I am preparing to walk into a university classroom next Tuesday to teach 16 college students “Foundations of Arts Entrepreneurship.” Preparing for a class such as this necessitates some prioritizing of topics. What are the most important ideas to convey in the first 75 minutes of the semester? What can be left for later? … or for never? What topics will be “discovered” by the students through project work and research and what topics “delivered” by me?
My theme for the first class meeting is arts entrepreneurship as “ACTION,” and here is why: One can learn to be a master of one’s discipline as a lighting designer, a poet, a clarinetist, but until one ACTS to advance that talent, skill, and mastery, to put it out there in front of an audience, there is no entrepreneurship. One can see an opportunity, but until one ACTS to seize that opportunity, there is no entrepreneurship. One may have a creative idea, but until one ACTS to…well…. actualize, that idea, there is no entrepreneurship. Anne Bogart writes, in “And then, you act” (required reading for my course), “in order to engage in effective action you must first find something that you value and put it at the center of your life.”
Some scholars of entrepreneurship focus on who an entrepreneur IS, on the entrepreneurial “character;” others focus on what an entrepreneur DOES, on the logistics of venture creation. Both are important: an entrepreneurial mindset without action is not entrepreneurship – its just risky behavior. Intent is critical.
My own intent for this class is to excite and incite, rather than recite. I haven’t been in the classroom in a long time –I can’t wait!