Leveraging the power of arts, culture, and the creative industries to frame, seed, and scale innovation in health and wellbeing.
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Mission: Leverage the power of community creativity and culture to transform lives through art.
Vision: A more healthy, just, and hopeful society.

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You can imagine our engagement with communities through our HEAL (Health. Equity. Art. Learning.) Community Approach like a transportation roundabout. We know each community is in a unique place in their health journey. As a facilitator, capacity builder, and strategic partner, IDEAS xLab can enter at different points along the route to support our partners and clients through our HEAL Community Approach, using arts and culture interventions to identify priorities and goals for the future, and an action plan for positive change.

We’ve seen how hope - Goals, Pathways, and Agency - can be transformational! And from the science, we know hope is a leading indicator of health and wellbeing. (Learn more about Hope Theory)

A process evaluation by University of Louisville outlined that our HEAL Community Approached supports:

  • Collective Identity Development

  • Capacity building

  • Sense of community

  • Community engagement (reduced social isolation)

  • Cultivation of Hope

Through artist-led after school programming created by IDEAS xLab, students experienced a change from 6.3 to 9 on a 10-point scale in their ability to advocate for themselves and for others after their first year of the Justice League.

IDEAS xLab's HEAL Community Approach leverages:

  • Arts-based Tools: Storytelling, trust building, qualitative data collection using tools including Mads Libs style poetry templates, mobile apps (video, photo) and arts-based interventions,

  • Cultural Development and Strategic Cultural Communications including: Priority and Opportunity identification, Cross-sector network building, Setting goals, identifying pathways for change, activating community agency, translating across sectors,

  • Science: Measuring positive impact on collective hope/belonging through our HEAL Community Approach + Supporting community identified outcomes.

IDEAS xLab Team

Josh Miller    Co-Founder, CEO

Josh Miller
Co-Founder, CEO

Hannah Drake    Cultural Strategist

Hannah Drake
Cultural Strategist

Chris Radtke   Artist Liaison, Curriculum Development

Chris Radtke
Artist Liaison, Curriculum Development

Ashlee Van Schyndel   Hope & Wellbeing VISTA

Ashlee Van Schyndel
Hope & Wellbeing VISTA

About Us

IDEAS xLab is a dynamic artist-run nonprofit based in Louisville, KY - and working nationally - to leverage the power of community creativity and culture to transform lives through art.

Our HEAL Community Approach supports communities in their drive toward positive health outcomes through music and drumming circles, open mic poetry slams, visual art exercises, writing workshops and more.

Through our partnership with UofL through the Center for Creative Placehealing, we are measuring the impact of our artist-led initiatives on hope and belonging.

Our Partnership with University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences

Creative places, fueled by culture, become even more sustainable when they are BACKED BY SCIENCE - which is why we formed an exciting collaboration with University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences called the UofL Center for Creative Placehealing (launching early 2019). Directed by Theo Edmonds (an original co-founder of IDEAS xLab), the new Center for Creative Placehealing will support scientific research and innovation development in public health to further strengthen the impact of the HEAL Community Approach and Smoketown Hopebox.

Click here to learn more about the University of Louisville School of Public Health

Our Funders

We are grateful for the generous support and thought partnership of our organizational funders listed below.  And, especially, to the many private donors who selflessly give of their time, talent and treasure to support our work.

Educational Foundation of America | National Endowment for the Arts | ArtPlace America | Health Impact Project -- a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, with support from the Kresge Foundation | Humana, Inc. | Humana Foundation |  KentuckyOne Health | Metro Louisville Government | Owsley Brown III | Clifton Foundation | Louisville Fund for the Arts | Community Foundation of Louisville | Gheens Foundation | Sutherland Foundation | Brown-Forman

Awards & Recognition

Nonprofit of the Year (2019) from Derby Diversity & Business Summit. The award exemplifies outstanding excellence and achievement in improving diversity for People, Processes, or Products & Services that have had a positive impact on the workforce, supply chain, community, or quality of life.

HEAL Community Approach recognized as international good practice by UCLG Culture 21 (2018) Louisville was a candidate for the third "UCLG Mexico City – Culture 21 International Award" (November 2017 – May 2018). The jury requested that the Committee on Culture promote IDEAS xLab’s HEAL Community Approach as one of the good practices to be implemented through Agenda 21 for culture. Click here to learn more.

Pyramid Award of Excellence in the Art of Vision (2014) from Center for Nonprofit Excellence. This award honors a nonprofit organization that has: developed a collective vision that inspired action; connected that vision to its mission and/or to community priorities; demonstrated the community benefits of that mission.

Our History

IDEAS xLab has evolved over the years from an art exhibition program (2012), to a creative chamber of commerce (2013-2014), a for-profit LLC with a nonprofit arm, and into it's current form - a dynamic 501c3 nonprofit focused on arts-based, culturally-responsive change initiatives designed to positively impact health and wellbeing.


Erik Eaker, Chair

Jared Giles
Workforce Development Initiatives at
Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

Whitney Mattingly
Switcher Studio

Jan Walther
Community Foundation of Louisville


Theo Edmonds, JD,MHA,MFA
Director, Center for Creative Placehealing
University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences
(Co-founder IDEAS xLab)

Dr. Craig Blakely       
Dean, University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences

Karan Chavis
University of Louisville School of Medicine

Jean Dolan

Ayelet Aldouby

Colleen Keegan
National Arts Advisor