Today, I was re-viewing Ben Cameron’s* fabulous TEDTalk of last fall because I’m requiring my arts entrepreneurship students to see it. Cameron makes several important points, among them (and forgive the paraphrasing) that the arts are in a period of fundamental reformation, including a profound realignment of traditional business models for arts organizations. The re-alignment of business models for the arts is also a theme running through the unfortunately titled, but otherwise excellent book, 20Under40. Several of the collection’s authors offer business or organizational ideas that diverge from the traditional nineteenth century (to use Cameron’s descriptor) institutional model we over-40s were trained for. This realignment is, perhaps, the theme for the new decade. Time-limited organizations, collective leadership, open-source distribution, micro-funding, and more are all nascent ideas brewing in the literature, at the conferences, and in the meeting rooms. If the arts sector can proactively develop institutional models that meet the needs of our rapidly changing, diverse, ambiguous, and technologically connected world, it will not only survive the reformation, but be stronger, more flexible, and more responsive for it.
*(Ben Cameron will be the keynote speaker at the second bi-annual p.a.v.e. symposium on entrepreneurship and the arts: Creating Infrastructure for Creativity and Innovation)