Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art as Business as Art at UW-M

Last Friday I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a class being held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison called "Art as Business as Art." Comprised of about thirty students from across the campus community, this class "explores the dynamic interplay between artistic life and business strategy, and features compelling national figures who cross that line everyday."

Co-teachers Stephanie Jutt (Professor of Flute) and Andrew Taylor (Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration) have designed a class that "explores the productive and creative interplay between artistic intent, business practice, and community connections." This class is particularly exciting to me because it builds upon the Arts Enterprise at Wisconsin-Madison chapter launched by Professor Jutt. Jutt started the third official Arts Enterprise chapter last year behind the University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University and has worked to develop a thriving student group as well as a curricular outlet for students in the spirit of Arts Enterprise.

Using a loose interpretation of the Arts Enterprise Central tagline—The Art of Business. The Business of Art—Professors Jutt and Taylor have designed a class that is a logical next step in the AE movement. At its core, Arts Enterprise is an organization dedicated to extra-curricular, student-run chapters designed to enhance each student's degree path. However, it is important to note that this type of class greatly benefits the Arts Enterprise movement as it shares many of the ideals that the chapter organization is based upon and gives students a launching pad for their work with the student organization.

During my time with the class we explored the idea of divergent thinking in an effort to help the class develop ideas for an end of the semester project. Using an exercise called "mind mapping" I guided students through a process of creating word webs with the goal of moving as far away from the original idea as possible. Mind Mapping is "the process of using unrelated stimulus to help students think divergently in the development of a truly unique idea/product." (Jack Stamp)

Here's how it works.

  1. On the board, draw three circles.
  2. In the middle of each board write one unrelated word. For example: one color, one action, one famous person
  3. Ask students to think divergently about the words on the board and then shout out words that make them think about the word within the circle. The goal is to get as far away from the word as the center as possible.
  4. When you have a rich list of words, instruct the students to divide into groups.
  5. In their groups, have students develop an idea/product using one word from each of the three circles on the board. This can be for fun, or it can have real world implications.
NOTE: You can either give them the topic for the idea ahead of the divergent thinking exercise or after. Each will have different but positive results.

Upon completion of the class session, I had the great fortune of being interviewed as a guest of the class. (The interview can be found here: Zeisler Interiew.) Additional information about the Art as Business as Art course information can be found here.


1 comment:

The Artful Manager said...

Hey Nate,

It was great to have you here in Madison. Looking forward to future connections!