In the past several weeks, I have found myself using the phrase “multiple points of entry,” to describe different aspects of our programming: at meetings with ASU Enterprise and Innovation; with alumni; at our recent Herberger Institute Student IDEA Showcase; and at the Fifth Biennial Pave Symposium. These entry points are various: a student can take class, pitch an idea, or attend a public talk to engage with the connection between entrepreneurship and arts or design practice.
Last night over dinner with a friend, after I explained my book project, a series of essays about the relationship between art, entrepreneurship, and money in a post-capitalist society, he asked, “how can you have entrepreneurship without capitalism?” “Think of entrepreneurship as a behavior, as the proactive creation of opportunities to connect one’s means with ends that create cultural and aesthetic value,” I replied. Entrepreneurship need not mean undertaking risk to grow financial capital (although I acknowledge this was JB Say’s original late Enlightenment-era definition). An artist can create value for self, community, or nation without participating in the private ownership — and subsequent inequities — of capitalism.
Thus, multiple points of entry connect to multiple points of exit. If student artists and designers learn to be proactive, recognize and create opportunities, and connect means to ends to create value, then they will also have multiple points of exit (e.g., solo artist; arts organization employee; public sector worker; commercial artist; etc). They will be able to navigate the uncertainty and risk inherent in artistic practice with adaptability to go in any one of many directions, or several directions at once.