Innovating Through Artistry

Enjoy the vistas of an off-road adventure–having avoided the standstill traffic, far below.

In Author: Jim Hart on August 7, 2009 at 3:27 am

I like to think of training students in Entrepreneurial Arts Training, much like building off-road muscle cars, capable of competing in the harshest of conditions. Allow me to elaborate.

At ACPA (Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts), we give our student artists a superior experience—a mentor-guided process of education, coupled with intensity of hours spent practicing, to hone their craft. The educaiton is equal parts Entrepreneurial and Artistic techniques. When our graduates enter the market, their discipline and form are like that of a well-tuned, warmed up off-road muscle car. Can you hear the engine roar like a big cat? These empowered individuals are capable of staying on the road (or going off), moving at great speed, maneuvering around obstacles and logging significant miles in their journey.

As they have been working on their original projects over the course of a semester to two full years (while still in school), they develop momentum–momentum that carries them into their professional lives. Their personal creative energies are in a state of forward motion. Consequently, when they graduate, they do so not only with their feet upon the ground, but at a run.

The discipline these individuals have can also be equated to that of a marathon runner. A marathon runner trains every day and knows how to go the distance. Such discipline, dramatically increases these students’ likelihood of making a living from their skill sets.

This example is in direct contrast to what most institutions provide, in way of technique and approach to art training. Most art schools provide an arts-only approach (heaving in intellectual theory). These students may have their artistic technique in good form or their “engines are in good shape”, but without the business skills, these automobiles, upon there break for the starting line (graduation), can quickly run into a ditch or go endlessly in circles, as the driver, controlling the vehicle, does not have the skills or tools to get him or herself to their desired destination. Worse, these drivers can get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, which slows their momentum down to inertia. And as we know, inertia is deadly to the creative process. This place of inertia is the “standard path” that most artists are put upon—the commercial route, with its typical path of pursuit. It is a path that is completely over saturated.

Our students need proper tools–like maps and GPS–and to know where they are going and where they are at any moment. We need to make sure these vehicles have 4×4 capability, to go where there are no roads, creating paths of their own. More, we educators must make sure that they are fit to withstand the rigors and shock of creating ones own path, which can be bumpy, dangerous and fraught with peril.

When a driver and vehicle strike out into the landscape, where there are no roads, they will likely encounter obstacles. Our job at ACPA is to teach these vehicles how to deal with and to overcome these obstacles. They will need to know where to find fuel and how to keep their engines well tuned.

Many find that when they do exit the long beaten standard roads, that the vistas can be absolutely amazing; that they can encounter environments they never before knew possible. They have opportunity to experience the landscape of life, as they are not in the standstill, bumper-to-bumper highway traffic, far below.

ACPA wants our “cars” to gain miles and be on the road for a very long time.

Entrepreneurial Arts Training develops leaders–not just of others, but individuals capable of leading themselves. These independent artists can perceive and work to fill gaps (and needs) in their community cultural offerings. They are trained to be sensitive to the impulses and interests that move them and know how to express this sort of artistic insight. Students, such as will graduate from ACPA, will not only be highly empowered individuals, capable of making a living from their creative skill sets, but will become the future leaders of arts in America and abroad. These leaders, partly being influenced by their dynamic educational background, will promote far-reaching cultural change.

For more information on ACPA and Jim Hart, see

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