Arts Entrepreneurship: Education, Theory, and Practice
- Joe RobertsJoe RobertsManagement Department, Webster University
There are no clear definitions of entrepreneurship and art. It is therefore difficult to explain and theorize arts entrepreneurship education. Here, what artists think about these issues in the United States, India, and Mexico is explored. Suggestions made by artists were examined and included in the proposed arts entrepreneurship education theory. Artists stated that they do experience lack of business skills that arts entrepreneurship education can help them acquire. These business and aesthetic skill sets are needed to make a living as an artist. The Coleman Fellows Program provided an opportunity to test the arts entrepreneurship theory constructs being proposed. The results from these tests are included the article.
The 2017 annual Strategic National Arts Alumni study reported that artists continue to suffer from several skill gaps. Of these, financial, business management, and entrepreneurship skills were identified as the main gaps that continue to plague artists. This is troubling because numerous educational and training efforts have been underway to address these and other skill gaps since at least the early 2000s. However, they have not closed these skill gaps. A modified arts entrepreneurship education theory is proposed in order to do so. Artists who acquire these skills should have a higher probability of success making a living practicing their art form. The article proposes three arts entrepreneurship education theory constructs, namely collaborative pedagogies utilizing the modules infusion method, entrepreneurial universities where these pedagogies can be tested and improved, and effectively managing the commodification of arts. Supporting evidence is provided for the three constructs, along with examples of the modules of entrepreneurship content for infusion. Implications and recommendations for future arts entrepreneurship education programs are provided and discussed.