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Staffing Higher Ed Arts Entrepreneurship Programs

In this post I will refer to the 4 zones of entrepreneurial activity that I outlined in a former post. A quick refresher:

Zone 1. Empowering Oneself, Personal Entrepreneurship
Zone 2. Making a Career for Oneself (and sometimes others)
Zone 3. Create a Recognizable, but New Not-for-Profit Entity, but with a Shared
Purpose, Social and Artistic
Zone 4. Create a Totally Original Entity, Not-for-Profit or Commercial

As colleges, universities and independent arts schools rush to include entrepreneurship in the arts in their curricular and extra-curricular offerings, the question of staffing needs to be addressed. I’ve observed a number of unfortunate mismatches where the school envisions, for example, a Zone 1 approach, but hires a Zone 4 specialist.

Where most existing talent within the higher education arts sector lies is clearly in Zones 1 and 2. And conversely, little existing talent lies within Zones 3 and 4.

This brings to mind 2 clear issues.

One, schools need to know what they expect from their entrepreneurial initiatives and staff them appropriately. And two, aspiring entrepreneurship educators need to educate themselves in those activities outlined in Zones 3 and 4.

When I was at Eastman and building its Institute for Music Leadership, one of the last efforts I made was to lead the acquisition of a grant from the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation to build an entrepreneurship education component across the University of Rochester. I believe that the simple uniqueness of a music school taking the lead in a university proposal (and the fact that the proposal was well-prepared) got us the grant. I thought I knew a lot about entrepreneurship, but very quickly learned that I knew little. I was an expert in Zones 1 and 2, with a bit of Zone 3. I needed to aggressively educate myself: by reading works and periodicals by leading business scholars (Harvard Business Review is strongly recommended), but attending conferences and seminars in the field, and perhaps most of all, by networking with leading entrepreneurs, business leaders and business school scholars.

Believe me, it has been an eye-opener, how little we in the arts know about the field of entrepreneurship!


  1. Jim: Your four “zones” are analogous to what I refer to as a continuum of arts entrepreneurship theory and practice from “Habits of Mind” at one end through “New Venture Creation” at the other. This continuum is articulated more fully in the inaugural issue of Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts here:
    I hope you will consider developing your thoughts on the topic into a formal essay and submitting same for consideration for publication in our next issue:

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