As an entrepreneurial artist, one has the potential to create culture both at local and national levels.
At the local level, an entrepreneur creates the culture they wish to work in. This means that those who they work effectively with, they can seek to attract and collaborate with and those they do not work well with, they simply do not do so. Every effective leader understands the value of creating a stimulating and productive work environment. The Entrepreneur, typically serving as owner of their artistic ventures, controls this process.
Still at the local level, the entrepreneur has the potential to commit their sizable imaginative and creative energies towards the good of another, a group or the community as a whole. The entrepreneurial creator has the opportunity to become necessary to others, as they are serving the needs of others.
At the national level, and due to the development of the internet–evermore today at the global level, the arts entrepreneur has the potential to impact culture. Through mass recognition of the gap this creator is filling, through the addressing of meaning, through effectively offering value, insight and experience, the artist entrepreneur has the potential to become widely-spoken about, to impact others lives in a meaningful way and, in conventional terms, to become successful.
So why do more artists not pursue the entrepreneurial process? In a word: Risk.
One cannot separate “risk” from the definition of entrepreneurship.
But those who study art as a living have already come to terms with risk, as a career in the arts is one that is traditionally risky.
Artists are ideal candidates for entrepreneurship, as they are often:
- Highly effective collaborators
- Can easily brainstorm (collectively or individually)
- Are naturally creative
- Excellent problem solvers
- Are creators by definition
- Have personal disincline (or self-leadership)
- Have an exercised imagination
- Work with change in their creations as artists and therefore have an intuitive knowledge of adaptability.
As more artists are equipped with the skills and techniques with which to best express their individual artistic voice, the skills to market that voice, to navigate the market and to become more self-sufficient as artists, we will see a large-scale culture shift. As more artists are educated as entrepreneurial artists, we will see a change in how artists produce art and will see job-creation, which has a significant impact on both the health of a culture.
Jim Hart is Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts (SMU).