I had an epiphany the other day as I was reading Marjorie Garberâ€™s excellent book â€œPatronizing the Arts.â€ This was one of those â€œa-hahâ€ moments that comes at you sideways â€“ not directly from what youâ€™re reading or writing or working on, but has been gestating and then is synthesized from the scattered input of life. Its not a huge life-changing or world-changing epiphany, but is an idea that will cause me (and perhaps you) to re-focus some of the arts entrepreneurship curriculum Iâ€™m developing. Its also not new idea â€“ not even to me â€“ I just havenâ€™t put it front and center: building an environment â€“ a SPACE– for creativity and innovation is a prerequisite to all the teaching and learning about arts entrepreneurship that we may do. The SPACE needs to be both physical and conceptual (or, if you prefer, â€œspiritualâ€), a SPACE where work can grow. Many cities have such SPACES â€“ unfortunately, mine isnâ€™t one of them. There are national â€œSPACESâ€ (Creative Capital comes to mind as a creator of such SPACE conceptually), but, like politics, art-making is local. Thereâ€™s a lot of enthusiasm in the arts community for creating that local SPACE for nurturing artists, but weâ€™ll need to work harder to make it happen.
How does my minor epiphany relate to the arts entrepreneurship curriculum weâ€™re developing? Here thereâ€™s a more direct relationship with my current reading, although its still involves reading between the lines. Iâ€™m working on a chapter for a book on â€œsignature pedagogies for disciplinary habits of mindâ€ with two colleagues from Australia. Our chapter is, as you might imagine, about arts entrepreneurship/enterprise education so I have been doing a lot of reading on business entrepreneurship pedagogy. Reading between the lines of that scholarship (and thereâ€™s a lot of it compared to the scholarship on arts entrepreneurship pedagogy) and about the fine work Rick Cherwitz is doing at UT as well as my own experience with the p.a.v.e. program at ASU I have come to realize that we need to teach students about ownership in the business sense by first providing them SPACE to have ownership over their own learning about arts entrepreneurship. I want students to come into my arts entrepreneurship classroom with a commitment to their own work. Then I need to get out of their way to provide them the space to be as creative as possible, providing a backstop where necessary on the issues that can, if misunderstood, put a premature end to their creativity: financing, IP protections, and the like.
Perhaps my interest this week in SPACE is more personal. As I embark on a bit of a professional transition, I find myself looking ahead (and looking forward) to having more space â€“ space to think, to write, to teach, and to find connections that will help support the creativity of emerging artists.
While I have your attention, donâ€™t forget to mark you calendars for the second biannual p.a.v.e. symposium on Entrepreneurship and the Arts, to be held April 1-2 2011 in Tempe AZ. Ben Cameron of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will be our keynote speaker and ETAâ€™s very own Lisa Canning will be conducting a workshop on â€œDiscovering your WHY? Artist Empowerment and Self-mangement.â€ Weâ€™re partnering with the Arizona Commission on the Arts to help get the word out, and the symposium coincides with the fast-growing Phoenix Fringe Festival, a project that the p.a.v.e. program helped to launch.