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Enabling Arts Entrepreneurs

I recently gave a talk at the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park.  My topic focused on those skills that orchestral musicians will need (now need!) in order to succeed and thrive in the future.  I am sure this list of skills would not be a surprise to readers.  What impressed me is just how intelligent and dedicated these young people were.  And building on my experience in teaching arts entrepreneurship at Drexel, where I found much the same intelligence and motivation, I am now concerned and focused on what can be done now to encourage and enable this remarkable generation.

Sure, we can continue to encourage the teaching of those skills and abilities that will enable them to navigate their way.  Broadening the number of schools that offer these resources is critical.  However, this will not get the job done fully, as lack of capital and start-up funds will dull most ideas and quash motivation and energy.  I’m thinking that we need to establish a national endowment to encourage new ideas in the arts.

 This endowment could be formed thought traditional means, but also through “crowdsourcing” fundraising, such as that found in (  The distribution structure would have to avoid heavy bureaucracy, and would need to include a majority of young people from a variety of backgrounds and professions.  If a realistic and carefully researched business plan was required in the application, then more schools would be compelled to teach and enable their students for their applications.

What do you think of this idea?





  1. Love this idea! The best part of it is that it can help artists to NOT require such aid in the future. With a traditional arts grant, one gets the grant, does the project, but then needs help again for the next project. An arts entrepreneurship fund could allow artists to reach a point at which they need little or no assistance. In fact, how about instead of an” endowment” we have a business incubator for art entrepreneurs like those in the tech industry. It would not only help financially, but also help with advising and networking.
    And I’m not just saying all this because I’m involved in a project that could use this sort of help. 🙂

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