I write from Nashville, TN, a nationally recognized music city and a burgeoning arts town.
As an actor, community arts project manager, theatre producer, and staff member of an arts service organization, my days bustle with arts leaders, new and seasoned. They provide the spark for the city’s growth. And those stepping forward as new leaders will define the future of the creative sector.
When I look around at my ensemble and community, I see common characteristics that will weave through our individual impact as emerging leaders.
In this blog series I will explore three of those characteristics: who we are, how we will work in the arts and why we will dedicate so much of our hearts to it.
Who are we?
We are artists first and manager-janitors out of necessity. We are arts entrepreneurs.
From crowdfunding to self-publishing, it is becoming increasingly easy to take this do-it-yourself approach to making art.
“Film is an ever more do it yourself word,” said Coke Sams at a recent Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville seminar on alternative funding options for art projects. Coke is a producer at Nashville-based Ruckus Films and part of the team for the Blue Like Jazz film, the most successful film project in Kickstarter history raising over $345,000.
As Nashville arts continue to grow, the most innovative work is coming from unlikely places and leaders. It starts in a kitchen or coffee shop with a leader who is not solely an administrator but also a practicing artist taking the initiative to produce his own project. They have one thing in common—their entrepreneurial attitude.
Thanks to financial and programmatic flexibility, arts entrepreneurs are launching festivals, publishing books, building partnerships, and making an impact on the city of Nashville.
With institutions and economies changing, arts making of all kinds is an ever more do-it-yourself enterprise.
This next generation of arts entrepreneurs is willing and capable of making the art, building the budget, and taking out the trash.
Did my definition of who we are match yours? Share in the comments below.
Next time I will tackle How we work.