Saturday, November 14, 2009

Arts Entrepreneurship vs. Creative Entrepreneurship

In recent years, arts programs at universities across the country have begun to utilize the notion of entrepreneurship as a way to help students have more career options upon graduation.

"Entrepreneurship can be defined as the process of creating value by bringing together a unique package of resources to exploit an opportunity."
—Michael Morris.

The concept of Arts Entrepreneurship has been used freely as a "catchall" for student career development. From nuts and bolts classes that help students construct proper resumes to classes that involve the exploration of pure business start-up, Arts Entrepreneurship has yet to become a streamlined concept. I would argue that the study of entrepreneurship on our arts campuses should be focused on helping students harness their creative ideas. In other words, artists have creativity covered, it's taking those creative ideas and applying them to current business practice—in start-up, in the workplace & in entrepreneurial thought—in which our artistically minded students need the most help developing.

For arts students, the term Arts Entrepreneurship may be a little too specific for their needs and many times students find the focus turning back to entrepreneurship through the lens of an artist. Conversely, for business students, the term can be a little intimidating for those who do not consider themselves "Artistic." However, if we take a broader approach and use the term "Creative Entrepreneurship" as a way to define our curriculum, students on both sides of the aisle may be able to engage in a more holistic approach that allows them to work at the intersection of business and the arts.

"Creative Entrepreneurs are individuals who use creativity to unlock the wealth that lies within them. Like true capitalists, they believe that this creative wealth, if managed properly, will engender more [creative] wealth.”
—John Hawkins

Creative entrepreneurship differs slightly from the traditional business entrepreneurship in that it focuses primarily on creative or intellectual capital. Creative entrepreneurs usually establish ventures that have a place in the creative economy and focus on the collaboration of many diverse individuals ranging from varying backgrounds and degree tracks.

Like the traditional business entrepreneur, creative entrepreneurs still go through a process of identifying opportunity, establishing a way to fulfill the need that exists, gathering and managing resources, and harvesting the benefits of the venture. Creative entrepreneurs are leaders, risk takers, and idea generators. They are inspired by advocacy, social change, and the desire to be in control of their own work.

By identifying themselves as "creative beings"—instead of bassoonists, photographers, dancers, etc.—students are able to effectively work within the notion of creative entrepreneurship. Whether students utilize creative entrepreneurship to start a business, think entrepreneurially or enhance their Portfolio Career, this broader approach gives arts students a seat at the table that is our 21st century economy.

1 comment:

a2creATE said...

Thanks for writing this great article, Nate! I agree that arts entrepreneurship has become too much of a "catch-all" for career curricula in the arts. Unfortunately, to many students, "arts entrepreneurship" negatively implies--in an immediate sense--any career that isn't strictly what their designated degree outlines for them as "acceptable." Encouraging artists to think about creative entrepreneurship instead inherently identifies artists as creative beings, allowing our artistic skills to be relevant and fulfilling in whatever career path we choose.