I was talking with a friend recently – a friend far removed from the arts – who suggested that I must be poised to make a lot of money since I know something about (arts) entrepreneurship. What my friend doesn’t know, and I didn’t correct him at the time, is that entrepreneurial action in the arts is not necessarily focused on wealth creation, but on opportunity creation. Artists, including my students, often develop business entities in order to create opportunities for themselves or others to make work. Such was the impetus behind the creation of the Phoenix Fringe Festival, one of the first arts-based ventures seeded through the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship.
PHX:fringe is on a mission to develop a culturally engaged urban audience by offering an edgy assortment of performance choices in non-traditional downtown Phoenix spaces. PHX:fringe promotes artistic exploration by showing the adventurous work of established and emerging artists in accessible, affordable performances for the community.
Founded in 2008, PHX:fringe now finds itself at one of those “put up or shut up” moments in a young arts organization’s development. It recently doubled the size of its board (full disclosure: I am a member of the board of directors), is looking hard at is mission, its programming (trying to become a year-round presence in downtown Phoenix), and its finances. PHX:fringe wants to continue to provide opportunities for artists that are outside the mainstream to find their audience, present their work, experiment, and explore. So, it’s holding a big “Fringe Benefit” on October 12 to raise the money it needs to move on to its next phase. Even if you are far from Phoenix, you can help the PHX:fringe create more opportunities by donating at its IndieGogo site. THANK YOU!