Every single day, since January 11th, 2007, my blog post titled “Heartbeat of America” is read. It is a post that speaks to the heart of my passionate pursuits. Thank you for caring enough about the arts to pass it on.
According to Rick Cherwitz, professor and director of Intellectual Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas-Austin, we need to teach fine art students, and for that matter, all students in school and for life, how to become “citzen-scholars”.
“What is a fine arts citizen-scholar?” you might be thinking.
The way I see it:
As artists, you and I need to be citizens for a higher purpose.
As artists, we need to passionately embrace what we create, finding a way for it to benefit society in ways that are good for mankind- truly a scholarly pursuit.
To be recognized as citizens for a higher purpose, we must be visible in our communities.
Staying visible in our communities, as citizen scholars, requires us to be gainfully employed within the art-form we passionately embrace.
It is not possible to do any of this if we have to work an unrelated day job instead. Being a fine arts citizen scholar is a full time job.
I have yet to meet a single undergraduate who elects to pursue a course of study in fine arts for any reason other than they see it as a worthy endeavor to better themselves and the world. With 100,000 fine arts students graduating each year and only 1.7 million reporting being gainfully employed in the arts (largely self-employed), according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fact that the majority of employed artists are self-employed, is the single most important reason why each of us must learn how to passionately create a good living doing what we love.
It is through a process of self-discovery and self-empowerment that we find the courage we need to figure out who to serve and how our highest purpose can fuel mankind, and do so profitably.
Imagine what the world could be like if most of American big business learned how to be “citizen-scholars?” Imagine how many of them might no longer embrace deceptive business practices, empowered by greed as their misplaced form of higher purpose and good; not to mention how many fewer Enron’s there might be.
Call me naiive for thinking this is possible, or perhaps, think of my desire to empower you as my own work as a citizen scholar. It is going to take a world village of us, building our own blue bikes, to change things. Fine arts citizen scholars are needed in every community to create a higher purpose, the single most important missing value in corporate America today.
What kind of blue bike do you want to build and ride?
What do YOU need to learn or do to begin your journey as a citizen scholar?