Call for Submissions: LEANARTS, MaRS and The Working Group


Canada’s Performing Arts Alliance is launching a new pilot program in Toronto to help performing arts organizations de-risk promising initiatives by applying the tools and methodologies used by technology startups.

LEANARTS will be delivered in partnership with MaRS and The Working Group, two leaders in the startup world in Toronto.

LEANARTS will bring together teams from a range of performing arts disciplines for a five-week crash course in startup-style ideation. Working with experienced mentors and instructors, participants will learn new strategies for shaping project ideas, explore new revenue models and improve their probability of funding.

Up to ten teams will be selected to participate in the program, which begins in January 2015. The course is structured through a mix of collaborative weekly sessions, one-on-one mentorship and assignments.

Organizations working across dance, opera, orchestra, theatre and spoken word are invited to apply by submitting their ideas for sustainable new projects or initiatives.

“There are parallels between the startup world and the arts sector in terms of scant resources. Risk capital is essential to research, development, and the inevitable and essential failure that comes with experimentation. Yet in the arts, we have no money to waste. How can we learn to prototype on a small scale, test our ideas, and fail faster and cheaper? How can we make the most of our limited resources while improving our chances at success? We think applying Lean methodology to great ideas in the early stages of development might offer an answer to
these questions. LEANARTS is the realization of this idea, and the first ever program of its kind for the arts.”

Christina Loewen: Executive Director,

Teams interested in participating have until October 1st to submit their applications. Those interested in finding out more are invited to attend an information session at MaRS Discovery District on Friday, September 12 from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. More details can be found at