Over the past eight years, I’ve found myself designing fewer and fewer plays and instead devoting more and more professional time to administration/leadership/management and to research, all by my own choice. It has now been two years since I last designed lighting (for a production of Anon(ymous) depicted at left). In that time, and especially recently, I’ve been asked on more than one occasion, “Don’t you miss it?” “Don’t I miss what?” I reply. “The creativity.” The short answer is “No, not at all.” The only slightly longer answer follows.
Yesterday, I sat in my new office for the first time following my sabbatical and since moving from the position of the Director of the School of Theatre and Film at ASU to that of a full time faculty member in the school with a focus on arts entrepreneurship. It’s a small room, maybe nine by ten, that I had painted tangerine. It’s a repurposed dorm, so there are two closets, into which, behind closed doors, I placed the filing cabinet and shelves of scripts that I haven’t broken open in a long time. There’s a simple table on which I can put my Mac Book, a Pilates ball for me to sit on, and two green chairs for students or guests that I purchased from Crate and Barrel to contrast with the tangerine walls. Built-in shelves hold a few pictures of my kids and the books I need for research and teaching the arts entrepreneurship class.
It’s a spare room, and it’s a blank canvas. Today, I painted on that canvas; I created.
I didn’t create a painting, and I didn’t produce a play, or design lighting cues for it. I created curriculum. I sat in my office and collated research materials I had been gathering for months into material for the first class meeting of my first formal class in arts entrepreneurship. I made connections between ideas and events, selected material, wrote several paragraphs of synthesis, and developed a structure for those first 75 minutes of face-to-face time with undergraduate students from every arts discipline as well as design and business. Faculty across my university and elsewhere are likely undertaking similar creative activities to benefit their students and their disciplines.
Because the field of arts entrepreneurship is young, there is much original, creative research to be done, and I will be doing that too in my little tangerine office in a repurposed dorm. (There is also more research to be done in lighting design process and I’ll no doubt continue to do some of that too.) My point is this: you can’t miss something that’s still right in front of you. Creative opportunities abound; one need only be alert to their possibilities.
* Hey – if you want to come visit, we’re hosting a really cool arts entrepreneurship symposium April 1-2.