Arts Entrepreneurial Mindset

[I continue to develop essays on art, innovation, entrepreneurship, and money as part of my book project. Here are a couple of paragraphs from this morning’s writing:]

The independent self-determined mindset, the sense of one’s own responsibility and accountability toward career is born, in part, from necessity in the scarce environment, thus making the artist and others “subjects” (to use Foucault’s term) of neoliberal governmentality. But independence and self-determination are not solely reactions to given conditions; they go to the root of the motivations of the artist to make work that has impact despite the given conditions, not because of them. Even Abraham Maslow, in his famous A Theory of Human Motivation published in 1943 recognized the unique case of the artist, making work self-determinately: “There are other, apparently innately creative people in whom the drive to creativeness seems to be more important than any other counter determinant. Their creativeness might appear not as self-actualization released by basic satisfaction, but in spite of lack of basic satisfaction”

In The Artist as Culture Producer, a collection of short essays by artists about how they sustain their artistic practice, artist Alison Wong discusses the mindset necessary for entrepreneurial action as “an artist’s mind, with a focus on doing and making.” Another characteristic mindset that emerges from a review of the artists’ essays is a proclivity for seizing unexpected opportunities. One archetypical story, from Austin Thomas, begins, ”One day, while riding the elevator to my studio, I ran into…” From what was quite literally an elevator pitch, Thomas made several thousands of dollars in sales and, “invested that money back into my work,” enacting the ouroboros of arts entrepreneurial action. Ouroboros with text

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, including its award-winning arts entrepreneurship program, Pave: http://pave.asu.edu The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of ASU. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix and "like" the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pave-program-in-arts-entrepreneurship/386328970101 Find Pave's journal, Artivate, at http://artivate.org
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