I’m working on a book proposal – let me know what you think.
An Ouroboros: Art, Money, and Entrepreneurial Action. The long form of a book will enable me to delve deeply into the relationships between art, innovation, entrepreneurship, and money to develop an argument that gets to the heart of what is arguably the most critical issue for the arts today: how can an artists make work and live in our late-capitalist society? The Ouroboros, the serpent eating its own tail, is a visual metaphor deployed to shift commonly held perspectives on, especially, the relationship between art and money. Art is the head; money is the tail, feeding and nourishing the head in a cycle that enables the organism to not only survive but also thrive. In essence, my thesis is that money does not sully art — it feeds it. Between the art and the money is the body: innovation and entrepreneurship. I employ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of innovation: a novel idea that is implemented and has impact on a domain. Is that not what the artist does: create something new and unique that has impact? Entrepreneurship is conceived as the discovery or creation of a mediating structure that can convert the artistic innovation into money so that the money can be re-invested in the artist and the making of more art.
I approach the study of art not through the lenses of history and criticism but rather as an artist (my MFA is in Design for Stage and Screen) and policy analyst (my PhD is in Public Administration and Policy). As such, I approach my analysis dramaturgically, assessing the given conditions, the setting, the actors (i.e., “characters”) in the arts economy, their motivations, and potential outcomes for both individuals and the economic social system of which we are all part. The book’s ten interconnected essays in four sections corresponding to the head, torso, belly, and tail of the Ouroboros: Art, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Money. The essays draw on my ten years of research, practice, and teaching in the nascent field of arts entrepreneurship to argue that entrepreneurial action leads to positive results for individual artists, but individual entrepreneurial action may not benefit the “arts sector” writ large. Artists who produce work entrepreneurially either as individuals or collectively are deployed as case study examples in each essay. Other data undergirding the essays comes from research conducted on artists’ professional development needs and on arts incubation practices about which I have previously written.