Pave’s Arizona Art Tank Pitch

I recently participated in “Art Tank,” an innovative funding initiative from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.  Barry’s Blog provides some excellent coverage of the program, which is designed to fund “business unusual” arts projects throughout the state.  On January 27, I took my battered red toolbox to the Chandler Center for the Performing Arts to explain the “Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit.” In the toolbox was a hammer, a wrench, and a USB drive. I’m happy to say that the Pave Program came away with a $7500 seed grant for the project.


Here’s my pitch:

Imagine you want to build a sustainable artistic practice in Arizona –

Do you need this hammer or this wrench?

Neither, you need this USB drive, because on this USB drive could be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurial Arizona Artists. 

I’m Linda Essig, director of the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, which I’ll tell you more about later. 

We envision the development of the Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit.

The Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit will provide information you need to build your sustainable artistic practice in Arizona or start up a small arts organization.  Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Maybe you’re a painter, and you need to build your studio budget? You don’t need a hammer, you need easy-to-use templates and Arizona specific information on pricing.
  2. Are you a musician? Not sure how to send a press release about your next concert? The toolkit will include not only instructions for crafting an effective press release, but a list of Arizona media outlets so that you can start building your own contact list.
  3. Thinking about developing a social media strategy? You can start with our guidelines.
  4. Want to set up an Etsy shop or other e-commerce portal? We’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions.

Creating an Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit isn’t just an entrepreneurial idea, it’s a DOUBLE META entrepreneurial idea. 


It’s an entrepreneurial idea to help artists be more entrepreneurial (meta-entrepreneurial) but what makes it double-meta entrepreneurial is that the proceeds from the sale of the toolkit will go to support the Pave Arts Venture Incubator, which has supported over two dozen arts ventures, thus providing the incubator with an ongoing revenue stream.

Right now, Pave provides public programming for the general public, research for the academic community, and courses and a venture incubator for ASU Students

We need your help to move forward, and make our expertise available to artists across the state.

Our incubator is limited to ASU students, but Pave will make the Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit available to all artists and small arts organizations in the state.  And, annual updates will also be available at a discounted rate.

 I know from my work with student artists, from talking to artists who attend our free public programming, and from artists I have met via my own consulting with NEDCO-Mesa who you heard from earlier tonight that artists in Arizona need this resource, and the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship has the skills to develop this comprehensive tool. 

Organizations such as Rising Youth Theatre, Opera Revolution, UrbanSTEW, Simply Three Trio, and Dancers and Health Together as well as many individual artists have all benefitted from our expertise. We want to share that with the broader Arizona Artist community – and especially its individual artists who may not have an organization behind them.

The comprehensive set of tools we envision requires planning, research, development, and (eventually) production, all of which can begin only with the help of funding from the Arizona Art Tank.  We need you to kickstart us.  Thank you.

At the intermission, a lot of folks came up to me asking for the USB drive — it’s not developed yet! Our next step is to survey individual artists and small arts organizations to make sure we’re including the tools that you need.  If you’re an artist, especially an artist in Arizona, what would YOU like to see included in a resource like this?

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Cal State LA and principal/owner of Creative Infrastructure LLC. The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of Cal State LA. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.
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3 Responses to Pave’s Arizona Art Tank Pitch

  1. Pingback: A Pitch Too Far in San Diego | Creative Infrastructure

  2. Pingback: AZ Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit Progresses | Creative Infrastructure

  3. Pingback: The Ouroboros Last: Good Business Practices and the Arts | Creative Infrastructure

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