“I put this whole website together – and the band loves it!” So said the student when she presented her final project, a website to promote her band. The project is described as “a package of professional materials.” Students can choose the form of this project – for one it is a website for a band, for another a web-based photography portfolio, for another a grant proposal, for another a business plan for a nonprofit arts organization, for another a packet of application materials for an internship with a commercial producer. Despite the variety of form and content, what many students gain from the exercise is a belief in themselves and their own abilities. “I never knew I could do something like this.” There’s a term for this, for this belief that one can follow through and complete a complex task: self-efficacy. And, in turn, self-efficacy has been shown to enhance one’s ability to act in the face of skepticism of others (see the work of Shane and Ventkatamaran; and Chen, Greene, and Crick).
I’m frequently asked in one form or another “how does entrepreneurship education enhance an arts degree?” Arts entrepreneurship training does not replace deep study of one’s arts discipline, but it enhances it, increasing the student artist’s belief in their own ability to bring the product of their artistic creativity into the world.