Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

A Playground for the 21st Century Artist Entrepreneur

In Art, Cooking & Food, Current Events, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on November 28, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Eight years and $200 million in the making, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, or Empac, resembles an enormous 1950s-era television set on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

But inside are not old-fashioned vacuum tubes but the stuff of 21st-century high-tech dreams dedicated to the marriage of art and science as it has never been done before, its creators say — 220,000 square feet of theaters, studios and work spaces hooked to supercomputers.

Within its walls, scientists can immerse themselves in data and fly through a breaking wave or inspect the kinks in a DNA molecule, artists can participate in virtual concerts with colleagues in different parts of the world or send spectators on trips through imaginary landscapes, and architects can ponder their creations from the inside before a single brick or two-by-four has been put in place.

As a facility, the new 220,000 square-foot center is like no other, boasting unrivaled presentation and production capabilities: a 1200-seat concert hall designed to the highest acoustical standards; an intimate 400-seat theater; and two highly flexible studio spaces, configurable as traditional black-box theaters or as fully immersive environments. Linked to a massive supercomputer, EMPAC’s potential for art and science spans the physical and virtual worlds and the spaces in between.

The EMPAC building’s conception and construction include many firsts relating to acoustics, theatrical and media presentation, structural integrity, lighting, heating and ventilation. The building is an extraordinary architectural statement. An international architectural competition led to the selection of the acclaimed British firm, Grimshaw, and to the building’s bold architectural conception.

Dedicated to advancing research and artistic production at the intersection of technology, media and the performing arts, EMPAC is poised to be a major contributing force in many artistic and technological domains. A main focus and major emphasis at EMPAC is the development and production of new works in the performing and media arts. Projects, residencies and productions at EMPAC will come from all domains of time-based arts, including but not limited to video, dance, music, theater, internet art, DVD productions, interactive installations, and multimedia art. Some pieces that are created or presented at EMPAC may grow out of the media-rich environment of EMPAC and could travel to other venues, nationally and internationally, others works may be site-specific to EMPAC.

As a facility and an environment, EMPAC will serve as a magnet to artists in a wide variety of time-based disciplines – performance, theatre, dance, music and film/video. The facility opened on October 3rd, 2008 and now offers artists residencies and commissions which include a rare and powerful combination: time to experiment in performance and production spaces of the highest quality combined with a technologically advanced infrastructure. As part of its mission to support artistic production with resources and facilities which are project-specific, EMPAC will provide access to equipment, expertise, rehearsal space, research, or other support as part of a commission, according to the needs of that project.

Here is an example of one of EMPAC’s commissioned projects, “There Still is Time… Brother”:

Commissioned by EMPAC, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [USA], produced by EMPAC together with the UNSW iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research [AUS], and the ZKM | Institute for Visual Media [D] and in collaboration with The Wooster Group,THERE IS STILL TIME.. BROTHER« is a commission for an installation that consists of an interactive projection for a 360° screen.


The commission is rooted in the recording of a Wooster Group performance developed specifically to be viewed as a projection on a 360° screen. The video is revealed by way of a window that scans around the screen, never showing the whole of the projection at once. The window is controlled by an audience member or performer who selects which part of the 360° video to reveal at any given time. However, it is clear that the sections of the video that are revealed are all unfolding in one, continuous 360° space and that there is some kind of linear timeline to the sections of the performance that we are watching unfold.

This piece challenges the notions of linear narrative in theater or film by creating a time-based theatrical experience that can be experienced in a new way each time it is “performed” by the individual controlling the interface which dictates that which we see and hear in the immersive space of spacialized sound and projection. The viewer is involved in an immersive process of discovery where their chosen point of view creates the dramaturgy of the piece and literally activates the story.

President Dr. Jackson said Rensselaer prides itself on interdisciplinary research and hands-on engineering learning, has a tradition of electronic arts, which includes a major in games and simulations. A performance center had been part of a long-range plan she and the trustees approved in 2000. The concept of Empac was born, she said, when she and her advisers decided to combine art with the problem of making sense of data, a problem that she said lay at the nexus of art, science, technology, cognitive perception and learning.

In 2001, an anonymous donor gave the university $360 million, one of the largest private grants ever made to an American university, enabling Dr. Jackson to jump-start not just Empac but other elements of her plan as well. That gift was later augmented by $40 million from Curtis R. Priem, one of the founders of Nvidia, a maker of graphics processors, and for whom the center will be officially named.

This center is a 21st Century Artists dream come true. Is there a project or an idea you would like to undertake with Empact?

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s oldest technological university, offering degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, the humanities and social sciences. It is pre-eminent in research into biotechnology, nanotechnology, IT, and the media arts and technology. In addition to its MFA program, RPI offers bachelor degrees in Electronic Arts, and in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication – one of the first undergraduate programs of its kind in the United States.

Closing “The Gap” Inside of You

In BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Emotional Intelligence on November 25, 2008 at 9:33 am

Today I was working with a clarinet customer in the shop. She is a graduate student and next May will be out of school. This talented clarinetists who besides playing well, knits, sews, paints and makes jewelry, was telling me how most of her friends are unhappy and lacking in the know how to be more entrepreneurial, and as a result are working day jobs they hate.

Ironically, on the way home tonight in the car, I heard this author Michelle DeAngellis, speaking about her new book: Get a Life That Doesn’t Suck.

Given that Thursday is Thanksgiving, and with this rotten economy we might all need to dig a little deeper to find a place to feel thankful, maybe a good place to start is with giving a little bit first to ourselves to get us in the mood. Sometimes the quickest way to feeling better is to get a grip on what’s bugging us in life.

According to Michelle, life sucks because of “the Gap.”

The “Gap” is the measurable difference between your thoughts and your actions; it’s the difference between what you think and what you do. It is also known as the place where misery lives. Your Gap points out how in or out of sync your behavior is with your professed beliefs. A big Gap means they’re out of sync, which sucks.

People who are unhappy generally have a lot of gaps. They don’t speak the truth, they hide who they are, do things unconsciously, wait for something to happen “to” them, and search for meaning but don’t take the steps necessary to achieve it.

Here are the symptoms of a Gap just begging to be closed:

You don’t have much love in your life, not even for yourself.
You don’t hold yourself accountable.
You have no faith.
You feel uncertain and anxious.
You have “your way” of doing things and that’s it.
You live in fear and lack.
You are rigid and inflexible.
You don’t have good boundaries.
You don’t take care of yourself.
You think everything and everyone is a pain in the neck.

Want to learn from Michelle how to start to close your own gaps? Click here and take her quiz.

Artists: Marketing/Sales Strategy and Planning Workshop

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Risk on November 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Hey all you BETA readers, (BETA stands for Blog Entrepreneur The Arts, and also works as a great metaphor, don’t you think?) I would like to make this bog increasingly “virtual”. By that I mean that we, as a body of interested BETA readers, become part of a global community of artistic entrepreneurial supporters and friends.

One of the great things about blogs, is that in addition to reading something of interest often you can find a new source of information through links found both inside the post as well as through comments left by others. And if you leave a comment, make sure to leave your website address for others for this very reason-to be able to connect! By all means use this site as an opportunity to meet someone new to say “Hello, I read your comment on the ETA blog..and” (What do you have to lose? Nothing. It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, remember?)

So in the spirit of going global I want to remind all of you that selectively, as they role in, I will offer localized posts on workshops, events, projects or openings that serve this readership and are about people and places we should be in the “know” about anyway. Just email me your details about your next upcoming ?? so we can get you into the limelight.

Here, listed below, is one of those exact kinds of posts from Adrienne Fritze– a dynamite resource for artists located in Portland Oregon. If you live anywhere near Portland, or are willing to get there, check out this fantastic workshop she is offering and at a minimum go and check out her site too and say “hi”- after all you already have ETA in common, right?

“If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master.” – Francis Bacon

Wouldn’t you, the independent artist or creative, love to have a reliable, step-by-step path to selling your work and services to people who want them?

I couldn’t find anything like that out there when I began my arts career. So I took everything I’d learned as an Ad Gal working with the world’s largest interactive advertising agency, broke it down into bite sized pieces and developed the Guerilla Exhibitor workshops for artists and creatives.

I know that developing marketing mastery is key to your sustained success, and this workshop is the foundation for that development. You will leave this workshop with:
1. Practical knowledge in how to plan and strategize your marketing, which you will be able to replicate as you grow your business;
2. An Action Plan that you can immediately implement;
3. Confidence in knowing where you are headed in your business

If you know this is something you want to do, skip to the bottom of this promotion and call in or register online. If you’d like a bit more information, please read on.

A Bit About Marketing from the Guerilla Exhibitor’s Point-of-View
The goal of marketing is sales. How you reach that goal is referred to as your Marketing & Sales Plan.

A critical piece of that plan is Branding, and the key components to defining your brand are knowing your: Vision, Mission and Products [including Services]. Your Market is the people who want what you have to offer. Knowing these key components leads you to your Strategy for getting the word out about your products, and receiving money in exchange for them.

Once you’ve defined how you’ll implement your strategy, you will have created your Marketing and Sales Plan.

This workshop assumes you know your Vision, Mission and Products*, and focuses on these three points of your Market:

Profiling: who wants what you have to offer
Where they Hang Out: Knowing and having access to the places where they spend their time – online, meetings, events, magazines, clubs, activities, etc.
The How’s Have It: Defining how to reach them so they know you have what they want and how to get it.

*If you feel you do not have all the necessary pieces ready to take on this workshop, send an e-mail to a@workingartistsonline.comand ask for the FREE worksheet “Capturing Your Vision and Mission, Defining Your Products and Services” and fill in the blanks with your information. If you still feel lost, get in touch with Adrienne to discuss the best way for you to get up to speed to be ready for this workshop. She may be reached at 503-349-6075 or

Now is the time to think critically about how you will survive, and thrive, and planning is the key.

Here’s how the day will go:
Defining Your Market
Profiling Who
Where They Hang Out

Reaching Your Market
Physical markets

Setting Goals in Time
What Actions You’ll Take
Defining Your Tangible Goals

Details about the Where, When and How of the Workshop:

LOCATION: souk, 322 NW 6th Avenue, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97209 []

DATE/TIME: Saturday December 6th, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

EARLY BIRD | $85/participant [Register by 11/22/08]
WEEK OF EVENT | $125/participant [Register between 11/23-12/5]
Register Online at: or call 503.349.6075

Your Course Leader:
Adrienne Fritze has a checkered 35 year background in the world of self employment, as corporate executive and now as an artpreneur and educator. A sampling of her experience includes publishing magazines and role-playing whodunits, managing interactive marketing projects for companies like Samsung USA and now as a practicing artist and business educator. She lives in Portland Oregon with her extended family, and is the brain and brawn behind Working Artists LLC

The Global Unleashing of Ideas

In Current Events, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 19, 2008 at 11:27 am

The theme for Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is occurring as I write this post, is Unleashing Ideas. This is the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week- what a great idea around a topic we need globally to be unified around. Certainly, an ideas whose time has come.

So what are you doing this week to become more entrepreneurial that will unleash your freshest and newest thoughts and ideas? What do you think might happen if you could find a few new people to join forces with who are interested in entrepreneurship just like you are? How much faster could you take your ideas and turn them into something real with a few more entrepreneurial minds working together?

Be spontaneous this week. Quickly organize an ‘Entrepreneurs Coffee’ get together for Saturday morning at a local hang out. Or get out and network in a place you never have been before. Talk about entrepreneurship and what you want to do or are doing. See who you connect with. It might surprise you what happens with the new connections you make.

Contestant #3: Chuck DeWolfe

In Art, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Marketing, Money, Risk, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 17, 2008 at 12:47 am


Written by Chuck DeWolfe

My name is Chuck DeWolfe I am 42 and have been working for my self since I was 12. When I was 18 I left my parents house and traveled for 15 years. In that time I received a BS in Art therapy and an MFA in fine art, had over 100 art shows collaborated with over 30 other artists and ran my own Gallery. I have worked in over 10 artists’ communities as a student, resident artist, visiting artist, art fellow, grant recipient, teacher, mentor and professional artist.

After chasing a tenure track position for several years I decided to stop and move back east and recover from what had been a very challenging four-year period of poverty, mental instability, bad personal relationships and enough drama to write my own HBO pilot – I was 33.

When I stopped moving I realized that from all my rich experiences and all the many respected people that I had created art with and for, I had nothing to show for it accept a truck which at the time I was sleeping in, and good number of lines on my resume.

I combined a free real estate class and some research in to a foster care business. I bought a 30-ache farm with a negative balance of -179.76 in my checking account. Began living with 3 to 4 boys’ ages 9 to 17 full time. I continued to show my artwork, invest in real estate and build my foster care business. After five years developing my program I gave the program to the state of Vermont. I began to research how I would work as an artist full time and share what I had learned about being an entrepreneur with other artists.

I studied the coaching model and began to coach artists one on one and started to study on line marketing and over the last two years have built up a small business working with people on line, selling my coaching programs and negotiating art coaching globally.

I had to overcome several personal changes surrounding money, marketing, selling, and a heroic identity as an artist that just did not serve my goals as an entrepreneur. When I started this project I did not email people. Now I have several web sites and communicate globally with hundreds of artists all over the US and abroad.

I have participated in and with exchanges with some of the most influential Internet marketers in the worlds today. All of which look at me a little side ways because they know, as I do, that artists are not going to pay you much to help them market, sell and promote their work.

Presently I am commented to unlocking the doorways in which creativity and art can meet with commerce and community. Offering to individuals a way at looking at themselves not only as artist but also as entrepreneurs. I will confess it has not been easy and for all my efforts my business is struggling in the face of what has been 2 years of perpetual work and striving to create a viable business on line serving artists.

I am committed to coaching and to looking at “creativity as currency” working with artists, and other creatives, in a financial structure that is dynamic and aggressively poignant in today’s world, to transform the ideas of so many into pragmatic solutions and uncover what at times is “the miracle” and the mystery of art and financial prosperity.

Respectfully – Chuck DeWolfe

NEA Chairman Position Opens in 2009

In Current Events, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles on November 14, 2008 at 8:00 pm

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia is leaving in January 2009.

10-13-2008: National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia announced that he will leave his position as the head of the Arts Endowment in January 2009. After his departure from the NEA, Gioia will return to his writing career, his primary occupation prior to leading the Endowment. In January, he will join the Aspen Institute on a half-time basis as the first Director of the Harman/Eisner (H/E) Program in the Arts.

So who will take his place? I have heard through the grapevine that Robert Freeman, former Dean of The Eastman School of Music and University of Texas-Austin, is on the short list of possible replacements. While I am uncertain, based on conversations with Bob, if he would take the position he certainly would be an excellent choice and the kind of advocate that would endorse entrepreneurship in the arts!

To read the rest of the press release regarding Dana Giola’s departure click here:

Marketing “All About Beauty” by Kelly

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Health & Wellness, Marketing on November 14, 2008 at 3:15 am

Kelly Penick is a sophomore at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Kelly has been blogging about her experiences starting her business. To read more of Kelly’s blog posts go to the category cloud and look under Health and Wellness.

Promoting Now For Future Returns written by college sophomore Kelly Penick

I have been thinking about different ways to expand awareness of my name and business on campus. Since my parents have a local business, the Penick name does have familiarity and professional recognition in Watauga County. I want to take my last name and tie it in with not just a construction business, but also now an esthetics business, “All About Beauty by Kelly.” Since I am still new to the business and building in revenue, I have my business cards that I developed through Vistaprint. This is the only logo design associated with me at this time. The design is simple but I feel expresses my personality as a girly female, as well as looking fabulous with a beauty emphasis. Check out the end of this post to get a glimpse at the design!

My thinking is that if I promote a special on facials during November and December, I could get not only increased business traffic due to the significant price reduction for a treatment during this stressful end of semester/exam time, but also the potential for future clients and repeat business..

I want to specifically use my status as a student to my advantage, and promote myself through the Assoc. of Student Entrepreneur’s Club. It is a highly recognized student organization, and if I were an outsider to campus, and not affiliated with a club, I could not promote my own career here. Fortunately there are many females on ASU’s campus, all of whom I could target, ranging from the student body, faculty, and administration. Having exposure to all of these different levels would help me greatly in the way of advertising. I know several people in Boone because this is my home town, and conveniently, the same location of my university campus.

I feel that by beginning this promotion in the middle of November, I could take it on into December and promote the experience of having a European Facial, as something wonderfully relaxing at a time when everyone is moving into the hectic holiday season, and in the case of the students and professors, into the stressful time of college exams.

I intend to make this promotion known largely through mass campus-wide emails. I have to look further into that process and see if I am capable of reaching all potential females that I would like to reach by this method. When I promote myself off campus, I will make use of my business cards and flyers in local businesses. As opposed to clients paying the standard $70 for a European Facial, they would pay $35 during this promotion. Although my profit per facial would be substantially reduced, I believe the benefits to my business through the increased cliental, and hopefully, repeat business along with word of mouth advertising from satisfied clients would provide for future growth and profitability.

Right now I am taking advantage again of my own ASU email account and also facebook friends. The use of the internet is my most cost-effective tool for getting this promotion out. I have ordered 250 more business cards that I can also place in local businesses that primarily employ females.

In my next post I will have run the promotion for about a month and I will be able to share with you what the best promotion method proved to be, due to the most responses. I am interested to see where the most responses will come from: since I am targeting students, faculty, close friends and family.


Nov 17-23 Global Entrepreneurship Week

In Current Events on November 13, 2008 at 3:47 am

Entrepreneurship Contests are springing up all over. Check this one out during Global Entrepreneurship Week!

Teams from high schools, community college and Fresno State will be participating in the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week Challenge called “The Edge.”

For one week, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement to generate new ideas and seek better ways of doing things. More than 70 countries are coming together to host Global Entrepreneurship Week, a global initiative to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination, and creativity.

The focus of this week is:

To think big.
To turn ideas into reality.
To make a mark.

WHEN: Thursday, November 20, 2008, starting at 3:00 pm
WHERE: Lyles Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Fresno State

The challenge will be won by taking a group of everyday objects and creating a make believe or real product from the items. Remember, entrepreneurship requires creativity, innovation and the ability to leverage resources to create value . . . you must challenge assumptions, seize opportunities, and be creative!

Each team will present their idea and product to the judges.

Whoever successfully creates a product for their target group with the most value wins. Sound simple? Maybe…or maybe not.

How will you demonstrate your creativity and innovation? Do you accept the challenge?

Each team of four students will receive a box of objects and a target audience. The objects will not be made known until this time.

Teams will have 30 minutes to create their product and their presentation. Each 3 minute presentation must include:

The name of the product
The features of the product
The benefits your product offers to customers

Criteria for judging:
o Creativity
o Degree of risk taken
o Degree of entertainment


Footnote to Our Readers: Contestant #2 Spiked Our Blog Stats

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants on November 12, 2008 at 1:05 am

Contestant #2 Spiked Our Blog Stats using geurrilla marketing to promote his contest submission. Good job Dewey Chaffee getting the word out and drumming up support.


Without a doubt, this contest offers you the potential to flex and test your marketing muscle.

In addition to reader support we are looking for great content, a great idea and sincere feedback from what you have written as well.

Who will be next to submit? Are you willing to try?

The brain experiment that went wrong

In Creative Support, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I have to thank WordPress for this one, I stumbled into this blog and it’s simply creative, funny and terrific! It is called The Dictionary of Specific Generalities and run by Dave Birss from London. Dave is one of the founding partners of Unchained. Unchained is a guide to the best independent shops. “All unchained shops are unique, one-offs. None of them are multinational chains, they’re owned and run by real people with a passion for what they sell. Have a look to find anything from the little hidden gems to first-of-a-kind, world-famous boutiques.”

Pretty cool guy with a great blog and creative entrepreneurial business. Here is a recent post, from Nov 6th, that inspired me to want to share it with you:


Many years before Unchained, when I was still an eager young advertising copywriter, I decided to do a little experiment to see if I could make myself more creative. My thinking went like this: to be creative you need to break out of established patterns and do things differently – so if I applied this principal to every area of my life, I’d become more creative in general.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So I duly embarked on my little experiment. I would try to do even the most mundane things differently every time to see what happened.

When I woke up in the morning, I’d randomly pick what side of the bed I got out of (sometimes slipping out of the bottom of the covers to make it interesting). I’d then decide what order to do my ablutions. And I’d brush my teeth in a different way – sometimes starting by scrubbing my top left molars, other times starting by polishing my incisors. I’d put my clothes on in a different order (but always underpants before trousers) and vary my route to the office.

This would go on all day, trying to make sure that I didn’t slip into any pattern. I would even pay attention to my vocabulary and try not to use linguistic crutches like ‘cool’, ‘no way Hosé’ and ‘that’s the badger!’ Patterns were the route to formulaic thinking, after all, and that didn’t have a place in my life. No sirree.

I did this for months and got better at it as time went on. Every time I saw a pattern emerging, I’d break it. The one habit I got into was pausing before I did anything so that I could do it differently to the way I did it last time.

I must have been an infuriating bugger to everyone around me.

On the plus side, the experiment worked. I did indeed feel more creative. I was coming up with more ideas – although I don’t know if I actually came up with any better ideas – but I felt a bit more sparky and innovative.

But there was one drawback. Quite a big drawback: I was no longer a fully functional human being.

I realised it one day as I stood in the kitchen trying to work out how to make myself a coffee. What equipment was needed for this task? Where could I find it? In what order did I use it? Everything had become a conscious decision and I was wasting a lot of time and energy doing everyday tasks that I previously didn’t need to think about. And that meant that I had less time and energy left to actually use my mind in a creative way.

I discovered something that I’d learned about during my university psychology courses. The mind automatically bundles tasks together to allow you to operate in autopilot. Most people don’t think about how they make a coffee – they just do it and can hold a conversation while their hands get on with the well-trodden tasks. I had broken most of these little task bundles. And it was making my life harder and harder to live.

It took me most of a year to feel pretty much back to normal again. And I wouldn’t recommend that you try anything as stupid as this yourself.

Has anyone else buggered about with their mind in a way that they shouldn’t have? I’d be interested in hearing your story.

‘Race to Be’ Arts Entrepreneurship Contest Selects Finalists

In Current Events on November 10, 2008 at 6:57 am

November 06, 2008
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fifteen young filmmakers, music artists and fashion designers have been selected to compete in a nationwide creative entrepreneurship competition, the Race to BE. Hosted by artist and entrepreneur Russell Simmons, the Race to BE. is the signature U.S. event for the worldwide initiative Global Entrepreneurship Week, which encourages young people to leverage their artistic abilities into entrepreneurial endeavors.

The film competition, BE. The Story, hosted by Simmons, will kick off the Race and Global Entrepreneurship Week/USA at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles on Nov. 17. Two days later on Nov. 19, the music leg of the race, BE. The Sound, will take place in Austin at Austin Scottish Rite Theatre. Traveling east to New York City on Nov. 21, the Race will culminate in the fashion challenge, BE. The Style at the New York Stock Exchange. Simmons will take part in the final presentations and announce the three winners of the nationwide Race to BE. that evening.

Hundreds of young entrepreneurs from more than 22 states applied to compete in the Race to BE, with some applicants coming from as far as the United Kingdom.

The 15 finalists competing to be the movie, music and fashion moguls of tomorrow are:


* Benjamin Sinclair, viral filmmaker/actor/entrepreneur, New York
* Ryan Pickett, filmmaker, from Nashville, TN
* Bryan Pasian, animator/voice actor/filmmaker, from New York
* Daniel Uribe, creator of and video producer, from Lakewood, CA
* Ben Carland, writer/director, from Los Angeles


* April Geesbrecht, singer/songwriter, from Fort Worth
* Tripp Gobble, founder of UNC record label Vinyl Records, from Louisburg, NC

* Stephanie Salvo, hip hop/soul music artist, from Austin, TX
* Adam Mcinnis, co-owner of DPR Entertainment and music artist, from Austin, TX
* Megan Tubb, music artist/lead singer of Megan Tubb & Shady People, from Austin, TX


* Ronit Genik, ready-to-wear designer, from New York
* Jessie Williams, JW Designs and Edge of Urge online boutique, from Wilmington, NC

* Vaughn Jereaux Adams, evening gown designer, from New York
* Efren Andaluz, custom air-brushed t-shirt designer, from New York
* Baruch Shemtov, custom men’s tie designer, from Boston

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to remind young people to always pursue their dreams,” said Simmons. “We all know that anything is possible with a little bit of faith, determination and resilience.”

Simmons brings a lifetime of creative entrepreneurial success to his role as host of the Race to BE., including the creation of Def Jam Records, Phat Farm and the newly launched Argyle Culture. USA Today recently named Simmons one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years.”

A winner will be selected from each competition, following an all-day mentoring workshop and presentation of his or her work. Each winner will receive a prize of $5,000, a further mentoring opportunity and national media exposure for the winning concept.

Already on board to serve as judges or mentors in the events are Ted Harbert, CEO of Comcast Entertainment; Michael de Zayas, CEO and founder of Neighborhoodies; Shannon Blake Gans, executive producer & CEO of New Deal Studios; and CEO of Nolcha, Kerry Bannigan.

More than 75 countries have joined together to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 17 – 23, 2008, with hopes of inspiring the next generation of creative thinkers. Global Entrepreneurship Week is co-founded by the U.S.-based Ewing Marion Kauffman foundation and Make York Mark in the United Kingdom. The Week is being globally sponsored by NYSE Euronext, IBM and Ernst & Young. The Race to BE. is nationally sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

For more information about the Race to BE., visit:

A webcast of the launch announcement can also be viewed at

About Global Entrepreneurship Week

With the goal to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity, Global Entrepreneurship Week will encourage youth to think big, to turn their ideas into reality, and to make their mark. From Nov. 17-23, 2008, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement to generate new ideas and to seek better ways of doing things. Thousands of activities are being planned in more than 70 countries around the world. Global Entrepreneurship Week is founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Make Your Mark campaign; sponsored by NYSE Euronext, IBM and Ernst & Young. To view a complete list of participating countries and organizations or to learn more, visit

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has more than $2.4 billion in assets. More information is available at

About the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence (AFEE)

The Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence (AFEE) is a national sponsor of Global Entrepreneurship Week/USA. Acton’s mission is to revolutionize entrepreneurial education. AFEE seeks to equip successful, principled entrepreneurs to effectively inspire, mentor and teach the next generation. Through the passing of wisdom, AFEE establishes a legacy of character-driven entrepreneurs who, in turn, have a positive influence on future generations. This chain reaction ultimately strengthens the foundation of the free market and a free society.

About the Public Forum Institute

The Public Forum Institute is the official host for Global Entrepreneurship Week/USA. In 2007 PFI successfully organized Entrepreneurship Week USA, held in all 50 states, with 1,310 partners, 3,707 activities with 481,449 participants. Following that effort, PFI met with the organizers of Enterprise Week in the UK to begin plans to take the Week global starting in November 2008.


For Kauffman Foundation
Contact Shay Pantano, 212-886-6707

Advancing Your Skills Through Mentorship- At Any Age!

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on November 10, 2008 at 12:47 am

A valuable lesson in life to learn, at any age, is that we all need help to continue to evolve and grow. My life long commitment to myself has been to follow my heart and develop its passions to the fullest with knowledge, skill and the ability to make a difference with whatever calls my name.

This first occurred to me when I realized I needed to figure out a way to leave my family home, permanently, at the age of 13. My mother was a raging alcoholic and physically and verbally abusive towards me. I lived in fear of what would happen to me and what condition she would be in when I came home from school, on a daily basis. My best friend’s mother use to cover for me often, convincing my mom that it was OK for me to stay overnight on a school night, while in middle school, just because she feared the consequences to me if I went home to my drunk, out of control, mother.

My father was a wonderful, kind, intelligent man, a Harvard graduate and a criminal lawyer for most of my youth, but also a workaholic, in denial about whom he married, and not someone who was emotionally or physically available to be there for me much.

But Thank God, my father believed in the power of education and had the resources to continuously offer to pay for any opportunity I could win, achieve or qualify for that was educationally oriented. This alone allowed me to strive for opportunities, at this very young age, to escape my mother and flee to the sanctuary of summer music camps. And then, at 13, to a private boarding school for the first year of high school, closer to home, (I skipped 5th grade) before I “graduated” to attend Interlochen Arts Academy for the rest of high school, near Traverse City, Michigan. I then went on to attend Northwestern University as a clarinet performance major.

My will and my father’s money helped me achieve these opportunities, allowing me to leave my scary mother at home and the environment that felt unsafe to me behind. So, it was early on that I learned the value of believing in yourself, and counting on yourself, to build a future that would be all you wished it to be. And I also learned that it requires both personal will and initiative, and someone’s money, or support, to do so.

And so, from that age forward, I figured out I needed lots of good examples- good examples in terms of “replacement” moms, (I have had over 10) and good examples in terms of how to steer my life in directions I wanted to go and finding the support to do so.

Yet, while I had little emotional support from family, other than financially, I cannot dismiss the value and blessing those significant resources provided and how much they brought to my life!

My current goals and artistic career aspirations have lead me to my current mentor and comrade, John Cimino, Creative Leaps Intl. And while he inspires me immensely, I will continue through out my adult life to seek out mentors to help me evolve and grow into all I can be, for the rest of my life.

Mentors have helped me learn about new subject areas by listening to them, working on projects for them or with them, reading their work or books they recommend and by being able to spend time around them to observe them. Mentors have encouraged me and expressed confidence in my ability to rise and improve in areas I asked to, with their guidance. And my mentors are responsible for my successes, truly. Without them, I would not be the person I am or be able to evolve into the person I want to become.

So, where can you find a great mentor?

Usually we meet and interact with people who inspire us. They may be someone you work with, or for, or someone who has come to your school and given a presentation or appeared in a newspaper article or a local performance. They may be someone you have in your family or inner circle in some way and have always wanted to get to know better. They may appear in the form of boss, a current school teacher, a scholarship, an award, a consultant, whom you must pay for the mentorship you need, or in the form of a book you can read.

I have found most of the people who have served as my mentors in many of the ways I just mentioned. Since I am 44, and given my history, (I have been around the block already a few times) I have had the time and sought out the opportunities to find them in all of these ways.

I do believe wisdom and skills are built increasingly with age, which is why I would also suggest that a great mentor- a person- you seek out might be at least 10 years older than you. That is not to say I have not met brilliant individuals who could serve as wonderful mentors to me who are my own age, or even younger, but often those folks are busy trying to become the person they seek to be and may be a bit short on time to be able to devote to helping either of us get ahead. Of course, there is always the occasional surprise. I encourage you to follow your gut instincts when it comes to identifying the right person, at this moment in time, whom can be of the most support to you on your journey.

When you look for mentorship, focus on a core skill you wish to improve or subject matter you would like to be able to fluidly know and utilize. If you have an upcoming show you want to sell or a new idea you want to create a business plan for, identify those individuals with specific skill sets that can help you build knowledge and skill in areas you are not sure you have mastered or are concerned your judgment might not be good, yet, enough. You can also have more than one mentor, in different areas, at a time.

If you are currently building a business, I advise all clients to have a minimum of 3 mentors; none of them family or friends, and all three selected because of their different accomplished skill sets to use in your decision making process to build your venture. Ask them to meet with you once a month individually or better all together. Ask them to meet with you individually by phone or in person weekly, for a short amount of time to bounce ideas, problems, and questions off of. Those who wish to mentor, paid for or not, really want you to succeed and will take, on some level, a personal interest in you.

So by all means, make it a priority in your life to find a mentor, regardless of where you are in your life or where your career is currently. Regardless of if you have to pay for it or not, identify what matters most to achieve the next step in your artistic entrepreneurial development and find a way to go and get it!

Trust me when I say mentorship works. Mentorship changed my life and it can change yours too.

Contestant #2 Dewey Chaffee

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm


Written by Dewey Chaffee

My name is Dewey Chaffee. I turn forty years old on December the seventh. In almost every way, I’m what people would call a “Late Bloomer.”

I am also a comedian.

I spent the first half of my life wandering from place to place, feeling lost, wondering why I was alive. The second half of my life is being spent rejoicing in the lucky discovery that I have comic timing. Extremely grateful for this gift, I work tirelessly every single day in an effort to find new ways to make people laugh.

I was never afforded the opportunity to receive a college education. For years, I was convinced that this meant that I was stupid. However, my mother was fifteen years old when I was born, so, every chance I get, I remind people that I went to high school twice.

The fact that I held no degree embarrassed me for a long time, until I was cast in a professional production alongside other “classically trained” actors who owed thousands of dollars to their acting schools. I realized that I was in the exact same place in my career as they were, and I didn’t owe anyone a nickel. I was the smart one after all.

In my family, I was the first person to graduate from high school.

In my family, I was the first person to live in a house without wheels.

In my family, I was the first person to recognize the ugliness of prejudice and vow not to be that person.

In my family, I was the first person to witness patterns of complacency and defeat and strived not to repeat them.

For a long time, I was afraid that, like my young mother, I was doomed to work a mind-numbing, dead-end factory job that I hated.

When I was much too young, I married a girl named Marie and we had a son. His name is Christopher, he is sixteen now, and he turned out just great. One of the best things about Christopher is that he doesn’t mind having a gay dad. His mother struggled with it, however. I can’t blame her. We were always fighting over who got to hang the curtains.

I was fortunate. After I lost my Ideal Family, I was given the Funny in return. Being funny healed my broken soul. Being funny gave me renewed purpose.

One day, I created a character and I named him Wayburn Sassy. Wayburn is eighty-nine years old and has declared himself an “Entertainment Legend.” He embodies the bigotry and the prejudices that I witnessed from the people who raised me. I knew from the very first moment that Wayburn appeared on stage that, with him, I had stumbled upon something special. Audiences need Wayburn. He demonstrates to us how laughable blind ignorance truly is.

The most valuable character in my life, however, is one that I did not have to create. The Universe handed him to me on a silver platter. His name is Douglas and he tolerates me better than anyone on this planet. In spite of my many faults, Douglas does everything he can to uplift and support every crazy idea that I come up with. He understands my desire to introduce Wayburn Sassy to the rest of the world.

Together, with the singular purpose of promoting Wayburn Sassy, Douglas and I formed our own comedy company called Dewey Chaffee Comedy Enterprises, LLC. In just two years, we have successfully mounted two local award-winning shows starring Mr. Sassy. We have managed to position Wayburn as a recognizable local celebrity.

Our biggest success so far: this month, we are ecstatic that Wayburn will conduct his very first celebrity interview, speaking with openly gay Hollywood star Leslie Jordan, best known as the flamboyant Beverly Leslie on Will and Grace.

Earlier this year, however, things were tough for our fledgling company. In an effort to ride the wave of Wayburn’s local success, Douglas and I opened The Blue Revue Starring Wayburn Sassy on Orlando’s tourist strip. Unfortunately, the overhead was too much for us to bear and we were forced to close the show after only three months. I had grossly underestimated the enormous advertising costs of such a production. I took the closing as a personal failure. I was devastated.

Undeterred, however, we knew that we needed to find a cheaper way to continue creating opportunities for Wayburn Sassy. Because we owned a camcorder, we decided to try the internet. Currently, we are shooting an online “web-reality” series centered around Wayburn Sassy. Entitled “Pushing Sassy,” our camera follows Wayburn to every appearance that he does. So far, we’ve completed two episodes, (each under ten minutes in length to accommodate the short attention span of today’s internet audience). We plan to launch the show in January of 2009 on both YouTube and on our own website. (

Wayburn’s career-path is modeled after the brilliant Barry Humphries and his world-reknowned alter-ego, Dame Edna. We dream of equal success. As a team, we continue to search for unique and interesting ways to get Wayburn’s face out there. One day, we envision Wayburn Sassy on a national stage.

As someone from a background of little opportunity provided him, I have had to find my own voice. My family could not foster it. Public education did not support it. Higher education was out of the question. However, I refused to see these challenges as hopeless roadblocks. Instead, I viewed them merely as hurdles that I needed to leap. I was prepared to leap then, and I am prepared to leap now.

I view Wayburn Sassy’s success as my potential salvation. I view Wayburn Sassy as my son’s college tuition. I view Wayburn Sassy as a ticket out of my day-job as a theme-park actor.

This is a lot of pressure to place upon the shoulders of an eighty-nine year-old man. But, Wayburn Sassy is an Entertainment Legend. I’m pretty sure he can handle it.

Dewey Chaffee

What Do “Going Green” and “Entrepreneurship in the Arts” Have in Common?

In Creative Support, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 7, 2008 at 8:00 am

Last week I attended the Chief Responsibility Officers (CRO) Conference in Chicago. It was the 2nd annual conference in a very new emerging industry focused around companies embracing environmentally friendly, socially responsible business practices- not all that different in its newness to the emerging industry of entrepreneurship in the arts. Jay Whitehead is responsible for the development of this new conference, the publisher of CRO Magazine. Jay is spearheading the unity for this new emerging profession and the ethical values those who attend stand for in their business practices, and unite around.

Leaders from McDonalds, Intel, Kodak, IBM, Google, Orbitz, and many other fortune 100 to 1000 companies were there. But I bet there were not more than 250 people there total- not all that different than last years attendance at the Self Employment in The Arts (SEA) Conference, and others focused on building the non traditional entrepreneurial path in the arts today.

And yet in this emerging market T.Boone Pickens and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, the founder of the 10 million dollar innovation competitions known as the X Prize both spoke to this really small crowd.

They came, despite being few in number, because those who did attend were clearly on the front line, and if not already, would become, powerful key influencers and believers in the value of this emerging market.

Sometimes, I think, we undervalue the power each of us has to influence and shape something we see that is new in the market but needed, even if it was not our idea. We wonder how leaders emerge to dominate a field and become powerful enough to create real change, becoming the sources for information, the go to people, ” the industry.” Well, here are two industry’s diametrically opposite in terms of economic strength who are developing along similar paths– from the ground up- and in that understanding lies the answer to innovation, entrepreneurial evolution and change.

Change happens with grassroots initiatives at every level. With sharing, caring and spreading the word. And sustainability and entrepreneurship in the arts have a lot in common because both are rooted in a good cause. And both are new in their development as “industries”.

One attendee at the CRO conference was Jeff Grossberg from Sky Site Property. I met Jeff by answering a blind ad when he was looking for a partner to start his green company a couple of years ago. I helped him with financial projections and considered partnering with him to build his fledgling start-up at the time, but decided it did not have enough artistry inside the business idea itself, like Creative Leaps Intl.

For those of you wondering, I am officially part of the Creative Leaps team now- currently in the role of Marketing Consultant. I suppose for sake of transparency you should know that I will write about and promote John Cimino and his team and I hope to replicate most of his work, in my own way, with John’s blessings, here in Chicago through the building of a sister Rennaisance Center that uses artistry to innovate business, sustainability, universities and government sectors while also serving as a training ground for more artists to lean how to do the same.

But back to Jeff for a moment. The insane thing about Jeff, is that he is the most amazing musician! He goes under the name of Hyper Harp. And yet Jeff for all his virtuosity and imagination cannot make a full time living playing music, like so many of us, but I applaud his entrepreneurial abilities and significant accomplishments to support his love of music through entrepreneurship, all the same. (But just imagine how much more fun Jeff could have if he could find a way to put his music into his new venture?)

So in case you were wondering what going green and entrepreneurship in the arts have in common- now you know, on a few different levels, how they do!

Yes We Can!

In Creative Support, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 5, 2008 at 11:04 am

As a Chicagoan, tonight has been an amazing evening to witness history being made in our city. Performer, I think, captures in his recording of Yes We Can! a great deal of what this moment means. teamed with director Jesse Dylan (son of Bob Dylan) to release this video. The Bob Marley-like anthem turns the Illinois senator’s January 8, 2008 New Hampshire primary-night address into lyrics performed by Will, as well as almost 40 other actors, celebrities and athletes, including John Legend, Kate Walsh, Aisha Tyler, Amber Valletta, Taryn Manning, Nicole Scherzinger, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Herbie Hancock and Nick Cannon.

The song was recorded less than a week ago in Los Angeles, and the “We Are the World”-style video features the stars reciting or singing along to the Obama speech on top of a stark black background. For a non political artist, moved by the sea of needed change that Obama symbolizes, and that so many of us have been swept up by, since this video’s release was posted on Friday, it has already garnered more than a million views on YouTube and 10 million on the host site,, according to a spokesperson for the project.

Yes We Can change our futures by embracing change and new ideas! explained his inspiration for this song, in this accompanying blog post:

I was sitting in my recording studio watching the debates…
Torn between the candidates

I was never really big on politics…
and actually I’m still not big on politics…

The outcome of the last 2 elections has saddened me…
on how unfair, backwards, upside down, unbalanced, untruthful,
corrupt, and just simply, how wrong the world and “politics” are…

So this year i wanted to get involved and do all i could early…

And i found myself torn…
because this time it’s not that simple…
our choices aren’t as clear as the last elections …
last time it was so obvious…
Bush and war
no Bush and no war…

But this time it’s not that simple…
and there are a lot of people that are torn just like i am…

So for awhile I put it off and i was going to wait until it was decided for me…

And then came New Hampshire…

And i was captivated…


I reflected on my life…
and the blessings I have…
and the people who fought for me to have these rights and blessings…

and I’m not talking about a “black thing”
I’m talking about a “human thing” me as a “person”
an American…

That speech made me think of Martin Luther King…
and Lincoln…
and all the others that have fought for what we have today…

what America is “supposed” to be…

and truth…

and thats not what we have today…
we think we are free…
but in reality terror and fear controls our decisions…

this is not the America that our pioneers and leaders fought and
died for…

and then there was New Hampshire

it was that speech…
like many great speeches…
that one moved me…
because words and ideas are powerful…

It made me think…
and realize that today we have “very few” leaders…
maybe none…

but that speech…

it inspired me…
it inspired me to look inside myself and outwards towards the world…
it inspired me to want to change myself to better the world…
and take a “leap” towards change…
and hope that others become inspired to do the same…
change themselves..
change their greed…
change their fears…
and if we “change that”
“then hey”..
we got something right…???…

1 week later after the speech settled in me…
I began making this song…
I came up with the idea to turn his speech into a song…
because that speech affected and touched my inner core like nothing in a very long time…

it spoke to me…

because words and ideas are powerful…

I just wanted to add a melody to those words…
I wanted the inspiration that was bubbling inside me to take over…

so i let it..

I wasn’t afraid to stand for something…
to stand for “change”…
I wasn’t afraid of “fear”…
it was pure inspiration…

so I called my friends…
and they called their friends…
in a matter of 2 days…
We made the song and video…

Usually this process would take months…
a bunch of record company people figuring out strategies and release dates…
all that stuff…
but this time i took it in my own hands…
so i called my friends Sarah Pantera, Mike Jurkovac, Fred Goldring, and Jesse Dylan to help make it happen…
and they called their friends..
and we did it together in 48 hours…
and instead of putting it in the hands of profit we put it in the hands of inspiration…

then we put it on the net for the world to feel…

When you are truly inspired..
magic happens…
incredible things happen…
love happens..
(and with that combination)

“love, and inspiration”

change happens…

“change for the better”
Inspiration breeds change…

“Positive change”…

no one on this planet is truly experienced to handle the obstacles we face today…
Terror, fear, lies, agendas, politics, money, all the above…
It’s all scary…

Martin Luther King didn’t have experience to lead…
Kennedy didn’t have experience to lead…
Susan B. Anthony…
Nelson Mandela…
Rosa Parks…
Anne Frank…
and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today…

no one truly has experience to deal with the world today…

they just need “desire, strength, courage ability, and passion” to change…
and to stand for something even when people say it’s not possible…

America would not be here “today” if we didn’t stand and fight for
change “yesterday”…
Everything we have as a “people” is because of the “people” who fought for
and whoever is the President has to realize we have a lot of changing to do

I’m not trying to convince people to see things how i do…
I produced this song to share my new found inspiration and how I’ve been moved…
I hope this song will make you feel…
and think…
and be inspired just like the speech inspired me…

that’s all…

Let’s all come together like America is supposed to…
Like Japan did after Hiroshima…

that was less than 65 years ago…
and look at Japan now…

they did it together…
they did it…

“We can’t?…

Are you serious..?..


Yes we can…
A United “America”
Democrats, Republicans and Independents together…
Building a new America

We can do it…

Thank you for reading and listening…

No More Starving Artists: Get a Free Button

In Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, The Idea on November 5, 2008 at 3:27 am

How many times have you and I felt that family, friends, and people we don’t even know are, in some way, typecasting us as economically naïve, foolish, or even irresponsible for pursuing our creativity? How many of us have succomb to the pressure of this typecast and gotten that safe day job because we distrusted our instincts that we could not only survive as artists but thrive?

Creating an easily identifiable economic shape from an art-form is difficult to do largely, I believe, because of how our society perceives the artistic personality. And with this typecast we are as a group labeled, or told we are destined to be, starving artists.

Those two words⎯starving artist⎯suggest that we all possess a figurative and literal willingness to die for our art- foolishly. We all know that stereotypes are not easy to change and yet in the 18th century Mozart was one example of this portrayal, and even Hollywood continues to portray artists in this same way today.

Box office successes like the film Amadeus (1984), which depicted the composing genius Wolfang Amadeus Mozart (played by Tom Hulce) perpetuate the stereotype: writing music on his deathbed out of desperation to earn some money to feed his family. The film nicely portrayed Mozart as a creative genius but showed us he only had two skills: writing music and womanizing. Mozart was portrayed as an economically foolish musician, without a plan, groveling by writing music whenever he needed money.

In Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995), Glenn Holland (played by Richard Dreyfuss), a musician and composer, takes a teaching job to pay the rent so that in his spare time, he can strive to achieve his true goal—compose one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world. He could get paid to teach (albeit not much), but not to compose.

Starting in 2006, HBO launched a new comedy series called Flight of The Conchord, which follows the trials and tribulations of a two-man band trying (with little success) to make a name for itself in New York City. This new series exposes the struggles of “starving artists” albeit in a humorous way. In 2007 this comedy series was renewed by HBO and continues to run successfully to this day.

A couple of clear messages are evident from these three examples, which span more than thirty years ( And I am sure each of you can give me many, many more):
• Artists have more creative talent than they use to earn a living
• Artists are incapable of earning a living with their specific talent, no matter how hard they try
• Society, in these examples alone that span over two hundred years, continues to perpetuate the stereotype of “starving artist”

Many artists, who try to stay true to their core to make a living from their art form, find it difficult to develop more in-demand skills that the world needs and will financially reward precisely BECAUSE of society’s continued separation between art and business⎯ perpetuating the “starving artist” stereotype.

Instead, artists are encouraged to only develop artistic skills and are taught to put all of their self-worth and value in what they create on their canvas. And many of our institutions of higher education do little to help us with this either.

After all fine arts higher education emphasizes one-on-one instruction, individual contribution, and single-skill building, at the expense of developing a portfolio of economically viable skills. Fine arts students are short-changed because they don’t learn how to share or build creative works collaboratively, as is often taught in engineering, business, law, and medical schools. Writers, poets and artists of all types, as a result, are far more vulnerable to emotional turmoil and financial destruction.

As artists we leave the womb wired to be emotionally and intuitively based. Most courses offered in higher education do not include training to incorporate our emotional and intuitive development as an equally important part of our creative and financial development.

From my individual work with more than a thousand artists from all disciplines, the number one obstacle to finding sustainable creative and financial outcomes, lies in an artists’ inability to channel their artistic and creative obsession⎯the juice that fuels their creativity—into a productive economic vehicle. Thus the label “Starving Artist” continues.

But I know you already know this because you are here checking out this blog and my work. I know you believe the world, for you and for others you know, can be different. It IS Time For Change. It’s time to write, going forward, a new kind of history.

So, let’s make a pact to change the state of the arts. Let’s work together to do it: One Artist at a Time.

If you support this cause let me know by emailing me your name and address and I will send you a free button to get the word out about where you stand on this issue.

No Starving Artist 2010

Free Starbucks If You Vote!

In Current Events, Marketing on November 4, 2008 at 7:48 am


Besides getting a free cup of joe its hard not to want to be part of making history, don’t you think?

Contestant #1: Brian Owens

In Art, Creative Support, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Money, Risk, Theater/Film, Writing on November 3, 2008 at 6:22 am

Written by Brian Owens

I was a bright kid in Detroit at a time when grant money for college was available. After four years of college I hired on with Chrysler Defense because I was broke and that’s where the money was. I was one of many engineers working to build a battle tank simulator to train tank crews for combat in the “european theater”; a war that never came.

Later, I moved to Florida because I was tired of winters and dodging bullets and was looking for an adventure of sorts. Again, I was one of many engineers working to build simulators, this time for combat aircraft.

I returned to art because I am an artist. It’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Since I have no children I could move in any direction I wanted. Maybe there is such a thing as a person being born to do a specific thing. My life is a pressurized, precarious life but this is part of the experience of being an artist, at least for me.

David Mamet said it best as he described the main character from a screenplay of his: “every lesson is driven home with such force … inescapable force … the real question is … can you get something from it; can you look at it?”. The lessons can be difficult. Still, I feel fortunate to know with certainty why I’m here.

I work in bronze and oil because it’s a challenge and requires discipline. But mostly, I do it because I like it. The awards and honors are great. They add institutional validity to a resume that is absent a degree in art. Also, grants make it possible for me to compete effectively for public art projects. I see them as tools in my toolbox; acquired beforehand so they’re there when needed. But it’s not the degree or award that makes you an artist, it’s the art you make that makes you an artist.

David Mamet said that many of the actors who audition for him don’t have the emotional makeup to withstand the level of competition and rejection that that must continually face. They are “too fine an instrument” and “don’t hit the marks when the pressure is on … but it only counts when the pressure is on”. I’m not an actor but I’ve had a deep personal struggle with this for many years. Being self-employed is like stepping, naked, under a brilliant light. Any weakness in your emotional makeup will be evident; if not to you, then to everyone else who is looking. It’s hard to change who you are. But I’ve learned that with time any skill can be improved and the things that used to floor me now just make me wince.

My income from fine art accounts for 20% to 100% of my annual income depending on what year it is. I got whipped in 2008 but 2009 is lining up nicely. There’s no explanation for it. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciate the words of Leonard Cohen, who said “as a writer, you have to show up and go to work every day. But you do so knowing that today it may not come; that you are not in control of this enterprise.”

I’ve always been suspicious of advice; unsolicited advice offered by people who mean well but have not tested themselves on the free-market battlefield that they so easily send their students onto.

Early in my career, I identified the people who appeared to be successful doing what I wanted to do. Then, after I assembled my first portfolio, I carefully reached out for their advice. Also, I’m not making the type of art that academia would instruct me to make. That may be working in my favor, nowadays.

During the last few years of this “postmodern” age, we have seen a renewed interest in classical training, the portrait and the figure. There is a slow but encouraging change in perspective on the importance of discipline and skill. Donald Kuspit said “Art is again a means of aesthetic transcendence with no loss of critical consciousness of the world.” As an artist, I have no special insight into history or the hearts of men but I offer this belief: When the culture is accepting of it, artists will respond with their best work.

William H. Gass said, they will “add to the worlds objects and ideas those delineations, carvings … and symphonic spells which ought to be there, To make things whose end is contemplation and appreciation.”

As the nation races into an uncertain future; as we question the recent past; many of us will return to art to reflect, to heal and (in words of Harlan Ellison) “to be humbled and to be renewed”.

Brian Owens