What Does it all Mean?

barclays_universal_dictionary_containing_an_explanation_of_difficult_words_and_technical_terms_in_all_faculties_and_professions_also_a_pronouncing_dictionary_the_origin_of_each_word_an_epitome_of_Definitional problems still persist in the teaching and learning arts entrepreneurship. Each year, I ask students what “entrepreneurship” means to them and then, after a short lecture and reading material by Andrew Simonet, David Cutler, and Aaron Dworkin, ask: “What is entrepreneurship in the arts?” Here are some responses that “superbly embellish” existing definitions:

  • An entrepreneur is someone who is innovative, who is inventive and active. However, the artist has an entirely different duty–they are meant to express something about themselves or about the world they live in. The artist’s duty is to, in the words of Yukio Mishima, “reveal in order to conceal.” Artists have a duty of revealing something more about themselves or the world they live in, and expressing that through their work–this is the “sacred responsibility” to culture. As an arts entrepreneur, one has to combine the pragmatic, business side of entrepreneurship and the creative, free-thinking side of artistry…
  • art entrepreneurship is all about passion and drive. I think when you find something that your entire body and soul is passionate about and you make the moves to share that passion with the world, that is art entrepreneurship
  • Our job as art entrepreneurs is to be cultural innovators; we must find our audience and push it to new bounds
  • I believe the relationship between the words “arts” and “entrepreneur” is that of a square and rectangle; a square (arts) is always a rectangle (entrepreneur), but the opposite is not always true. In order to be a full time, successful artist, one must be an entrepreneur as well. I am of the opinion that what separates and arts entrepreneur from a typical entrepreneur is the sense of community. I believe the means and ends to be nearly identical in that both forms of entrepreneurship are designed to sustain themselves one way or another. The sense of community and the passion [to] innovate for a community is what sets arts entrepreneurship apart. So much so, that money may be a secondary end goal behind creating more art.
  • Arts entrepreneurship in this case would be using innovation, creativity, and the understanding of public needs or wants to utilize a way to make a new type of “leather” out of something other than animal skin
  • I’d say that an arts entrepreneur is someone who sees that art has a purpose and uses that to drive their creativity.
  • Being an “arts entrepreneur” is all about taking risks and pushing the boundaries of what makes a product(paintings, websites, graphics, etc) good, and what makes a product great.
  • But an Arts Entrepreneur means having to stay focused on your dreams so much that you are consistently improving your thoughts and ideas to make connections with the world with their needs and wants.
  • Being an “arts entrepreneur” for me means that I have to learn to fail a lot but eventually I will succeed.

Here’s a link to the operational definition I’ve been using.

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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