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Arts Entrepreneurship — Student Work

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  1. Jim…this is a terrific initiative….it reminds me of Paducah’s work to restore housing stock with artists as well as ArtSpace.org. ArtSpace has it figured out how to gain support for low-cost housing that includes HUD funding, as I recall, plus some local investment.

  2. Hello, Jim:

    I stopped by the blog to check it out after you were named one of the 50 most influential etc. I have been around long enough in NY to remember the salad days of arts service orgs that acted as fiscal agents for small arts groups and provided professional development for emerging arts administrators. I worked at the Cultural Council Foundation during the waning days of the CETA arts program and taught budgeting and financial planning to emerging performing arts groups back then.

    Philadelphia as a city has to make a commitment to dispersing the arts infrastructure throughout the city. NYC did this brilliantly in the 60s-80’s. My first job was to open the Bronx Museum of the Arts in the south bronx, formed directly as a result of NYC’s policies.

    The idea your student has is great, but it adds a layer of cost to an already thinly sliced pie. What is the value for this cost to the local arts group? Free accounting, free real estate services, free management advice? Unless this service org can secure preferential real estate pricing (a big if, whats in it for the landlords…do they think that arts groups are going to be more reliable tenants than a barber shop or bodega?) then the value add is kind of sketchy.

    Beyond that, what kind of task is the org taking on? Managing real estate, managing finances, maybe acting as the fiscal agent for an emerging arts group? This is pretty tricky and expensive stuff and it is hard to see how the org will capitalize itself without public money.

    Which circles back to the original point. If the Phila gov could support an entity like this as a strategy for disseminating the arts to the neighborhoods, then there could be some serious potential. I guess a major Philly foundation/company could as well. In both cases, this startup org is competing against existing programs, so it will take an adroit leader to avoid alienating the constituency it hopes to serve.

    Thought provoking stuff, I don’t mean to be discouraging just to engage in a bit a of spirited dialogue.

    Best

    Eric Siegel
    Director and Chief Content Officer
    New York Hall of Science

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