Red Eye Collaboration Theater; Arts Center of Saint Peter.

The following provides a brief survey of some of the activities relating to nonprofit arts leadership and arts-based community development. More details about some of these projects will become available over the coming months.

The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST)

Facilitated enhanced international networking and collaborations in the emerging media arts field; successfully managed organizational development to increase capacity; co-produced annual festivals and conferences; preserved the twenty-five year old arts, science and technology field journal Leonardo by establishing a long term comprehensive publishing collaboration with MIT Press; launched significant new Leonardo Book Series; founded one of the Internet’s first web-based journal, Leonardo Electronic Almanac.


The International Computer Music Association (ICMA)

Facilitated enhanced international networking and collaborations in the emerging digital music field; collaborated to produce annual festivals and conferences; developed academic and creative publishing activities and resources for electronic communications across diverse disciplinary fields.


The Playwrights Center

Increased organizational capacity to deliver its programs to serve national and international constituencies as a premiere play development center; facilitated leadership transition.


Ballet of the Dolls & the Ritz Theater Foundation


Ritz Lit Sign and Lanterns

In 1998 Artistic Director Craig Harris became involved in an arts-based community development initiative in Northeast Minneapolis, focused on the redevelopment of the Ritz Theater as a multi-use performance venue, and on the transformation of Sheridan neighborhood’s 13th Avenue district into a creative and valued destination.

The Minneapolis-based dance theater company – Ballet of the Dolls – wanted to establish a permanent home for the company to rehearse and perform, and identified the Ritz Theater in the Sheridan Neighborhood of Minneapolis as a viable setting. The Ritz Theater was a 900-seat movie theater that had been closed since 1982, and was in a state of deterioration, adding to neighborhood blight and crime, and inhibiting community development. Northeast Minneapolis was in a state of transition, with great potential and experiencing some challenges inhibiting its emergence.

Craig Harris led the initiative to redevelop the theater, and was deeply involved in this artistic and community development initiative. He built the company’s infrastructure and capacity, created strong relationships within the neighborhood and with government officials, helped to raise $2.2 million, managed the renovation of the theater, and launched the theater’s first season with a variety of dance, theater and music activity. The renovated Ritz Theater opened in 2006, with a beautiful and well-equipped 240-seat theater, a large studio and event space, a lobby with concession area, and office space. Today the 13th Avenue NE strip is completely transformed with the arts as a central feature in the district, thriving with successful restaurants and shops, and ongoing performance activity at the theater attracting thousands of people to the neighborhood each year.

Visit here for more information about this project.

Caponi Art Park

Led an initiative to preserve the 60-acre art park through public ownership, to increase capacity of the nonprofit programming entity, to establish a sustainable model for program delivery and development, and to navigate through a founder/leadership transition.

The 2012 Alaska Society for Technology in Education Conference

ASTE-The Future-sm

Artistic Director Craig Harris was invited to be the first artist-in-residence at the Alaska Society for Technology in Education Conference, with the goal of facilitating a community exploration of the future of education, education technology, and the role of the arts in educating students to function effectively in the 21st Century.


They brought their community together to create ASTE’s most comprehensive conference in its history, with the theme Create – Collaborate – Innovate, and they invited Craig Harris to be their first artist in residence at their conferences, to infuse the conference with an innovative and creative approach to developing a community-wide understanding of the current conditions, and to establishing a unified vision for the future.

Visit here for more information about this project.