Entrepreneurship and the Arts 2017-12-14T16:30:50+00:00

Entrepreneurship and the Arts

National Gathering for Social Entrepreneurs
A panel discussion on “Arts Organizations and Social Enterprise” was convened at the Third National Gathering for Social Entrepreneurs on November 30, 2001.  Featured in the discussion were: David Dower, Artistic Director of Z-Space, a San Francisco nonprofit that assists artists in the production of new performances; Bill Aguado, CEO of the Bronx Council of the Arts, a NYC nonprofit organization that funds arts organizations and trains low-income people to become art handlers; and Abe Meyer, Executive Director of ArtWorks, a Seattle based nonprofit that trains young people coming out of the juvenile justice system to paint murals and learn about team work and social skills.

ArtWorks developed in 1996 from the desire of the SODO Business Association to clean up trash and graffiti along the busway in Seattle’s industrial zone. A plan was developed to enrich the surroundings and discourage graffiti by creating murals throughout this area now known as the SODO Urban Art Corridor. ArtWorks employs, trains, and mentors a “Base Crew” of at-risk youth ages 14-18 (most of whom are on probation). These are good kids in bad situations and the positive environment we provide can make all the difference in the world. Experienced artist mentors work in supportive relationships with youth in the hands-on process of designing, painting and installing murals throughout Seattle. Youth also participate in numerous other activities designed to develop job and life skills.

Emergence Gallery, Seattle’s premiere youth facilitated arts space opened in 2002 as another new venture  developed by ArtWorks.

Z Space Studio is a haven where artists can develop a work’s artistic vision as well as its market viability. Z Space itself is the love child of a union between art and business. Rather than withering under the blaze of the new economy, Z Space has flourished, expanding programs and last fall even creating Foghouse Productions, a profit-generating production company designed to provide an alternative theater venue and be a source of revenue for the Z Space Studio programs, which abound. In addition to the Artists in Residence program, Z Space fosters new musical theater and community forums and hosts discussions on issues facing the theater community.

Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) is celebrating its 40th year as a private, non-profit membership organization that is the official cultural agency of Bronx County. Recognized nationally as a leading arts service organization in providing cultural services and arts programs, BCA serves a multicultural constituency in excess of 1.2 million residents. Basic Cultural Services include direct financial support to individual artists and non-profit organizations, information services, technical assistance, education and community programming, advocacy and the operation of our Longwood Arts Project, an exhibition gallery and cyber arts program, and the Bronx Writers Center, an initiative dedicated to the creative and professional development of our writers. BCA  designs and implements programs that focus attention on issues of concern to Bronx residents including: job training, financial stabilization, independent contracting, business startups, environmental concerns, and health related issues. BCA actively develops partnerships with the private sector, educational institutions, social service agencies and community organizations for program support.

Seattle (King County) WA Creates a Self-Financing Arts Authority Sept. 23, 2002

The Metropolitan King County Council has approved a new Cultural Development Authority. The Cultural Development Authority (CDA) evolved from the Office of Cultural Resources, a King County public agency. CDA is a public development authority that combines public stewardship with the agility of the private sector and the legal authority to issue bonds and raise money in various other ways. The CDA offers a variety of programs and services that enhance opportunities to participate in arts, heritage, historic preservation, and public art. CDA began operations on January 1, 2003.

As an agency supported substantially through the county’s general fund, the Office of Cultural Resources would have faced severe budget restraints over the next several years had it remained a general fund agency. The new Cultural Development Authority (CDA) will be a quasi- public agency separate from county government and will manage all programs and cultural services currently overseen by the Office of Cultural Resources, except for the Landmarks Program, which will remain in county government. Though still receiving funding for its grant programs from the County’s Hotel-Motel Tax, the CDA is also looking towards new areas of earned income generation such as helping finance artists housing and spaces in historic buildings, and being a consulting resources to agencies with arts and related missions. The CDA will be managed by a 15-member board of directors appointed by the executive and confirmed by the council. An innovative new model for public support of culture, the CDA combines public sector resources and accountability with private sector entrepreneurial responsiveness.

Arts and Community Building: A Case Study of How Community Building Can Drive Earned Income

The Frye Art Museum in Seattle is in a position many cultural institutions would envy. The Frye doesn’t depend on annual fund raising, individual endowments, and etc. like most museums. The Frye lives off of the income of the Frye Real Estate Trust. The Trust owns tens of warehouses in the South Seattle Industrial District and their profits drive the overhead and programs of the Frye. The will of Charles Frye, the founder, specified that the Frye should not even charge an admission fee.

Since the core collection of the Frye is mostly the 19th Century German paintings that Mr. Frye, a German immigrant favored, the Frye has had a somewhat limited appeal to the general community. This has been mitigated, in part, by the superb renovation and expansion of the museum completed in 1995 and the professional administration of the Museum under Richard V. West, formerly director of the Santa Barbara and Newport (RI) art museums before coming to the Frye in 1995. Still the museum often had lower attendance than other institutions in the area and a dearth of visitors who are persons of color.

In 1998 I began planning a show with Mr. West to feature the work of Allan Rohan Crite an under recognized Boston painter, as well as an artist of color. This show involved the close cooperation of the Boston Athenaeum, the major holder of Crite’s work from the 1930’s and 40’s, as well as involvement of private collectors, a church, and several other museums (Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Afro-American History Museum, Boston, Museum of the Nat’l Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston).

What I loved about the work besides Allan’s wonderful very personal technique (shaped by his study at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School) was the warm representation of his neighborhood and community. In an era (1930-1948) when African-Americans were most often depicted in art as farmers and jazz musicians, Crite depicted them just as urban people doing the ordinary things city dwellers do: talking, walking with their families, going to church, holding hands with their lovers. Crite, a member of the Episcopal Church, like many African-Americans in New England, had a very personal relationship with the Church and his religion, and religious themes often permeated the ordinary reality of his paintings (e.g., a painting of a Black Madonna and Child riding unnoticed, on a City bus)

The Crite show also represented an opportunity to forge a closer relationship between the Frye and communities of color in Seattle. An exhibition support committee was formed, initially to raise money, and when that was rendered unnecessary by increased Trustee support, to honor community members for their community service. The committee decided to honor Ron Sims, the King County Executive, Gwen Knight, artist and the widow of distinguished Seattle painter Jacob Lawrence, and Harvey Drake, President of Emerald City Outreach Ministries (ECOM), which became a partner to the Frye in their outreach efforts.

The artist who was 90 years old at the time appeared at his opening and spoke along with Executive Sims, Gwen Knight, and Congressman Jim McDermott. That same weekend Mr. Crite attended the opening of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle annual art show and received a standing ovation. He also spoke to a large crowd in ECOM’s auditorium in South Seattle. The Museum sent its arts educator out of the museum for the first time in order to give classes at ECOM’s South Seattle summer academy program.

The upshot of this was a significant upswelling of attendance at the Frye, particularly by persons of color. This was accentuated by a great deal of Crite media coverage, a beautiful 64 page Crite catalog distributed by the University of Washington Press, and a follow-on show at the Frye, “Scenes of American Life” which featured a number of artists of color including several from Seattle. (This show, featuring another painting by Crite, coming to the Frye from the Smithsonian American Art Museum was the happy result of the connection made to borrow material for the Crite exhibit)

The contrast between the Frye of pre-1994 with mostly empty halls and the Frye of Summer 2001 with few or no available weekend parking spaces or table space in the café was extreme. (This period was only matched by that of the Frye reopening in 1995). The extra income engendered by the Crite show from the Café and Bookstore sales was also quite significant to the budget of the Frye. (Mark Pomerantz)

Emerald City ministries joins unusual alliance with the Frye

Everyday life of everyday people rendered large by Boston artist

Photos of Allan Crite exhibit at Frye Art Museum

Crite exhibit information

More Crite exhibit information

Allan Crite News Video 2010
Entrepreneurship in the Arts (note: university educators who teach courses for artists on how to be entrepreneurial-mp)

Entrepreneurship in the Arts is a special interest group organized under the auspices of the Articles of Incorporation of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) to promote and encourage the development and advancement of programs and services in the specific entrepreneurship field and to provide a forum for information exchange.

The Entrepreneurship in the Arts Interest Group’s purpose is to promote awareness, interest and investment in Arts Entrepreneurship. Arts Entrepreneurship includes, but is not limited to, performing and visual arts, entertainment, media, gaming, and other “arts” as defined by the individual consumer.

To meet this purpose the Interest Group intends to focus on bringing  knowledge of Arts Entrepreneurship to practitioners, artists, arts students and educators to enhance the ability to successfully assess and meet the needs of the field.

Leadership of the Group is elected annually by the Group membership; questions relative to Group mission, membership; annual work program and objectives should be directed to one of the following members of the leadership team:

Group Co-Chair

James Hart
Southern Methodist University
Tel: 214-768-7659
Email: jdhart@mail.smu.edu

Group Co-Chair

Megan Matthews
UW-W College of Arts & Communication
Tel: 262-472-1142


Establish a team of Entrepreneurship in the Arts members who will be responsible for the development of an action plan for information sharing among the Entrepreneurship in the Arts community within USASBE and at large.  This includes but is not limited to;

    • Establishing a database of schools currently associated with USASBE, which have Entrepreneurship in the Arts related programs.
    • Establish a database of schools currently associated with USASBE which have Arts programs without Entrepreneurship in the Arts related programs
    • Establish a database of schools currently not associated with USASBE, which have Arts programs without Entrepreneurship in the Arts related programs.
    • Develop a depository of best practices for teaching Entrepreneurship in the Arts.
    • Developing a repository of documents and/or Web links to Entrepreneurship in the Arts resources (establishing a single go to source for all of the above)

Establish a means for promoting joint research among interest group members

Increase communication and participation among interest group members; therefore increase overall benefit to both the Arts community and USASBE

Work toward the development of case studies relevant to teaching Entrepreneurship in the Arts, culminating in a competitive process or some other incentive to participate.

Investigate if conducting regional workshops/sessions (i.e. Self Employment in the Arts) would serve further the Interest Group’s mission.