Reform. Change. Do these words together mark the birth place of entrepreneurship for the arts?
Before you decide consider this: reform will never be achieved by redistributing knowledge. In other words, sending artists to the business school for training will teach them more facts but little if nothing at all about entrepreneurship. However, building on the passions of students to envision, design and then build something from their inner thoughts will. Only then can you employ the collaberative efforts of those from disciplines that can help them.
So perhaps the answer is to restructure programs in higher education by considering a massive overhaul to curricula to accomplish this? That can take years and is impossible to accomplish all at once or anytime soon. Universities and institutions of higher learning are reluctant receptors to the kind of change that involves speed.
But perhaps the most expeditious way to instantly create the needed environment for exponential growth and evolution is to explore the development of the minds and attitudes of the greatest resource of the entrepreneurial ethos- the teacher on whom so much depends.
Acting class teachers, studio teachers, graphic design teachers, world class artist teachers, theory and history teachers, education teachers, and every other kind of teacher we find, in all disciplines of teaching the arts, must be better challenged to be courageous, to allow for their hearts to be opened to the possibilities of teaching from a place of uncertainty, surprise and seeking collaberation. I can not imagine a better way to engage in that very act then by teachers learning how to become more entrepreneurial themselves.
Entrepreneurship requires teaching how to risk with your ideas and leading by example. By teaching how to explore your inner world and allow it to appear in the context of your studies or teaching, allows for it to produce more than any one of us can possible “teach” to our students.
This work cannot be offered in tips, tricks or practical advice. It must be experienced and mastered over time with others who are masters of entrepreneurship and “walk the walk”, which of course makes the concept of incorporating entrepreneurship into the life of artists of any age a challenging proposition and a slippery slope. Lacking in definitions that create comfort amongst those that need facts and figures, practical advice, tips and tricks to be assured that this path is more than feel good rhetoric, we must come to open our hearts to the inner life of our student and be courageous enough to give them permission to teach us where their passions are sparked. And then we must be able to grant them permission by helping them to learn how to act on what they see.
Only when we begin to reshape how we teach can we truly begin to reveal the limitations and potentials between the subject of our artistic teaching and the lives of students of art. At this intersection lies the fertil ground, the birth place that marks the life of entrepreneurship.