Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

“Innovation!” the President shouts again

In Author: Adam Shames on September 30, 2009 at 7:20 pm

This summer a student in my Depaul Mindset of Innovation course was researching U.S. government policy on innovation, and he claimed to be unable to find anything updated in years. He ended up talking as much about Canada’s innovation policy as that in the U.S.

Now, that’s not completely fair, as American innovation policy has not been entirely absent in the past decade, but Obama clearly is ringing the Innovation bell a lot louder. Last week, as I drove through the beautiful, purple-specked I-80 in Pennsylvania on a road trip East, Obama spoke nearby in New York’s Hudson Valley, once again emphasizing the importance of innovation for our economy, as he did in early August.

“So as we invest in the building blocks of innovation, from the classroom to the laboratory,” Obama told the crowd, “it’s also essential that we have competitive and vibrant markets that promote innovation, as well. Education and research help foster new ideas, but it takes fair and free markets to turn those ideas into industries.”
Click here to read the transcript of Obama’s talk on innovation.

As I’ll write about in my next blog, there has been innovation initiatives during the past decade that have had national aspirations and some impact. But Obama’s continuing focus on the Innovation Imperative–that we as a country and a culture need to embrace creativity and innovation to ensure a successful future–seems different and substantive. The White House calls it the Obama Innovation Strategy, which includes the following three parts:

1. Invest in the Building Blocks of American Innovation, from investments in research and development to the human, physical, and technological capital needed to perform that research and transfer those innovations.
2. Promote Competitive Markets that Spur Productive Entrepreneurship.
It is imperative to create a national environment ripe for entrepreneurship and risk taking that allows U.S. companies to be internationally competitive in a global exchange of ideas and innovation.
3. Catalyze Breakthroughs for National Priorities. Governmental can help support sectors of exceptional national importance–including alternative energy sources, health IT, and manufacturing advanced vehicles–that markets alone cannot make happen.

Now, the skeptics in us realize that another talk that is still urging that “we are ready” to do this may or may not lead to real change. But I believe the more innovation becomes part of our national conversation, the more likely we are to embrace our creative potential and proactively shape our future rather than letting it shape us.

Read more from  Adam at his Innovation on my Mind blog

It is Time for Artist to = True Visionary, True Leader

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on September 30, 2009 at 4:38 am

Thanks to Shawn Bowers, my new social media associate here at ETA, we now have a wonderful press release for you to share with “your army” of believers– those individuals you know that believe in you and your ideas.

Your home made machete is here with your name on it. Are you ready?

Won’t you come and tackle opening hearts and minds with me? I sure need your help to.

This is the first of a series of press releases that Shawn will be writing to share information to others about ETA’s mission and its evolution and progress.

By the way, Shawn Bowers is a VERY talented young actor. He writes well too. I wonder what else Shawn can do?

Innovating Through Artistry can really change the world. Wasn’t “Vote for Change” what President Obama built and won his campaign on?

Conservative Fervor Fuels the ETA Flames as the Rallying Cry Goes Nationwide

Entrepreneur the Arts® founder Lisa Canning vocally responds to claims that the White House is pushing a propagandistic agenda through the National Endowment of the Arts.

A series of ultra-conservative articles critiquing the White House’s encouragement of the National Endowment of the Arts to pursue issues-based initiatives has sparked Entrepreneur the Arts® founder Lisa Canning and her fellow creators to speak out in support of artists with agendas.

Recently, the White House Office of Public Engagement, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the NEA hosted a conference call with a select group of arts leaders, many of whom were deeply involved in the 2008 presidential campaign. The transcript of the call stirred huge controversy based on the perception that the White House was asking artists to create propaganda in support of hot button issues such as health care, education or the environment.

In a post on her Entrepreneur the Arts Blog, noted artist and entrepreneur Lisa Canning refuted these criticisms with a simple yet powerful question: “What’s so wrong with having an agenda?”

“What’s wrong with the arts being vehicles for additional reflection on an issue, revealing deeper meaning to key messaging and shedding a bright light on agendas?” Canning asked. “That’s not ‘Partisan’ or ‘Socialism.’ That’s passion. Where is the open mindedness this country needs to utilize the power of the arts in new ways going to come from?”

Canning’s organization, Entrepreneur the Arts®, is leading a national movement to innovate through artistry. These efforts will culminate in the fall 2010 launch of the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™, a fully accredited training program for artists of all disciplines. The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ will provide aspiring creatives the tools and methods to create sustainable businesses from their individual passions.

Entrepreneur the Arts® believes that the values inherent in great artistry, when wielded properly, are the perfect catalyst not just for individual success, but broad societal positive change.

“The power of artistry is more than playing a pretty piece or painting a pretty picture,” claims fellow ETA blogger David Cutler, author of the new book The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference. “When artists work to solve real problems, contribute meaningful experiences, and provide true leadership, these behaviors should be celebrated.”

Cutler, an Advisory Board Member to the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™, and many other artists, administrators and entrepreneurs, are joining ETA’s mission to make the starving artist a thing of the past and encourage you to do the same, no matter your politics.

“The agenda of innovation is a nonpartisan issue,” Canning said. “There are ways to do this. Business as Art, Government as Art, University as Art. But it all starts with sharing a vision– one that will help the world find a new way to perceive and utilize the strengths of your artistic gifts.”

The Entrepreneur the Arts Blog, updated daily with insights and inspiration from bloggers such as Canning and Cutler, can be found online at More information on the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ and ETA’s mission can be found at David Cutler’s book, The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living & Making a Difference, is available to order now at and in stores on November 1, 2009.


Lisa Canning, founder
Entrepreneur the Arts®

Don’t Walk, Run

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Current Events on September 29, 2009 at 1:52 am
 The Elgin Film Festival Trophy- Made by the same company that makes the Academy Awards.

The Elgin Film Festival Trophy- Made by the same company that makes the Academy Awards.

This past Saturday was the first annual Elgin Film Festival, and if you were unable to attend this year I recommend that you mark your calendars RIGHT NOW for next year because this is the film festival to attend.

When I decided, at the age of 12, that I wanted to be a filmmaker I was especially taken with the photographs in magazines of the gala film premiers with lots of glamourous celebrities and bright lights. Even when I learned the reality- that independent filmmaking is a lot of tedious paperwork and a collossal effort balanced on a dental floss budget- there was still some nugget of hope that if I stuck with it I would someday have the opportunity to stand in the bright lights and to make all of it worthwhile. This past Saturday I had that opportunity.

The first annual Elgin Film Festival, hosted by film critic Dean Richards of WGN was a little bit of Hollywood glitz right here in the midwest. The judges and the filmmakers of the five short films that had been chosen as finalists all arrived on a red carpet (my very first time doing so!) and were ushered into the Hemmens Cultural Center with great fanfare. The Hemmens Auditorium is a vast theatre space designed for large crowds and quickly filled up with over 800 guests, which alone was a thrill. To put this in persepective, the second largest audience we’ve ever screened any film for was a total of 75 people. The five short films that screened were:

“The Visionary”
“Crossing The Line”
“The Erogenous Zone”
“House of Cards”
“The Booby Trap”

All of these were excellent- at one point during the screening my Associate Producer leaned over to me and whispered “We have some real competition here!” and we did. “The Visionary” placed third out of the five after “Crossing the Line” (second) and “House of Cards” (first), but I found that I didn’t mind so much that we hadn’t taken first. It was an honor to be among such quality films to begin with and I felt that we held our ground and could stand tall with what we had done.

But the point I would like to make over all is that while every festival that we screen a film at is important to us THIS festival will stand out for months, maybe years to come as being something special. The feeling of having the film screened before an audience of hundreds reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place and, even if it was just for one evening in Elgin, Illinois, we all genuinely felt like celebrities- like our work was worth celebrating and was being celebrated.

So next year when the time comes, don’t walk, Run! to the Elgin Film Festival and let it remind you too of the reason that you do what you do.

The Great Balancing Act

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Creativity and Innovation, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Health & Wellness on September 28, 2009 at 7:02 am

In thinking about what topics might be useful for entrepreneurially-minded arts folks, I was reminded of a question that came up at a career skills roundtable that Fifth House led at the University of Northern Iowa that struck me as particularly timely, yet not frequently asked.

A student raised her hand and asked, “How do you balance your professional and home lives? Do you have enough time for a marriage and family?”

Having prepped ourselves for questions about self-promotion, fundraising, organizational development, and the like, this came a little out of left field. In retrospect, I’m so glad she voiced this, because it’s a real challenge that any small business owner will face head-on.

Being in the building stages of a rapidly growing small arts organization, and being in the first decade of our professional careers individually, none of us had particularly encouraging things to say about how much time we’re able to devote to ourselves and to those we love. Starting a business can mean that you work 98% of the day, with your laptop in one hand and PDA in another. Always reachable, always on the clock.

The good part about this is that you’re spending a ton of energy and resources on the one thing that you wake up and fall asleep thinking about. It is the passion for our work that fuels our desire to strike out on our own in the first place, and to selflessly understand that the 9-5 workday doesn’t really exist in any project’s infancy.

But what about the risk of burnout, failed relationships, or medical ill-effects? Most people can’t keep up a the fevered start-up pace forever, and those that do tend to lose at other parts of their life, even as they win. As the amount and quality of the work/gigs/business you are generating grows, it’s time to begin to trim the bonsai and focus on those things that are important both in your business and at home.

This means choosing your projects and engagements more carefully, delegating wisely, scheduling your work time AND your play time, and remembering one of the wisest business lessons I ever heard: EFFICIENCY is the ability to work faster, EFFECTIVENESS is the ability to decide what to do and when. It also means beginning to outsource those parts of your business that someone else can do better and faster.

One of the members of our group has a friend who religiously kept Shabbat (the weekly day of rest that has its equivalent in many major religions) even through the most hectic parts of her college years. When he asked her how on earth she could afford to do it given the huge number of activities she was involved in, she replied, “How can you afford NOT to?” Having  one day to refresh and recharge gave her the energy she needed to tackle the week, and made her focus on working smart and meeting her deadlines in preparation for the day off.

It’s a lesson we can all learn and apply in our own way. Whether it’s scheduling an afternoon with your spouse, creating a daily ritual that includes exercise and time for reflection, or becoming involved in a group activity that has nothing to do with your professional life, the change of pace keeps the mind fresh, the body in balance, and the creativity flowing.

And now, to read this post 40 more times until it sinks in…!

Melissa is the flutist and Executive Director of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. Like what you read here? For more music entrepreneurship tidbits, visit, brought to you by members of 5HE.

How Arts Schools Prioritize Career Development

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music on September 27, 2009 at 12:44 am

In my last post, I argued that prospective arts students should favor schools that actively prioritize career development and entrepreneurship.  After all, this shows a commitment to producing working artists, as opposed to simply outstanding ones (who are likely unprepared to deal with professional realities of the 21st Century).  Even if you ultimately decide on a career path outside of your area of study, these kinds of experiences can truly help you succeed.

In this article, we’ll look at wonderful career development initiatives currently in place in some forward-thinking institutions. Obviously, the more a school does on this front, the more commitment to professional success they demonstrate. Most of my research comes from looking at music schools, but outstanding programs in other areas of the arts have taken equivalent steps. 

I have no interest in advocating or discounting any particular school here. (If anything, I hope this post provides inspiration to programs currently falling short.) For this reason, university names are not listed below.

Please note: the phrases arts business and arts administration denote something different than what is addressed here.  Typically, arts business programs focus on preparing students to work with for-profit companies such as the recording industry. Arts administration majors learn about the non-profit sector. Contrastingly in this article, I’m more concerned with the development of performers, composers, dancers, actors, visual artists, private teachers, and other largely self-employed individuals.


Some schools host music/arts centers that provide a number of valuable services. They help students get gigs, learn about opportunities, prepare marketing materials, set up outreach activities, etc.  These centers have names like:

  • Music Career Center
  • Entrepreneurship Center for Music
  • Institute for Music Leadership
  • Institute for Leadership & Engagement in Music
  • Arts Incubator
  • Arts Enterprise
  • Camerata (named after the 16th century Florentine Camerata, which brought together artists, patrons, and students to foster innovation in the arts)
  • Center for Engagement and Outreach
  • Community Engagement Program


Some schools have part- or full-time arts career counselors on staff, available to meet one on one with students.  In other cases, universities hire career specialists who work with students from all majors across the university.  While these employees can be helpful for general issues (resumes, traditional job interviews, etc.), someone who is not an artist will likely be unprepared to address the nitty-gritty and specific concerns of the arts industries. 


Some schools offer career development courses, with titles such as:

  • Career Perspectives 
  • Building a Music Career
  • Practical Aspects of a Career in Music
  • Chamber Music and Professional Development for the Freelance Musician
  • Audience Development
  • Audience Connection
  • Web Design for Musicians
  • Digital Portfolio Creation
  • Arts Media & Promotion: Perfecting and Pitching Your Message
  • Music Entrepreneurialism, Leadership, and Relevance
  • The Professional Artist Seminar
  • College Teaching
  • How to Win an Orchestral Audition
  • The Joys and Opportunities of Studio Teaching
  • Getting Your Sh*t Together


Some schools regularly organize talks and workshops by faculty members and visiting professionals, addressing various professional concerns.


Some schools require students to compile a professional portfolio before graduating, including items like:

  • Headshot/photo
  • Bio
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Sample cover letter
  • Repertoire list
  • Press release
  • Business cards
  • Program notes
  • Recordings
  • Videos
  • Work samples (for visual artists)
  • Website
  • Business cards
  • Marketing plans
  • 5-10 year career goals


Some schools offer mock interviews and auditions, proceeded by preparation sessions and followed with feedback.


Some schools require arts majors to enlist in some sort of internship program.  Others highly recommend them, and maintain a database of potential opportunities.


A few schools sponsor wonderfully creative competitions where students are invited to pitch projects that are evaluated on both artistic and entrepreneurial factors.  Winners receive seed money to enact their proposal.


A few schools now offer ensembles where students are required to do more than simply show up on time and be prepared.  Participants are asked to play an active role in program development, marketing, publicity, setting up performances, working with presenters, or even the overall ensemble vision.


Some schools hire graduate students to teach courses.  Obviously, this hands-on job training is beneficial for those interested in educational work.  It also looks great on the resume.


Many schools contract gigs (weddings, bar mitzvahs, private parties, etc.) for their students, providing real life experiences and a source of revenue. While you should definitely take advantage of this wonderful service and real life experience, keep in mind that it only focuses on one slice of the industry. Additional resources are necessary for deeper career guidance.


Some schools maintain extensive websites devoted to career and entrepreneurship issues, with articles, podcasts, databases of opportunities, and more.  However, even students without this kind of in-house resource can take advantage of sites like (for an extensive list of helpful sites, visit The Savvy Musician Resource Center), so don’t discount a school just because it lacks this feature.


Some schools that do not yet have many or any of the initiatives above at least require their students to read a few books on the subject of arts careers and entrepreneurship. A number of excellent and affordable texts have become available in the past few years. (Incidentally, schools have students research areas that they deem important.  For example, every music program requires music theory and history reading; these topics seem to be universally valued. If no career books are assigned anywhere in the curriculum, this is another sign that the school does not prioritize professional success for its alumni.) 


As you can see, there’s quite a lot that arts schools can do to better prepare students for professional success.  Now you know (at least a portion of) what’s available. So if you’re serious about developing into a working artist, make sure you have a clear idea about how each school you consider plans to help you achieve this goal.   This way, you’ll have more than outstanding artistic ability and a beautiful diploma to look forward to.  You may even have some marketable skills!


Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your career? Visit for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, info on the most relevant music career book in print, and more.

5 Decisions

In Author: Lisa Canning, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Legal, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk on September 26, 2009 at 11:22 am

buffet-image.jpgJust got back from a wonderful clarinet-buying trip at Buffet-Crampon, the clarinet manufacturer I represent, who is in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an especially pleasant trip. My flights left and returned relatively on time, I was offered a convertible to drive as my rental car, and the B&B I always stay at, The Fig Tree Inn, offered me a new room – the nautical room- which I loved.

AND searching for great clarinets felt particularly easy this time. (I swear the French have good days and bad days drilling those damn holes in grenadilla wood. But this time, the great instruments fell one right after another all in a few serial number rows.)

dreamstime_6275191Anyway, while I was having all this fun, I had a thought that you might enjoy reading about 5 decisions I made this week. So here they are in no particular order:

Five. My ability to have insight into a situation, make a decision and take action quickly– usually a skill set that makes me money, saves me time and I trust to protect my entrepreneurial life, cost me. I was just about to close on a small condo in the city, that I intended to use periodically and also rent out occasionally to clients, when abruptly the mortgage company cancelled their mortgage commitment to me. I had made the mistake of advertising it online at Lisa’s Clarinet Shop that it would soon be available to customers passing through town. This particular mortgage company, as is the case now with so many of them, will not currently write any investment property mortgages. I did not think of this property as an investment property so it never dawned on me they would–my mistake. As a result, the seller became impatient and I lost the property.

Oh well. A bomb blew up in the mine field. It happens. ( It’s just in hindsight you feel pretty dumb. It’s that classically-trained-perfect-artist-syndrome inside of me- got to do it “perfectly” EVERY time. Though, neither my real estate broker or attorney thought to ask the question either… hmmm- they are suppose to be my trusted advisors who guide me to achieve what I am trying to accomplish. That is what I pay them for.)

Four. I made the decision of changing my new Not for Profit ensemble, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™, to a DBA (“doing business as”) designation, underneath the umbrella of Entrepreneur The Arts®. By doing so, I have turned ETA into a Not-For-Profit. Up until right now, ETA did not have a corporate identity. The reason I decided to do this is because truly the work of ETA is mission based. Changing the way WE ALL think about, and learn to create and act on, the imaginative potency of the arts as a catalyst for change- for us, inside corporations, universities and government too– just like President Obama is trying to do again by utilizing the creativity and artistry inside the NEA to communicate his agenda to the American people- this is a mission that is going to take a village and should be a NFP. (Oh, and if your not sure if you believe me google the equivalent of “The White House in bed with the NEA” and include a few words like propaganda, partisanship and socialism. Is this really what you want to see happen? Are we really going to lie down and just accept letting others lead us towards becoming an extinct breed? Does innovating your artistry matter to you? What if this is truly how you need to learn to leverage your artistry so you can experience change– and see how someone can change how they feel about themselves and the world because of what you do? )

Three. Likewise, I had an inactive LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) set up for the book I wrote. The one that Susan Schulman, (Richard Florida’s agent) agreed to represent on my behalf, Starving Artist Not! (That at Susan’s insistence became Build A Blue Bike) — but the book never sold–

And so this legal entity has been sitting idle.

So this week, I decided to remove the name Starving Artist Not! on the articles of incorporation document and sent a name change to the Secretary of State to replace it with The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™. Since The Institute of Arts Entrepreneurship™ is founded in the concepts of developing an artist into an artistic entrepreneur, the same founding principals in my book, it seemed to make sense. And of equal importance, since the school’s purpose is to help artists create artistic ventures, and not to act as angel investors, we will not, and cannot, assume liability for others actions or businesses.

Equally, this change in our legal status made good sense– we should be an LLC and limit our liability.

Two. I decided to hire, part-time, an actor, Shawn Bowers, who has this amazing gift for social media. After careful consideration I decided if social media was good enough as the primary PR engine for President Obama’s campaign to be elected as President, its plenty good enough to serve as the platform for my PR to promote ETA and IAE. Shawn wrote the press release titled “Chicago Arts Incubator at Flourish Studios” in two hours beautifully, didn’t he? On his first week on the job he set up a Facebook page, Twitter account and identified over 50 blogs and websites to send press to about ETA, Flourish Studios and The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™. He is off to an A+ start.

One. I managed to decide I would submit an mp3 of my recording of “Shiva” to the folks at UT- Austin who are in charge of organizing the The International Clarinet Association Conference for 2010. I asked to play and I think they might just let me– but I’m NOT advertising they are here. (That already cost me once. I hope the lesson is now learned.) Bless their hearts- really. They get SO MANY requests and everyone comes with their agenda’s jockeying for position– I hate to add one more to their load.. it seems always so political to me. Most of these conferences feature the same twenty-five GREAT artists year after year. No imagination required. Hope this one in Austin steps outside the ICA’s comfort zone a little bit and extends far into the great musical list of creative imaginative and freelancing less-well-known clarinetists.

Holding on for dear life.

In Author: Linda Essig, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on September 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Maybe it’s because I’m hosting a talk on “Intellectual Property in the Arts” later this fall, or maybe it’s because the new LORT (League of Resident Theatres) agreement with designers includes provisions for media reproduction of our work, but I’ve been thinking about the issue of competition, confidentiality and intellectual property recently.

At the workshop my p.a.v.e. colleagues and I led two weeks ago, one of the student attendees was very concerned about confidentiality, about the proprietary nature of his ideas. This student was way ahead of me in considering the protection of his ideas. I wish I had been as wary (I hesitate to say “paranoid”) twenty-five years ago when I designed a summer production of a new musical bound, I found out later, for Broadway. Imagine my surprise/disgust/dismay when a version of the custom templates (aka “gobos”) I designed for the finale appeared in the Broadway production a year later, “designed” by someone else.

I think we all want to be good collaborators and citizens of the global arts community, but at what point do we hold up our hands and say: “That’s mine and not yours and I deserve the credit and the financial reward!” Should we ever do so? Students are starting to submit applications for our next round of p.a.v.e. funding. Without sharing any specific information, or divulging anyone’s intellectual property, I note with interest that one team’s business plan actually calls for credit and revenue sharing equally in a kind of artistic co-op. While this idea isn’t new, I’m intrigued by the idea of revenue sharing within an entrepreneurial framework. With all the misplaced accusations of “socialism” in the media lately, what I’m seeing from the trenches of academia is that it may be possible to be both socialistic and profitable. That it just might be more innovative to share one’s intellectual property freely than hold on to it for dear life.

Is this a joke?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Current Events, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles, Outside Your Comfort Zone on September 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

I have read and re-read these two blog posts- one by ultra conservative art critic, Roger Kimball, and the other written by film maker, Patrick Courrielche, about The NEA working closely with the White House. I simply don’t understand what the hoopla is all about? What? Our government IS NOT ALLOWED to try and become more innovative and actual effectuate change in the country as a result?

NO. We can’t have that!

What’s so wrong with having an agenda? What’s wrong with the arts being vehicles for additional reflection on an issue, revealing deeper meaning to key messaging and shedding a bright light on agendas? That’s not ‘Partisan’ or ‘Socialism.’ That’s passion.

WHO IN LIFE DOES NOT HAVE AN AGENDA? Agenda’s are a part of life- they run our meetings efficiently and they allow us to know where someone stands. Can’t we learn to WORK TOGETHER with all our agenda’s? Can’t we learn how to compromise and appreciate different points of view? Does it all have to be about conquering and overpowering? What about sharing ideas and leveraging combined strengths ethically to create a truly awe inspiring win-win?

Where is the open mindedness this country needs to utilize the power of the arts in new ways going to come from? It is going to take a village…… Who is going to build that bridge to the White House? Could it be you and me?

Sit down and let these two reads strengthen your resolve and faith in just how innovative the arts really CAN BE- RIGHT NOW. President Obama gets it. There IS Hope and it DOES float.

Remember the rules that apply to true revolutionary change: Step #1 dismiss it, ignore it, turn your back on it, Step #2 rebel violently against it (I think these articles reflect this point of view- and how) Step #3 Fully embrace the change and accept it as if it were the standard and expected all along.

As I see it– this is really good news. The call to the battle field has rung. We are in the beginning of Step #2.

So, will you join me on this battle field and support Innovating Through Artistry?

For God’s Sake– please won’t you join me and help me?

I have a box of home made machetes if you prefer to imagine our joint combined efforts more akin to beating back the bushes together discovering what happens when we use our imaginations to help others deepen their own– its amazing but they usually become more of who they are and hopefully more tolerant and open minded. Pigs really can fly. Minds and hearts can open and change. Peace can be reached. Interdisciplinary collaboration is our future. Our economic life-line is arriving- its finally almost here…. but not without you. I need you to join me- actively.

What can you do to start a dialogue with your village- your army of friends, fans and family, about ETA’s point of view? What’s your ETA to Entrepreneur The Arts? Are you ready to serve and discover how you too can make a difference? And YES, THIS IS MY AGENDA! Someone, please tell me what is wrong with it? I am trying to create a win-win-win-win-win….. and another win. There ARE ways to do this. Business as Art, Government as Art and The University as Art do mix- this combination offers loads of feature and benefits for artists to deliver, just like the taste of oil mixed with vinegar does. But all this starts with you sharing a vision– one that will help the world find a new way to perceive and utilize the strengths of your gifts.

Explosive New Audio Reveals White House Using NEA to Push Partisian Agenda written by Patrick Courrielche. Patrick Courrielche is a filmmaker, marketer, and art community consultant based in Los Angeles.

And also from the ULTRA conservative U.S. art critic and social commentator, Roger Kimball. National Endowment for the Arts Renamed National Endowment for Propaganda. Stay Tuned. “This is Only the Beginning.

To “Be” Autonomous

In Author: Michael Gold on September 22, 2009 at 5:39 am

What has always fascinated me about jazz is that my identity as an improviser is unconditionally bound to the identity of those I am improvising with. By identity I mean what Heidegger would refer to as Dasein- the manifestation of my potential to “be” in the world.

Jazz is a music that is phenomenological in this regard. It is always a manifestation of the moment. We begin with a simple shared construct that is fully defined- an event that has been completed and stands in the present as a link to the past. A tune- a logic of melody, harmony and rhythm that is fixed. Through its aesthetic its implications reach in both directions. Its design and logic evoke the essence of the time in which it was constructed by engaging us (who reside in the future) in some degree of the “truth” of what it meant to “be” at the time of its creation. Take for example the lyric to the jazz standard These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You the line “The winds of march that make my heart a dancer, a telephone that rings but whose to answer, a playgrounds painted swings, these foolish things remind me of you.” This lyric is so filled with the suggestion of change- winds of March, an unanswered phone call, the image of childhood lost- all culminating in the remembrance of lost love. There is a sense of the naïveté, innocence, optimism in the dancing heart. But it is also a powerful vector that projects us as improvisers into the immediate moment as we strive to actualize the potential that exists in the melody.

The great Tenor Saxophonist Ben Webster who played with Duke Ellington once stood to take a solo during a performance. His playing wasn’t particularly coherent and as he sat down his colleague sitting next to him in the sax section asked “what happened, man?” Webster said “I forgot the words.”

We in the present come to this work of art and use it as our point of departure- as a set of guidelines for our improvisation. Engaging the tune we engage with the truth of the past and translate it through ourselves into artistic meaning in the present. Each of us strive to achieve self actualization- what I call Autonomy. But it is not the autonomy one finds in Webster’s Dictionary. What is unique about jazz is the autonomy of each individual in the ensemble will always be an expression of the autonomy of the whole as expressed through that individual. This dynamic is more tangible with the art of jazz than most others because jazz is being collectively created in the moment.

The “score” for that creative process (the tune) resides in the imagination of each individual in the ensemble. It sits in their recollection of the tune, which speaks to each one from the past.

While the physical parameters of the harmonic landscape and it’s defining melody are immutable the potential that each improviser is able to pull from the tune is infinite and will emerge only through the struggle with its meaning.

The co creation of meaning through the language of music transcends the physical and psychological barriers between us. To swing means to find entrainment with one another in the expression of time. To the extent that it can sustain itself, that entrainment will, in itself, become an expression of ontological truth. We move in and out of entrainment in jazz- each time understanding more about the nature of the instant of now.

In the course of a single performance each member participates in an ontologically significant event – manifesting their potential in a collaborative effort to make meaning of human sentience through the logic of rhythm, tonality, sonic texture and space.

Each has the responsibility of actualizing to their fullest potential- to become autonomous with the tune, with the materials they are using and with the tool of their instrument. But to achieve collaborative autonomy there must be an equity of empathy. Each individual action radically affects the ecology of the whole.

To manifest autonomy in jazz means to “be” with and for the other. This dynamic can only be fully comprehended through somatic intelligence- the intelligence of intuition- the intelligence that encompasses the intellect, the body and the spirit.

ETA Winner Eli Epstein Filming in LA

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on September 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Heartbeat of AmericaThis morning the winner of the first round of The ETA competition, Eli Epstein, jetted off to LA to the Heartbeat of America Studio to film his 30 minute segment about his innovative Inside Out Concert Programming.

Not only will Eli benefit from having this very professionally produced marketing piece, that will be edited in 3 10 minute segments for him to utilize in developing his brand, but I can also tell you that Eli has ALREADY landed an amazing opportunity as a result of winning the competition.

One of the major symphony orchestras in the United States has hired Eli to do a number of pre-concert lectures utilizing his Inside Out Concert Programming. For all of you in the classical music world take notice! This is a MAJOR breakthrough. Classical musicians and administrators of classical music, by and large, are very conservative with their ideas and approach to market development.

eta-logo-revisedThere is still time to enter Round II of the ETA competition. What’s your ETA to Entrepreneur The Arts?

Creating Critical Mass – Making the Cultural Connection

In Author: Lisa Canning, Current Events, Networking, WEBSITES & BLOGS on September 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Received this email from the Executive Director of The Fresno Coalition for Arts, Science and History and thought all of you would be interested in their “Creating Critical Mass” Project…

Any effective social movement throughout time can be traced to 3% of the population working together to make it happen – critical mass. In Fresno that’s 15,000 people. 15,000. Not that many people really. We can get 15,000 people united to the cultural arts.

If we had 15,000 people connected and engaged in a thriving cultural arts sector we would have a very different place to live.

Imagine what we could do.

At this year’s Cultural Arts Conference on 10/2, we, the cultural arts providers, community, business and public leaderships dedicated to a thriving cultural community, come together to create our 3% and mobilize behind our first Critical Mass project – the Fresno centralized event calendar.

Go to The cost is only $45 for the day, $65 if you want to go to the Funders’ Breakfast.

We’re also trying a grand experiment – the morning State of the Arts session is being done Pecha Kucha style! No one that we know of has ever done a part of a conference Pecha Kucha style. Kiel and Travis are moderating it and it will either be a fabulous success or a major flop.

Come. Be a part of making something amazing happen.

Cynthia Cooper
Executive Director
Fresno Coalition for Arts, Science & History
1401 Fulton Street, S-904
Fresno, CA 93728
559-286-8282 Cell
559-485-1100 Fax

10/2 Third Annual Cultural Arts Conference
Creating Critical Mass – Making the Cultural Connection
Fresno Coalition for Arts, Science & History
1401 Fulton Street Suite 904 Fresno, CA 93721 United States

Chicago Arts Incubator at Flourish Studios

In Author: Lisa Canning, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on September 19, 2009 at 3:44 am

StarvingArtist©2009Flourish Studios Opens New Incubator Program to Turn Local Artists Into Successful Entrepreneurs

Flourish Studios, in association with Entrepreneur the Arts®, to offer retail space and intensive marketing and selling training at no cost to Chicago artists. The Flourish Artisan Program aims to give creators of all disciplines the tools they need to make the “starving artist” a thing of the past.

Chicago, IL – September 17, 2009 – Flourish Studios, in association with Entrepreneur The Arts®, is proud to announce a unique new artist development program tasked with helping local artists of all disciplines become thriving entrepreneurs. The Flourish Artisan Program gives visual artists a home on the Flourish retail floor, as well as intensive sales and marketing training at no cost to help simultaneously achieve their highest creative and business potential.

Founded by Dr. Julia M. Rahn, Ph. D., Flourish Studios is a multi-faceted learning gallery and retail space in the heart of Lakeview focused on building life skills to live our very best life. As a Clinical Psychologist with more than ten years experience helping people meet their individual goals, Dr. Julia created Flourish to be a relaxed oasis in an otherwise chaotic world, where clients can learn to create positive change at their own pace using the methods they find most inviting.

“It only made sense that Flourish would be the perfect home to launch this vital new program that aims to cultivate a new era of entrepreneurship and personal change in the Chicago arts community,” Dr. Julia said. “We believe that life is an ongoing creative project, and we’re looking forward to giving more people the means to find success through mindful self-expression.”

Accepted artists will be given space on the thriving Flourish retail floor to sell their work at a 50/50 profit split. To aid their new venture, artists will also receive a free marketing and business course with Entrepreneur the Arts® founder Lisa Canning on the intricacies of creating, branding and selling a viable product in today’s marketplace. There is no cost to the program, though creators will be expected to work 5 unpaid hours weekly in the Flourish retail space, to develop sales experience and market recognition for their emerging brands.

Upon completion of the Flourish Artisan Program, participants will get the chance to extend their relationship with Flourish via a low rent model of $100 and up for truly high end floor space for their product. This allows artisans to continue developing their independent business and credibility with the rare benefit of having a brick and mortar retail home.

To host this one-of-a-kind program, Flourish and Dr. Julia turned to Entrepreneur the Arts® founder Lisa Canning, an accomplished entrepreneur, artist and educator whose resume speaks for itself. Over the last twenty five years, Canning has created not one, but six multi-million dollar ventures, ranging from real estate property management to a musical mail-order and rental business. Her current venture, Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, now requires only 20 hours a week to produce a six-figure income. As a renowned clarinetist, Canning also understands the unique challenges that face artists in their respective communities. With her next wave of ventures, Canning has turned her attention to sharing that experience with artists-on-the-rise. The first of these, Entrepreneur The Arts®, is an innovative training resource for artists, corporations, universities and governments that can be found on-line at

“I hold a passionate belief that the ‘starving artist,’ need no longer exist,” Canning said. “It’s an antiquated concept. In fact, artists are in the perfect position to prosper. The personal discipline and integrity that the arts foster give creators an automatic head start on the skills necessary to create a viable independent business. My goal is simply to show them how to wield those powers for the greatest good and, hopefully, the greatest profit.”

The Flourish Artisan Program is the first in a series of outreach initiatives designed to spread Canning’s bold battle cry for creators to Entrepreneur the Arts®. It’s not just a name, it’s a call to arms for those millions of starving artists to change the way they create, promote and sell so that they need starve no longer. The partnership between Lisa Canning and Dr. Julia Rahn will culminate in the Fall 2010 launch of the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ at Flourish Studios. This fully accredited two-year training program is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. Canning developed the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ to fill a void left by most liberal arts academies, which emphasize the creative work without addressing the realistic concerns of turning that work into a sustainable lifestyle.

The Flourish Artisan Program starts it’s first wave of classes on October 5, 2009. Artists are encouraged to contact or call 847-774-2938 for more information on how to apply. For more information on Flourish Studios and their full calendar of programs, visit them on the web at

Lisa Canning, founder
Entrepreneur the Arts®

Say, “Yes” and Commit.

In Author: Jim Hart on September 18, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Press Play on the audio play button to hear this podcast.

Big hearts come from Art

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Writing on September 18, 2009 at 5:25 am

Let Your Heart SoarWhat the world needs more than ever is to discover who we are.

Do you know who you are?
Still holding your one-way ticket there?

Big hearts come from Art.
YOUR IMAGINATION won’t dream small.

Wear your art on your sleeve with me.
Let me see you soar into the person you most want to become.

Today was a great day…. how about for you?

United We… Watch Movies

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Current Events on September 18, 2009 at 3:57 am

September is the month for film festivals, it seems, this year and I could not be more thrilled. Last weekend was the Chicago REEL Shorts film festival which was a hoot and my only regret was not being able to stay longer to see what other work they selected. “The Visionary” screened in a block with eight or nine other films and I’m pleased to say that it’s quality stood up well next to the group and that every film in the group was well put together.

Saturday September 19th
Sadly, the screening that we had scheduled for Friday the 11th, along with the play “Ekphrasis” didn’t go quite as well. With not enough audience members to fill the theatre we called off the show rather than perform to empty seats and rescheduled for this coming Saturday instead. Good news if you wanted to be in on the two-for-one goodness of our double feature!
Saturday September 19th at 7:15 PM at the Via Duct Theatre is going to be the place to go! And, I found out to my amusement, both the film and the play will be followed by a burlesque show on the same evening. In a strange twist of fate one of my friends is even performing in this show and I have been dying for a chance to see her work so I’m going to be making an evening of it!

Sunday September 20th
The film festival fun continues on Sunday with the Chicago United Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. I’m excited to say that “The Visionary” has been selected to screen with the feature film “Bleacher Boys” which, I believe, is about baseball. The thing that I always enjoy about film festivals is that it is such an easy way to see films that don’t play in commercial theatres. With a day pass, all you have to do is sit in a cushy seat with a box of popcorn as dozens of films play one after another. And you can see shorts. I love shorts films- they’re about the right length for my attention span- and you NEVER see short films in a normal movie theatre unless you’re watching a Pixar movie (Go Pixar!).

Friday September 25, 2009
Ok here’s a plug for a film festival that I’m not even screening my film at: Chicago Horror Film Festival on September 25-27th at the Portage Theatre on the north side. Svengoolie’s going to be there! I haven’t done anything in the Horror Genre yet (I put that in caps because Horror Is Where The Money Is At when it comes to independent film) but I met scream queen Brooke Lewis earlier this year while promoting our last film “Persephone” out in Las Vegas. She promised to get in touch when she was next in Chicago and she was as good as her word and dropped me an email to let me know that her film “iMurders” was going to be screening on Friday. I’m very excited to see it. Horror films are so exciting because, if they’re good, they force you to have a real-life emotional response. And after all, isn’t that what we really want out of a movie? To really feel something while we’re watching it?

Saturday September 26, 2009
Little Gwydhar’s Very First Red Carpet!
Just this past week I learned that “The Visionary” had been accepted to the Elgin Film Festival and was selected as one of their 5 finalists. I then found out that the 5 finalist filmmakers all get to make a grand red carpet entrance at the beginning of the festival which starts at 6:30 PM (This festival is only one evening- don’t miss it if you can help it!) To me this is thrilling, I mean, even if it’s a red welcome mat I’ll probably be happy. As an aspiring filmmaker who has mostly come to terms with the fact that independent film garners about as much fame and fortune as working the drive thru it is little moments like these that make it just so cool. I’m doubly excited by this particular festival because it features (ahem) cash prizes. If we win, I’ll be able to pay the good folks who helped make it possible, and really what could be more exciting than that?

Luckily for me, we run out of September before we run out of film festivals. I know lives are busy and times are tight right now, but if you have a chance to come out to any of these events and check them out please be sure to give me a wave and say “Hi” so I can express my gratitude for you coming out. When everything else has dried up we turn to the fountain of our dreams to refresh us.

Fractured U. – School’s in Session

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on September 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Last year Fractured Atlas piloted Fractured U. as a simple series of introductory online business courses that address the emerging needs of artists and arts managers. Now, after conducting surveys, interviews and putting a callout for proposals for artist tailored courses, they have a new improved line-up of offerings.

Currently, Fractured U has three core introductory courses available:

Professional Identity Demystified – At this point in your life, you have probably tried to answer the question: “Who am I?” many times over. If you’ve been successful enough to figure out that you are a creative professional, then you’ve already made huge strides towards demystifying your professional identity. However, there is more work to be done. This course walks you through some basic steps to clarify your professional identity that will lay the foundation for all the strategic planning work to come.

Marketing Demystified – As an artist or arts organization, you have to be able to market your creative offering. And, since you’ll be competing with other art professionals, as well as every other place people spend their discretionary income (e.g. restaurants, bars, clubs, movies, amusement parks, sporting events, etc.); you need to make sure your efforts are targeted and compelling. This is an introductory course that will explain marketing basics like market research, segmentation, positioning, pricing, distribution, promotion, and designing your creative offering.

Fundraising Demystified – Producing art is generally not inexpensive. We as artists need money to survive and to make our art. But many of us don’t always have full-time, salaried jobs or trust funds. So, how do we go about paying for the work that we want to produce? We fundraise! This course is an introductory course that breaks down the overwhelming world of fundraising into very manageable concepts and tools.

Over the fall semester Fractured Atlas will gradually launch more advance courses on topics such as:

Social Media Marketing

Shopping Your Screenplay

Presentation Venues

Board Development


Organization Management

Advanced Fundraising


Art Access

Becoming a Legal Business Entity

Check out the new and improved Fractured U. They are a great organization doing meaningful work.

The Arts and Vets: Designing a Program That Serves

In Author: John Cimino, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Health & Wellness on September 16, 2009 at 4:11 am

I’d like to tap the wisdom and creative juices of my fellow bloggers and readers in a real-time challenge.  I’m assembling a group of experienced artists from various disciplines here in the Hudson Valley of New York to participate in an on-going action seminar on the vital intersection of the arts and healthcare.  A combination of think tank and field research, the seminar’s goal is to cultivate, catalyze and use the knowledge and experience of artists to develop new approaches to programming in the arts and healthcare field, particularly in services to veterans.

The arts have always been a terrific spark for reflection and new thinking.  Also, of course, for pleasure, inspiration and refreshment.  Every one of these dividends would be a welcome experience for our young men and women returning from the conflicts overseas.   However, as we know, their needs run a good deal deeper.  Their lives have been profoundly shaken and often the last thing on their minds is taking care of themselves.  They have lived in service to others, to us and to their fellow soldiers.  Seeing a meaningful and rewarding road forward in their lives now that they are home will require a wisdom and mindset which too often does not come easily. 

So what can we do, as artists and entrepreneurs, to be of service to them?  What tools are at our disposal to be shared with our returning veterans?  Our veterans are rich in promise, talent and possibility and have probably demonstrated more courage and discipline than most of us will ever imagine.  Perhaps, some of you are veterans and can speak from experience.  The arts embody a way of thinking and exploring that we know can be helpful in problem-solving.  The arts have  nurtured, even healed our broken spirits.  What is the innovative, restorative relationship between the arts and veterans that can rightly serve them?  How is the invitation best extended?  How is the program idea marketed?  How does it find its resonance among those who may need it most?

Our action seminar will be on-going through the next several months.  Veterans and veterans services providers will also be joining in the dialogue.  Our hope is to jump-start new program ideas as early as this winter and spring.   I often say to groups of artists and entrepreneurs that the world needs your gifts.   That is certainly true in this instance.   So be encouraged and send on your thoughts.    Here’s to those who serve.


Meet me in the land mine field…

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone on September 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

dreamstime_3947474Are you ready to learn how to dance your way through a land mine field for your best entrepreneurial idea? Or perhaps you need a better one to be willing to try….

Remember my friends from my post An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic? Well, they seem to have fox trotted right past more than a few explosives. They have managed to find new space at a price they can finally afford, allowing their business to survive, but not with the landlord I referred to in the post. Of course many weeks of negotiation and uncertainty had to pass to bring them to this point.. and I am sure a few sleepless nights as well wondering if they would get through this…

Remember those 200 film editors I told you about in my post 200 Resumes, $1200.00 dollars? Well, I have received a total of 373 resumes from out-of- work or under employed freelance film editors wondering how they too can get through this period of time and make the bucks they need to survive.

Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart. You need an original idea or a new twist on an old one to stand out from the crowd in your field. This alone can seems difficult to find, as evident by 373 film editors in Chicago alone- and counting- looking for work.

And yet having entrepreneurial vision does NOT mean your entrepreneurial idea will work smoothly, quickly or be easy to scale, let alone survive, no matter how good and valuable it is– as my entrepreneurial friends from the first post I mentioned demonstrate.

Having vision ONLY means you see a unique path that you feel will have value to others and are inspired to try and turn into reality. The REAL HEAVY lifting comes from actually beginning to navigate your way THROUGH the obstacle filled field in front of you to turn your vision into a valuable resource for others and, as such, an income producing path. (Let the rumba begin!)

So, how long does it take to do this? And how difficult is it, really? ( Funny you should ask. It seems I have been in need of reminding myself of the answer to this very same question lately.)

It all depends on:

How much time you spend daily focusing on what you uniquely have to deliver and who will want it.

Your sense of urgency to generate income.

Your willingness to actively interact and learn from every interaction with potential customers until you identify how to explain and deliver your goods or services to your audience and profit.

Your willingness to fail with skill and grace, but openly and publicly, until you get it right.

Having a source of income to be able to keep at it until things click in place.

Your willingness to accept that a good idea is not enough… you need self confidence, tenacity and to figure out exactly how to market the hell out of your ideas without running out of cash until they resonate with others.

None of these skills, in my opinion, are any harder than learning how to excel at your artistry. They just are riddled with different problems, new challenges and a few explosives. What in life isn’t….

Even the Fed is getting on the Innovation Train

In Author: Adam Shames on September 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

Recently I stirred up a little innovation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, initially surprised to beAdam fed art hired by them and then even more surprised to learn of their ongoing focus for leaders: To stimulate their right, creative brains to keep them thinking differently and staying ahead of the curve. Here’s an artist’s rendering of me in action (right) during an evening program on collaboration and innovation.

Last year their officer retreat included a keynote by right-brain advocate Dan Pink. This year it was Roch Parayre, a Wharton professor and strategy consultant, whose focus was on peripheral vision, drawn from a book of that name written by his consulting colleagues, subtitled “Detecting the Weak Signals that will Make or Break your Company.”
Both Roch and I shared an emphasis on changing the cultural mindset to one that is more proactive rather than reactive, which for the Chicago Fed means to be able to see beyond their regular vision to anticipate change, notice red flags and react quickly to new trends.
The more instability and uncertainty in the outside world, Roch explained, the more right brain we need. He urged the Fed to develop a more experimental mindset of a learning organization, which means to be:
>more inquisitive and externally focused
>more experimental and innovative
>more able to share information and be fluid
>more rewarding of risk-taking
>more reliant on cross-functional teams
These are unquestionably the characteristics of more innovative organizations, and I was pleased to see the Fed heading in this direction. The train continues to move, so the more companies that can get aboard, the more equipped they–and all of us–will be to keep up with the speed of change.

For more from Adam, go to his Innovation on my Mind blog.

AND now for something different

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on September 15, 2009 at 3:46 am

How about  a change of perspective? 

My Acting Coach would say you need to get their attention, shock them and change their perspective.

And although this clip doesn’t shock, I found it reminded me that I’m playing it safe and moved me to remember that in America we avoid the big emotions.  What else do we stay away from?

Chavela Vargas – La Llorona (Video Clip)

Just another reminder through art, that I need to daily shake myself out of my every dayness.

Just another reminder that as an entrepreneur I’m not using all of me to succeed in my work and I should be re-examining and challenging my approach.