Tania Katan, kicking off our annual Pave Speaker Series, opened her talk with a quote from the Merriam Webster online dictionary:
en·tre·pre·neur noun \ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər, -ˈn(y)u̇r\: a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money
It was obvious from the context that neither Tania nor anyone in the audience (including me) agreed with this narrow conception of an entrepreneur. Instead the arts entrepreneur looks at a double bottom line of art and money. Perhaps we can adapt this definition to read:
arts en·tre·pre·neur noun: an artist or other creative person who starts something and is willing to undertake some risk in order to make money to make art.
For the arts entrepreneur, money is necessary but not sufficient.
Soon after the talk, I came across Herman Melville’s poem Art in which art itself is a fusing of unlike forces, like the double bottom line of art and money:
In placid hours well-pleased we dream
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt—a wind to freeze;
Sad patience—joyous energies;
Humility—yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity—reverence. These must mate,
And fuse with Jacob’s mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel—Art.
For more on arts ventures see this post.