We test our programs in The Lab before bringing them out into the world.
Gathering the finest performers and minds to execute our programs, we prototype our concepts in front of a limited audience of 50 to 100 people in Los Angeles. The music stories that prove most compelling are presented in theaters, schools and community centers across the United States.
Since our first program in 2007, 1500 different people have attended Lab performances. Lab shows are not publicly advertised; audience members are invited by previous audience members, performers or members of the Canvas leadership team. Seating is limited and paid tickets are purchased in advance to secure a seat.
Yes, it’s a home
Canvas founders Lynn Hutchinson and husband David Sheldon began making original programming to present at music parties held in their Amsterdam home in 2007. Their programs improved and audience sizes increased. In 2011, they moved to Los Angeles. Telling real estate agents they wanted something on the Westside that was in their budget and could accommodate music performances seating up to a hundred people was…well…laughable.
But it happened.
They found a condo that was perfect for the job. They installed adjustable stage lighting, two projectors with screens, and purchased furniture that could easily be moved or disassembled for performances. They made friends with their neighbors, gently letting them know about their plans for The Lab. Thankfully, those neighbors remain their biggest fans.
The Lab engages directly with the community
Many of the music stories Canvas has explored have engaged directly with non-music organizations for research and partnership. Those organizations have been recipients of donations and the opportunity to present in front of the Canvas Lab audience.
In addition, upon receiving the gift of our beautiful Steinway grand piano from a patron, we wanted to pay it forward to other musicians. Canvas donates proceeds from one Lab program each season to young musicians in the Los Angeles area.
Lab programs have supported the following:
Colburn School of Music
Ecological Management Foundation (Netherlands)
Heal the Bay
HOLA (Hearts of Los Angeles)
Musicians Without Borders
St. Joseph Center
Lab programs are geared toward adults
While we love kids, our test programs at The Lab are intended to benefit adult audiences. Our programs average seventy minutes in length without intermission and include terminology that may not be understood by a younger audience. Older children who are interested in music and able to maintain their attention are welcome to attend with an adult.
But sometimes, it’s all about the kids. And boy, is it fun!
We do occasionally offer programs for kids. We love sharing The Lab with kids and families who are interested in seeing serious music played up close. Our Halloween concert is a big hit with kids. We ask our audience “why do songs sound spooky?" Our Jim Henson tribute show is a favorite for all ages, bringing together multiple generations. And we love getting kids involved in singing and making music at our winter holiday program.