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Defending Arts Entrepreneurship

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  1. What the academy may overlook is that entrepreneurship is another type of creativity. Artistic excellence is the goal of artists of every level, and conservatories are correct to keep standards high, but the quest for technical precision can come at the expense of creative approaches to music and music-making.
    Trust me, I’m a singer. No one wants singers to think on their own terms, disrupting the system we support with our tuition payments, lesson and coaching payments, young artist program application fees, etc. etc. If a fraction of ambitious singers stopped paying institutions in the hopes of launching their career and used the money instead to set up a concert series or a new company, it would create new artistic communities nationwide.
    But for the academy to encourage that would be to acknowledge that they do not have all the answers.

  2. The importance of brining entrepreneurial thinking and principles to the arts is discussed in these articles:
    Gary Beckman and Richard Cherwitz, Richard, “Intellectual Entrepreneurship: An Authentic Foundation for Higher Education Reform,” Planning for Higher Education, 37:4 (July-September, 2009), 27-36.
    https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/articles/ed-reform.pdf
    Gary Beckman, “Artists as Entrepreneurs,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 7, 2008.
    https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/beckman_070708.html
    Cherwitz, Richard and Beckman, Gary. “Re-envisioning the Arts Ph.D.: Intellectual Entrepreneurship and the Intellectual Arts Leader.” Arts Education Policy Review, 107:4 (2006), 13-20.
    https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/articles/CherwitzBeckman.pdf

  3. Jeffrey Nytch says:

    Amen!
    And as Amanda states above, the angle I always take is that entrepreneurship is not an opposing force to creativity, it’s a complementary extension of it. But this argument only exposes another cold truth that the conservatory model doesn’t want to face: that it is, ironically, not designed to foster creativity (quite the opposite, in fact). That’s the real reason why I think the notion of entrepreneurship is so threatening to some: it exposes everything that’s wrong with our 19th-century model for educating musicians.

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