Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Author: Lisa Canning’ Category

What kind of artistic life in the future will you live?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness on September 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Lisa 2009What kind of artistic life in the future will you live? What does the rest of this year, 2010 and beyond hold for you? Can you describe it to me?

Do you see yourself becoming more involved in the creation of your artistry, do you see greater connectivity to others, what about the twisty- misty road called your creative journey finally occupying center stage?

Does your future artistic life need more time, more money, more training, more love, less self-loathing, more what… to achieve what it most needs?

I think every artist I have ever met has said, in one way or another that for them, their artistic life is about making a difference. But exactly how big of a difference were you thinking you will make and for whom? Will that difference be for you, for your immediate family, for your friends, your community, for the world?

What arts entrepreneurship training offers- that NOTHING ELSE IN LIFE that I have discovered yet does- is a way to achieve, shape, re-shape, define, re-define, refine and live the artistic life you have always wanted to live– exactly as you see it from moment to moment, day to day, week to week and year after year.

Albeit, just like most things in life, enjoying the journey to your destination is the most important part of the ride, but entrepreneurial training offers you a blank map to start and re-start until you create the perfect road to be able to. A road that feels and looks exactly right for you to take- one that you will find infectiously helps you learn how to truly enjoy looking out your window as you tavel along your way.

The trick is.. how many roads are you willing to try and create? If you keep designing, unknowingly, roads that turn out to be dead ends how much gas, time and energy are you willing to sacrifice, with an open-mind, before you simply become another believer that an artists life is a dream, a hobby or nothing more than a disjunct, disconnected, endless string of failed attempts and not a life?

How many years will it take before you start telling yourself, and then your family and friends in so many words, ” I cannot indulge myself with this expensive addiction any longer. Who am I kidding- it needs to be controlled and limited..”

When we passionately decided we love the arts, it can happen at any age, and we naively declare our hearts intentions to our family and friends- in those following moments, days, weeks and years after, how often do we give thought to exactly how to protect our love– let alone build an artistic life that still makes our knees buckle, our hearts pound and makes us coo “After all these years I am still madly in love with you. You give me everything in life I need. If it were not for you, where would my life be?”

(Pause)

It is almost hard for me to write another word following that thought. It gives me a big lump in my throat as I let those words sit with me.

It’s an understatement for me to say that I really hope you feel this way and always do.

And yet, if I had not thought long ago carefully about what kind of artistic life I wanted to live and then developed my entrepreneurial skills as a vehicle to achieve it, I am not sure where I would be today.

I love the view from my window. How about you?

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The New ETA has Launched!

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on September 2, 2009 at 12:40 am

eta-logo-revisedTake a moment and check out the new ETA website.

The ETA Resource Center is now open too!

7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, WEBSITES & BLOGS on August 28, 2009 at 5:59 am

Musicians? Artists? Dancers? Actors? Film Makers? This post, 7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs, that appeared today on Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, will FILL YOU UP with ideas!potters

Thank you Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship GCCE for adding us as a link to your blog! What a terrific resource GCCE is for ETA readership.

200 Resumes, $1200 dollars

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Theater/Film on August 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm

For those of you who might remember, back last March, with the help of a number of supportive individuals and their businesses, a set was designed to interview and video tape artistic entrepreneurs for the new ETA website.

Since then, much to my dismay, there was a breakdown in communication between the video editor who agreed to do the editing for admittedly very low pay and myself. As everyone else on this project had donated their time, but in recognition of the fact that the editing is the most time consuming, I was offering the editor free press at the beginning of each interview, and $200.00 an edit.

So of course, as you can image, the main issue that surfaced between us was that individual changed their mind about the amount of money they would accept for editing each interview. I could not pay enough for this individual and so while we parted ways, I also became overwhelmed working on the ETA website and put the project on pause.

Well, needless to say, it’s is time to get this project up and running. So, just the other day I finished transcribing the first interview, edited it down into its essential ingredients for viewers, and then ran an ad in a local paper in search of an editor.

Here is what my ad said:

NEEDED: Someone overqualified, affordable and available to edit six interviews for $150-200 an interview for a website series on arts entrepreneurship. The footage is about an hour’s worth and we need it edited into 20 minute interviews. Speed, good communication skills and a willingness to do good work matter- All for low pay! But help us anyway because you believe in our mission. Blog.EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Your name and contact info can appear at the beginning and end of each video. We have over 1000 readers daily and growing…

Three minutes after I payed my $25.00 to post the ad, and hit send, I had 4 replies. In the next hour I had 25. Within 8 hours I have had over 200 responses! And..gulp.. it has only been 24 hours. I fear how many more I am going to get.

But, so far over 200 individuals with film editing experience, in the Chicago market alone, or near vicinity, are willing to edit 6 interviews for $200.00 apiece.

Yikes!

I consider this REALLY low pay! These videos can take 15 to 20 hours each, EASILY to make look great.

While I wish, for the sake of these artists, I could pay more, I can’t. Nor does it make sense to when the market will bear my price– easily.

What has been really interesting about this experience is my ad clearly stated to the reader I was looking for someone who believed in what we were trying to accomplish. Of the 200 who replied not a single one directly said- “I get it. I understand what you are trying to accomplish and here is why I can help you better than anyone else.” A few hinted at it- but no one out right came out and said it.

So, in essence, not a single one of the responses I received really stood out. Most of them did not even have or offer a film reel, and those who did often had dead links to them or a security password on it that they did not share. Others wrote the email to ” Whom it May Concern,” when finding my first name would have taken about a minute, and others did not even write in full sentences or wrote a novel instead of a clear 5-7 sentences about who they were and why I should hire them.

If you don’t know it by now, let me remind you:

People don’t have time to read! The average person spends 96 seconds on a blog reading and even less when reading a resume. People will, however, keep reading if you have captured their interest.

You have to capture someone’s attention quickly in a cover letter of introduction– the first sentence. Then they will read the second and the third. And by the fifth they better be ready to pick up the phone or hit send and reply. This is especially true for me– having to open 200 email responses for a job that pay $1200.00!

I did, however, get some EXTRAORDINARILY QUALIFIED responses. But considering 73 of them were technically qualified (they had the gear and editing skills required for the job), I find it pretty interesting that only 4 were worth my time. Those 4 had clear professional writing, used my first name, and offered compelling reasons why they could do the job. One even figured out I was located in close proximity. Of course these individuals are the one’s I am most interested in.

Of the 200 responses, 103 were unemployed recent graduates from film schools, 73 have been working freelance and are out of work, 12 owned businesses that were established, and the remainder had related experience to film, but not directly as an editor.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a long line, for anything, my first thought is ” There must be another way around it.” I usually find a way around it too because of my entrepreneurial training and experience.

What about you?

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Batteries Included

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

horse
bug
viagra

While there are lots of ways to feel like your batteries are super charged in life, I think the only one that really works is following your heart.

Unlike your camera, computer, watch, or the clock you own that needs batteries to run, you are self-empowered and come with a life long battery included.

You see your heart never needs a new battery to super charge your life. Nor does it need the thrill of riding on a mechanical horse, or zooming around on the wings of a battery powered bug, or the jolt of a pill to get your juices flowing.

If you think you need any of those things to jump-start your life, your taking your one ever-lasting battery for granted. Don’t do that. It won’t stay super charged anyway for very long if you do, unless you give it the energy it really needs by fueling your life with passion.

Yeah, I know. We have talked about this a few times before: passionate pursuits are never easy. It sounds great to pursuit what you love, doesn’t it, until you find yourself riddled with moments that don’t seem passionate at all- times when you simply are grateful you do come with a battery included so you can just keep on running.

Sure we all have moments like these on the road to our adventure. But keep your eye on your vision, pursue your passions, sleigh your dragons anyway, beat back the bushes with your home made machete, and be the first to walk where only your dream can see.

After all, this is why you do come with batteries included…

ETA Competition Deadline Extended

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Ok, So we have extended the deadline for the ETA Competition to December 31st, 2009, Midnight.
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BUT WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????

There is now almost 1000 of you reading this blog daily and only ONE of you, so far, is brave enough to share what is in your heart? Don’t you want FREE help and national exposure to bring your ideas to life?

We want YOUR entry to be the winning one but we can’t give you the prize unless you enter. So WHERE ARE YOU??

eta-logo-revised
What’s your E.T.A. to join our tribe?

Learn more about the competition

Read Eli Epstein’s winning entry from Round I

Read all of the entries from Round I

Write your Entry! Hurry up! It’s ONLY 1000 words or less. Have a little faith in yourself and share your ideas with us.

Rodney Hatfield, Artist- His Story

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 20, 2009 at 3:05 am

"The Girl from Someplace Else"
I love Rodney Hatfield. I bought one of his paintings when I was in Santa Fe this past spring at my favorite gallery- Selby Fleetwood. His work, The Girl From Someplace Else, hangs over my desk and I just love her binocular view. She is my entrepreneurial gal- always looking for opportunity through the multi- lenses she sees through…

Here is a link to a video about Rodney’s story. Check it out. You’ll like it.

Want to Become a Teaching Artist? Here is your chance!

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 19, 2009 at 12:09 am

15Community~Word Project is currently accepting applications for our 2009-10 Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP). This is our 10th year of offering this comprehensive professional development and internship opportunity to teaching artists of all art forms and experience levels. We offer three levels of training, an Advanced Level for artists who have been teaching their art form for at least two years, a New and Beginning Level for artists and MFA students that are newer to the field, and an Undergraduate Level for artists who are currently enrolled in an undergrad program.

The applications are due September 21st, so there’s still plenty of time to apply. Please visit our website for an overview of the program or to download the applications:

CWP’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program

Please feel free to forward this information out to any interested parties.

Community~Word Project’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP) for the 2009-20010 School Year
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Would you like to have the opportunity to:

~ gain the skills to be paid to teach your art form to students in public school settings?

~ learn how to transform your creative practice into teaching tools to integrate the arts into the public school curriculum?

~ experience first-hand how the arts can be integrated into public school classrooms through our internship program?

~ join a community of artists that are interested in using their creative skills to reach out to underserved youth in NYC public schools?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We are pleased to announce the 10th year of TATIP, which offers practicing artists and MFA students the opportunity to transform their creative process into teaching tools to integrate the arts into the public school curriculum. Through this program, participants gain skills that enable them to reach out to underserved youth while gaining experience in NYC classrooms.

This training gives participants the opportunity to identify and explore their own creative and thinking processes and then to transform these processes into effective teaching tools. These tools become the foundation from which one can build and implement a meaningful curriculum. Throughout the training, participants will gain real-life classroom experience through our internship program as they assist experienced Community~Word Project teaching artists.

*PLEASE NOTE: There is a $75.00 tuition contribution fee payable upon acceptance to the program. Scholarships will be available; details and procedure for requesting scholarships will be forthcoming with notice of acceptance.

Application Deadline: Monday September 21, 2009 10:00am

The application is due September 21, 2009 and can be downloaded directly from our website.
Early applications are encouraged. Applications must be received in full by the deadline in order to be considered. Late or incomplete materials will not be accepted.

There are three levels of training offered; one for beginning and new teaching artists, one for advanced teaching artists that have at least two years experience working with underserved youth in the public school environment, and also an undergraduate level for individuals currently enrolled in an undergrad program. Applicants will be notified of acceptance before September 25. Please view the “Frequently Asked Questions About TATIP” document on our website for more information, or contact us with any questions about the applications or TATIP.

Program Breakdown

New and Beginning Level
~ The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (Beginning and New Level) begins in October 2009 and goes through June 2010. It begins with a mandatory five-day institute (five Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 7, December 5 and December 12 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm) that will focus on transforming your creative process into educational tools, developing innovative teaching methods, discovering how to integrate arts learning into public school curricula, exploring classroom management skills and developing arts-based exercises for elementary, middle and high school public school students. The institute is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ The institute is followed by five mandatory monthly two-hour evening seminars (January-June, dates TBA) that focus on reflecting on your experiences and development as a teaching artist, and further preparing for the classroom.

~ Throughout the Training and Internship Program you will gain hands-on teaching experience by joining Community~Word teaching artists in classroom residencies. From November to May, trainees commit to observing and assisting in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of eighteen weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians who are enrolled in an MFA program AND/OR are practicing professional artists.

Advanced Level

We also offer an Advanced program for experienced teaching artists. To be considered for the Advanced Training you must have at least two years experience as a Teaching Artist (teaching your art form) with underserved youth.

~ The Advanced Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program takes place between October 2009 and May 2010. It begins with a mandatory three-day institute (three Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 14 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm). The institute is a condensed version of the five seminars of the New and Beginning Level program and is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ From November to May, trainees commit to observing in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of three weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians who are enrolled in an MFA program AND/OR are practicing professional artists.

Undergraduate Level
To be considered for this level, you must currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program. The $75 tuition contribution fee is waived for all individuals accepted to the undergraduate program.

~ The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (Undergraduate Level) begins in October 2009 and goes through June 2010. It begins with a mandatory five-day institute (five Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 7, December 5 and December 12 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm) that will focus on transforming your creative process into educational tools, developing innovative teaching methods, discovering how to integrate arts learning into public school curricula, exploring classroom management skills and developing arts-based exercises for elementary, middle and high school public school students. The institute is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ The institute is followed by five mandatory monthly two-hour evening seminars (January-June, dates TBA) that focus on reflecting on your experiences and development as a teaching artist, and further preparing for the classroom. Undergraduate trainees must attend a minimum of two out of the five meetings.

~ Throughout the Training and Internship Program you will gain hands-on teaching experience by joining Community~Word teaching artists in classroom residencies. From November to May, trainees commit to observing and assisting in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of twelve weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to undergraduate students that are actively practicing as creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians.

Please visit our website for more information or to download the applications

For more information please contact Keith Kaminski, Program Director at
(212) 962 3820 ext. 2 or by email at kkaminski@communitywordproject.org

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

Sept 1st- The New ETA will be live!

In Author: Lisa Canning on August 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

eta-logo-revised
I bet you thought this day would never come?

Since March 2009 the new ETA Resource Center and website have been under construction. Vast amounts of time have been consumed building a library of resources for entrepreneurial artists. We anticipate, in the future, building additional resource libraries for cultivating entrepreneurship and artistry in business, universities and government.

The new ETA website will launch on Tuesday September 1st, 2009! For the price of your email address you will gain access to a rich resource library for those of you interested in arts entrepreneurship.

Please help us get the word out! This site is a labor of love and my hope is that you feel the same way too about creating vibrant opportunities for artists and future generations of artists to come.

Lisa Canning,
ETA Founder

Music Entrepreneurship Helps Young Musicians Chart Careers in a Crowded Market

In Author: Lisa Canning, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

This article is about ETA blogger David Cutler and his new book, The Savvy Musician. It was written by Andrew Druckenbrod and ran in in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday August 9th, 2009. The picture was illustrated by Stacy Innerst/Post-Gazette. I highly recommend David’s book if you want to learn how to become a “savvy musician!”

20090809musicianmoney_si_160Overpopulation, poverty and stagnation: The way the classical music industry is described these days you’d think it’s a Third World country. The recession has made an already tough existence even tougher for music students and those already looking for jobs.

“It is an extraordinarily difficult time to compete for traditional full-time jobs, like those in academia and in orchestras,” says David Cutler, a music professor at Duquesne University. “The market is over-saturated with talent, people are keeping their jobs for longer and orchestras are cutting back, not adding.”

But have things really gotten so bad that a student should follow that classic parental advice and go to medical or law school instead?

Not according to a new movement called music entrepreneurship that is gaining ground at schools around the country. Cutler is among several professors at the forefront of this change in attitude; his book, “The Savvy Musician” (Helius Press, $19.99, due out in November) is a guide to navigating these uncertain waters, targeted to those facing the “real world.”

More information about “The Savvy Musician”
• Advance copies of “The Savvy Musician,” to be released widely in November, can be purchased at http://www.savvymusician.com.
• Have you ventured off the beaten path for your musical career? If so, we would like to hear about it. Go to ClassicalMusings to share your story.
Among the topics, the book discusses details of marketing, recording and grant writing, but it spends most of its time articulating bigger concepts of the “entrepreneurial mind-set.”

For years, conventional wisdom has been that leadership in the classical music industry should work to increase demand so that more young musicians can get jobs. Better funding, it is said, should be found to expand orchestras and develop audiences, and music should be cultivated at all levels. But for advocates of entrepreneurship such as Cutler, it is the musician who must adapt to the shrinking and changing marketplace.

“The days of being just a classical violinist or jazz saxophonist are over,” says Cutler. “The musician of the future considers the whole package. You should be a great player, but that is not the goal, but the minimum.”

Many feel that music education in America — slow to change in the past half century — has failed students in this regard. “We have created more extremely talented musicians than ever before,” says Cutler. “But in curriculum, we have completely ignored many other essential issues such as how to make a living or how to make an difference in society.”

Cutler and others see the new environment brimming with possibilities, even as it has shut down or backlogged traditional routes. “It is hard, but there are opportunities that weren’t there before,” he says. “If [your quartet] tries to get a gig at Carnegie Hall, you might be up against 300 quartets, but if you go to a smaller community you can make it work.”

One sterling example is the Ying String Quartet, which began its career in the 1990s as the resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2,000 people. It performed in homes, schools, churches and banks, with a philosophy that “concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life.”

The Ying Quartet’s off-the-beaten path garnered national interest and forged its musicality as a group so that today the quartet is considered one of the top in the world, playing more typical venues such as Carnegie Hall.

Another alternative route was taken by a group of Chicago musicians who created a split business model. They formed two companies, a nonprofit called Fifth House Ensemble that gives concerts and education and a for-profit called Amarante Ensembles that plays parties and gatherings. Having both puts the musicians on more even financial footing and spreads out risk.

Other examples of innovative thinking abound, from the genre-bending and branding-savvy Kronos Quartet to John Cimino, a baritone who uses music-making as a metaphor for creativity and leadership in presentations to Fortune 500 corporations.

So, the problem isn’t that there is a glut of musicians, Cutler and others argue, but that there are too many seeking traditional jobs without really considering the alternatives. Colleges and conservatories traditionally have not equipped students with the right tools to prosper in a shrinking marketplace.

Gary Beckman, founder of the Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network, realized this deficiency firsthand long before the economy laid it bare for all to see.

“I went through undergrad and grad school, and I saw many musicians who were more than capable, but because they didn’t get training and information about economic reality they didn’t go on to play,” he says. “So many are lost each year.”

Beckman, Cutler and others at schools, such as the University of South Carolina, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Colorado, are on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship programs and courses emerging to train students to forge their own paths.

“We need students that have a broad view about their careers,” says Beckman, who is a visiting professor in South Carolina’s Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music. He estimates that as many as 100 colleges offer at least one course in arts entrepreneurship. “In the context of 6,000 universities with arts departments, that it isn’t taking [academia] by storm, but steps are being made and the seeds are starting to germinate.”

“Entrepreneurship is gaining traction because it offers something significant to every student considering a career,” says Jeffrey Nytch, director of the University of Colorado’s Entrepreneurship Center for Music. It’s not just about sending musicians to the campus career center, he says, but totally rethinking their career.

“Deans and provosts are behind it,” says Beckman. “Everyone realizes there is a problem, but it is a very delicate negotiation between faculty, accreditation, community, students, funders, administration. About half a dozen colleges add a course every year, and I think there will be a explosion in the next three to five years.”

Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music will offer its first classes on entrepreneurship and leadership this fall, coordinated by Cutler, who joined the faculty in 2001. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh do not offer entrepreneurship courses, but both bring in speakers on the subject and address the business of music on a one-on-one manner. “Many people have great ideas, but if you have the skills to make them a reality, then it is a success,” says Noel Zahler, head of CMU’s School of Music.

“We have an ethical responsibility to address these issues,” says Cutler, who also will re-configure Duquesne’s contemporary ensemble to be student-driven to “function like a chamber ensemble would in the real world.”

“This is about empowering students,” says Beck. He thinks Cutler’s book brings that same confidence to those in schools or already struggling to make a living as musicians. “What David has done has helped to outline how broad an education one needs to have a career in music.”

New Endowment Chairman Sees Arts as Economic Engine

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on August 10, 2009 at 1:15 am

By ROBIN POGREBIN
Published in Arts Journal: August 7, 2009

Now that the Broadway producer Rocco Landesman is officially chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts — he was confirmed on Friday — his straight-talking style, Missouri roots and affinity for baseball and country music are expected to give him a leg up with many legislators.

Mr. Landesman in his Manhattan office on Tuesday with the “R” from the sign that hung at the Virginia Theater. He kept the letter after the theater was renamed for August Wilson.

But in his first sit-down interview since his nomination by President Obama, Mr. Landesman’s comments suggested that he may nevertheless raise hackles on Capitol Hill after he is sworn in in the next few days. Speaking recently in his office above the St. James Theater on West 44th Street, where Tony Awards abut baseball trophies — testament to his prowess as a producer and as a pitcher in the Broadway Show League — Mr. Landesman, 62, made clear that he has little patience for the disdain with which some politicians still seem to view the endowment, more than a decade after the culture wars that nearly destroyed it.

He was particularly angered, he said, by parts of the debate over whether to include $50 million for the agency in the federal stimulus bill, citing the comment by Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in February, that arts money did not belong in the bill. That kind of thinking suggests that “artists don’t have kids to send to college,” Mr. Landesman said, “or food to put on the table, or medical bills to pay.”

In American politics generally, he added: “The arts are a little bit of a target. The subtext is that it is elitist, left wing, maybe even a little gay.”

And while he praised the way recent endowment chairmen have carefully rebuilt the agency’s political standing, Mr. Landesman — who is known more as an independent entrepreneur than as a diplomatic company man — said he was not planning to follow too closely in their footsteps. While Dana Gioia, his immediate predecessor, made a point of spreading endowment funds to every Congressional district, for example, Mr. Landesman said he expected to focus on financing the best art, regardless of location.

“I don’t know if there’s a theater in Peoria, but I would bet that it’s not as good as Steppenwolf or the Goodman,” he said, referring to two of Chicago’s most prominent theater companies. “There is going to be some push-back from me about democratizing arts grants to the point where you really have to answer some questions about artistic merit.”

“And frankly,” he added, “there are some institutions on the precipice that should go over it. We might be overbuilt in some cases.”

Mr. Landesman does believe that the agency should be “perceived as being everywhere,” he said. “But I don’t know that we have to be everywhere if the only reason for supporting an institution is its geography.”

On the subject of the endowment’s budget, too, Mr. Landesman did not hold back. Though he would not put a dollar figure on his own fiscal goals, he called the current appropriation of $155 million “pathetic” and “embarrassing.” And he seemed to imply dissatisfaction with increases proposed by Congress and by the president, which both fall short of the agency’s 1992 budget of $176 million.

“We’re going to be looking for funding increases that are more than incremental,” he said.

As for grants to individual artists — which were eliminated in 1996 after years of complaints from conservative legislators about the financing of controversial art — Mr. Landesman said he would reinstate them “tomorrow” if it were up to him. (It’s up to Congress.)

Mr. Landesman said that as chairman he will focus on the potential of the arts to help in the country’s economic recovery.

“I wouldn’t have come to the N.E.A. if it was just about padding around in the agency,” he said, and worrying about which nonprofits deserve more funds. “We need to have a seat at the big table with the grown-ups. Art should be part of the plans to come out of this recession.”

“If we’re going to have any traction at all,” he added, “there has to be a place for us in domestic policy.”

He was less clear about the details of this ambitious agenda, though he talked about starting a program that he called “Our Town,” which would provide home equity loans and rent subsidies for living and working spaces to encourage artists to move to downtown areas.

“When you bring artists into a town, it changes the character, attracts economic development, makes it more attractive to live in and renews the economics of that town,” he said. “There are ways to draw artists into the center of things that will attract other people.”

The program would also help finance public art projects and performances and promote architectural preservation in downtown areas, Mr. Landesman added. “Every town has a public square or landmark buildings or places that have a special emotional significance,” he said. “The extent that art can address that pride will be great.”

Given the agency’s “almost invisible” budget, he said, goals like these would require public-private partnerships that enlist developers, corporations and individual investors — largely by getting them “to understand the critical role of art in urban revitalization.”

Such arrangements — which he said will be a “signature part” of his chairmanship — will play “right into the president’s wheelhouse,” Mr. Landesman added, speaking of Mr. Obama’s concerns about cities and economic development.

The new chairman said he already has a new slogan for his agency: “Art Works.” It’s “something muscular that says, ‘We matter.’ ” The words are meant to highlight both art’s role as an economic driver and the fact that people who work in the arts are themselves a critical part of the economy.

“Someone who works in the arts is every bit as gainfully employed as someone who works in an auto plant or a steel mill,” Mr. Landesman said. “We’re going to make the point till people are tired of hearing it.”

As for the former agency slogan, “A Great Nation Deserves Great Art,” he said, “We might as well just apologize right off the bat.”

Mr. Landesman said he realized he was not the obvious man for the job. “There are a lot of people whose résumés laid out a lot better than mine,” he said. “But I think the president is serious when he talks about change. I think he wanted to bring a new energy to this agency.”

Mr. Landesman’s own résumé starts with his upbringing in and around the cabaret theater his father and uncle ran in St. Louis, the Crystal Palace. Performers including the Smothers Brothers and Mike Nichols and Elaine May often headlined there during his childhood, some of them staying in the Landesman family’s basement apartment after their gigs.

Mr. Landesman, who has a reddish beard and lanky physique, did a lot of acting as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, then went on to the Yale School of Drama, where he earned a Ph.D. in dramatic literature and criticism and stayed on as an assistant professor for four years, until 1978.

After leaving Yale, Mr. Landesman started a mutual fund, bought racehorses until he had amassed a dozen — one successful horse would enable him to purchase another — and about three years ago, he said, “came within about five minutes of buying the Cincinnati Reds.” (He lost out to another bidder at the last minute, which he said was “painful.”)

In 1985 he produced the Broadway musical “Big River,” which won that year’s Tony for best musical, at a theater owned by the Jujamcyn group, the third-largest of the big three New York theater companies, after Shubert and Nederlander. Two years later he was hired as the president of Jujamcyn Theaters, and in 2005 he bought the company; in his new position he will retain his ownership stake but will not participate in the company’s activities.

Jack Viertel, Jujamcyn’s creative director, described Mr. Landesman as smart, decisive and “a very entertaining person to be around,” but also “mercurial,” “unpredictable” and “an extraordinarily hardheaded businessman.”

Paul Libin, the producing director at Jujamcyn, said he was at first “taken aback” by the idea of Mr. Landesman’s leading the endowment, but that he has come to believe that the job requires “someone who is a general,” and that his boss fits the bill.

Mr. Landesman wasn’t tapped for the job. “I’d love to say the president drafted me, and I had to answer the call of duty, but no,” he said. “I put my hand up for this.”

“Everybody I talked to said, ‘This is the worst idea I’ve ever heard, put it out of your head immediately,’ ” Mr. Landesman said. “The idea of running a 170-person federal bureaucracy seemed crazy.”

But it’s an unusual moment in history, he said, and he wanted to be part of it. President Obama was “the first candidate in my memory who made arts part of the campaign,” Mr. Landesman said. “He had an arts policy committee and an arts policy statement and arts advisers.”

Cultural mavens like himself feel they “have one of their own” in the White House, he added. “It makes the arts community feel finally, for the first time in a long time, there might be some wind at their back.”

Open-Mike Night for Entrepreneurs

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on August 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm

a_lnightlife_0803
Written by Laura Fitzpatrick, August 3, 09 for Time Magazine

Open-mike-night performers always have to worry about audience members stealing their shtick. But a joke is one thing; what about a business plan? That’s a risk for budding entrepreneurs who pay $15 at the door or $20 a month to hone their 90-second pitches onstage. Attendees at the biweekly open-mike events in Philadelphia and Los Angeles offer feedback over booze and pizza, while simulcast viewers weigh in via Twitter. The wide reach makes some participants nervous. “You have no control over who’s listening,” says Michael Riordan, 26, who unveiled his plan for a New Age yearbook company at the inaugural Philly event in January. “I didn’t give a lot of details.”

The name of these entrepreneurial gatherings — Bloblive — aims to reflect the malleability of ideas. (To drive the point home, participants receive blue Silly Putty in silver tins labeled SHAPE YOUR THOUGHTS.) Founder Ami Kassar, a dotcom start-up veteran, launched the events on a regular basis in April as an off-line extension of his idea-sharing website, ideablob.com Plus, he notes, “being an entrepreneur can be lonely.”

Though the crowds are still fairly small — about 50 people a night — Kassar is weighing expansion into more cities. Meanwhile, participants, whose ideas have ranged from an open-source moviemaking website to a wedding registry for grooms, say they’ve gained p.r. contacts, business partners and moral support.

As for those fears that the shady guy hogging the Beer Nuts will walk off with your idea? Riordan, on his lawyers’ advice, makes people sign a nondisclosure agreement before divulging more details. Others take their chances with an honor code not to steal one another’s ideas. Says Kassar: “We’ve never heard a complaint.” At least not yet.

Click here to learn more about Bloblive.

The Business Community and The Arts

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Health & Wellness, WEBSITES & BLOGS on August 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Late last year, Americans for the Arts merged with Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), creating the largest-ever advocacy group for the arts in the private sector. The idea behind the merger was to create a partnership that will increased private-sector support for the arts and arts education by engaging and educating business leaders nationwide on the economic impact and value of the arts in business and community settings.

The Business Committee for the Arts, Inc. (BCA), was founded in 1967 by David Rockefeller. It is a national not-for-profit organization that brings business and the arts together. It provides businesses of all sizes with the services and resources necessary to develop and advance partnerships with the arts that benefit business, the arts and the community.

Why is BCA so important to the development of the arts? Because private-sector support for the arts from individuals, foundations, and businesses represents a critical piece of arts funding in America and yet in recent years, the larger private-sector relationship with the arts and arts organizations has changed dramatically. While business leaders continue to support the arts, recent modest gains in overall giving disguise the fact that the market share of total philanthropy devoted to the nonprofit arts has declined by nearly one-third since the early 1990’s.

As stated by Americans for The Arts “In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever for businesses to invest in the arts. This investment advances a company’s visibility and brand, improves employee morale, improves quality of life, and provides economic benefits to the entire community”.

Each year BCA recognizes 10 companies that demonstrate exceptional involvement enriching the workplace, education and the community. Here is BCA’s list for 2008:

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Houston, TX
Brown-Forman Corporation, Louisville, KY
Emprise Bank, Wichita, KS
First Tennessee, Memphis, TN
H&R Block, Inc., Kansas City, MO
Limited Brands, Inc., Columbus, OH
Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, WI
Sweetwater Sound, Inc., Fort Wayne, IN
Wachovia, Charlotte, NC
Zions First National Bank, Salt Lake City, UT

Want to learn more about BCA? www.bcainc.org

Social Entrepreneurs Learn How to Grow Their Business

In Author: Lisa Canning, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

This press release came across The Business Wire on July 31, 2009. This conference, held at Santa Clara University, seems like something artists should apply for next year. Good stuff happening at Santa Clara!

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society will soon kick off a two-week program as part of its Global Social Benefit Incubator, in which venture capitalists and technology executives trade ideas with social entrepreneurs from around the world.

These innovators and entrepreneurs will descend on Silicon Valley August 16-28 for an intensive, two-week residential “boot camp” intended to boost their socially conscious business ventures into the realm of sustainability.

The goal: Create a plan to assist nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to expand their work using Silicon Valley business models.

But what does a Silicon Valley venture capitalist like Jeff Miller from Redpoint Ventures or Brad Mattson, founder of Mattson Technology, have in common with a Guatemalan company helping slum dwellers raise worms for fertilizer?

More than you’d think, said longtime entrepreneur Bob Dench, the lead mentor for the program. “We share a common interest in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, whether it’s a drip irrigation project in India or a software business in Silicon Valley,” he said.

“Even the most experienced Silicon Valley executives are not necessarily prepared for the unique challenges of being an entrepreneur in developing countries,” added Mattson. “These entrepreneurs usually have promising social businesses, but they need help finding a business model that is sustainable, scaling their business, and presenting a fundable business plan. That’s where we might help.”

Attendees hail from all over the globe, and typically serve their home country’s poorest residents, known as the “Base of the Pyramid.”

For example:

Byoearth of Guatemala, which helps slum dwellers get into the business of selling worm byproducts as fertilizer.
Husk Power Systems from India, an award-winning company that turns discarded rice husks into affordable power for millions.
Grass Roots Action for Social Participation of India, which utilizes “carbon credits” (fees from “polluting” companies in developed countries) to manufacture affordable, ecologically friendly wood stoves for the rural poor.
This is the seventh year of SCU’s program, which received more than 350 applications through SocialEdge.org — triple last year’s total.

Since the beginning of the year, the 16 selected entrepreneurs have also been getting coaching from afar from their Silicon Valley mentors. Now, they are coming to SCU’s campus for a two-week “boot camp” of back-to-back classes, lectures, business-plan honing, and cross-pollination with other entrepreneurs.

The program culminates in a business plan presentation August 27, which is open to the public by RSVP.

“Our class and our curriculum for GSBI 2009 really address the new realities of social entrepreneurship,” said Director Jim Koch, Bill and Jan Terry Professor of Management at SCU. “We have a course on how to manage distribution in countries lacking basic infrastructure, two speakers who fund social entrepreneurs describing investment criteria, and a significant new emphasis on issues related to operational excellence and execution.”

Members of this year’s class are focused in four general areas: livelihoods and economic development; the environment and affordable energy; health and education; and information and communications technology.

Businesses that have graduated from the GSBI program have gone on to collectively serve or benefit millions of people.

Alumni include the micro-lending website Kiva.org, African solar-radio maker Freeplay Foundation, and reading-glasses provider Vision Spring. GSBI leaders estimate that they have a 40 percent success rate among alumni.

About the Global Social Benefit Incubator GSBI™

The signature program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society and cosponsored by the Leavey School of Business, GSBI was founded in 2003 by SCU Management Professors Jim Koch and Al Bruno, and entrepreneur Patrick Guerra. The trio saw a need to “incubate” promising businesses that were trying to address vital social needs of their home countries. The program now attracts hundreds of applicants from more than 25 countries every year.

GSBI™ is funded in part by grants from the Skoll Foundation, the Palo Alto-based supporter of global social entrepreneurs created by eBay’s founding president Jeff Skoll; 1999 RNN Foundation; and the Palo Alto-based Peery Foundation, a family foundation established to empower youth, reduce poverty and encourage social entrepreneurship in the Bay Area and around the world. For more information, see http://www.scu.edu/sts/gsbi/.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see http://www.scu.edu

An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Leadership, Legal, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on July 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

Lisa 2009Today I drove into Chicago to meet two women who run and own a two-year-old-child- development center. For the purposes of this post, they and their business will remain nameless, but the jist of their story I will share because it holds a few really important entrepreneurial lessons…. and a little bit of magic.

First- a little bit of background: My meeting with these women was my first. I was referred to them by another client. They expressed interest in finding a business coach, so I made the trip to meet with them.

What I learned while I was there: These two women have created a center that over the past two years has grown from an idea, into a business plan, to a real physical location that now 100 families 3-5 times a week use weekly for their children to play and learn through arts based experiences.

These ladies are extremely intelligent, well educated, hold advanced degrees, and have had very successful careers. They were inspired to start a business together based of their common interests and past lives where they realized the importance of arts education and what it could bring to a child’s developmental learning through play. Childs Play Touring Theater, which I have written about before, has a similiar focus through theater- another extraordinary business in its own right.

But my point in sharing their story with you, is to reveal how close they are to failing in their business. While they bravely and fearlessly invested their time and money for the past two years, and risked their futures while passionately embracing their mission, they are finding themselves feeling uncertain about their future in business mostly because they did not plan for change in their business plan.

Every business plan changes. We start with one on paper and then need to keep revising it as we go. These women wrote their plan and then when it no longer made sense to follow it, stopped using it as a measuring stick.

What I mean by this is that a business plan is written with both intellectual mastery of your venture and emotional mastery of your understanding of what it will take to accomplish. It is written with a certain level of profitability to achieve, sales and specific offerings in mind. When any one of these elements is not being achieved, as a result of economic conditions, clients needs and desires or for any other reason, it is extremely important to revisit both your thinking and emotional understanding of what has changed and why.

This allows you to not only figure out how to get “back on track,” or find an equally new parallel track, but it also educates your “gut” –increasing your awareness– about what it looks and feels like when the sand under your feet is shifting and you need to zig or zag, right then. This awareness becomes critical as your venture grows, and remains critical through out the life of your entire venture.

So, as a result of having distanced themselves emotionally from their plan, and not continuing to revise their course, NOW they have a real problem- their business might not survive.

What created their problem? Where was the zig they missed acting on?

With an extraordinary economic downturn looming unannounced before they opened, plain and simply- their passion lead them to open in a large location and spend more on space than they now can afford. The business did not grow as quickly as they had projected. While they have retained customers through this downturn, they have not added them, as predicted in their plan. Having not taken a salary in two years, they are now weary, their planned savings has run out and their landlord wants his money for rent past due and frankly wants them evicted.

So what would you tell them to do? Pray? Close their doors and run?

Sometimes, in key moments in a venture- when everything can turn to dust ( and everyone has these moments) the chemistry is perfectly ripe for magic to happen. Let me explain.

You see when I was driving down to meet them, I was following the directions my GPS was giving me. As I left the expressway and turned on a major road that intersected with their street, I looked to my left and saw a business that sold kids furniture that had a name that was extremely similar to theirs. At first I thought maybe it was their location. But then I realized, while the name of this business complimented theirs nicely, it was an entirely different business.

Thinking nothing more about it I drove to my meeting. Well, as their stress filled tale unfolded before my eyes, and we began to brainstorm about how they could avoid bankruptcy and closing their doors, I remembered the building with the sign I saw around the corner from them. I quickly asked them if they knew the owner and the business and they said yes. In fact the owner of that business had made a point, on several occasions, of coming to visit and offering advice and encouragement. In turn, they had referred business to him.

It was right then it popped into my head that their business was an excellent marketing opportunity for the owner of this childrens furniture business. His store would benefit from having a play center inside of it. Why? Because nothing but parents walk in and out to pick up their kids. Parents could browse while they wait for classes to finish or as they come and go with their kids.

By pitching the idea of moving their business into his store- which by the way is a huge store with lots of extra space- not only could their synergy help each of them, but potentially these women could negotiate a free place, or almost free place, to run their business because of their ability to bring in clients to the furniture store daily and build traffic and interest for his products. Not to mention the fact that currently the owner is not open Monday through Friday- but only by appointment- and by allowing these woman to run their business in his space, he would have built in store hours and be open for business as these women easily could allow people to browse and set up the owners appointments.

It turns out that this owner is a furniture manufacturer first, and a retail store owner second. He also runs large print advertisement in major publications–the same ones that would help these two women and their business. By encouraging him to include in his advertising that he hosts a learning development/play center for children inside his store, it will only add to the communities positive impression of his business and interest in it.

Seems as though, magically, we might have stumbled into not only a clever marketing proposition for both businesses but also a way for these two women to not close their doors. And the most magical part about it was that for the most part, the idea that held the most promise and quickest fix for them was right there for the taking– if they could have been a little more able to zig and zag.

It just took them inviting a total stranger in to speak with them, with a good mind for out of the box ideas, and a lot of experience “zigging and zagging,” to let them see the connections they already had and could leverage.

Next week these two ladies have asked me to take the lead in negotiating this vision over lunch with the owner of the furniture store. I hope the cosmos keeps the fairy dust sprinkler on until then–when your parched enough to die, a little goes a long way to restoring you to life.

What Role Does Artistry Play in Creativity?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Health & Wellness, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk on July 26, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Last week, when I attended Columbia College’s Creative Entrepreneurship Conference, an interesting tension arose between myself and a participant of the conference.

In my panel discussion, “Creative Entrepreneurship in A Time of Change”, I raised the issue of why is it that there are not more artistic individuals becoming leaders of creativity in the 21st Century Creative Economy? Why is it that on Fast Company’s 2009– 100 most creative individuals in business list only 22% are from classical artistic disciplines and shouldn’t there be more?

It seemed the thought that artistry should be at the center of creative leadership struck a nerve with a woman who, though not an artist herself, often trains teaching artists. While I won’t name this individual, her comment back to me was that artistry “is just one of many tools and that creativity does not require it nor should it have to.” She went on to add that ” it is more important that creativity be embedded in all we do and it matters little if art is part of it or not.”

Ever since that exchange I have been thinking about her comment. I agree, creativity needs to be embedded in all we do. And I feel no shame in adding that I am sure we MUST place all of the classical art forms in artistic education at the center of teaching artists themselves, and the rest of the world, how to become more creative.

For artists development, the path is simple. Artistic development first. Creativity Training second. Synthesis into an Entrepreneurial Mindset third. For all others: realization of the value of artistry first, learning from others to expand their creative thinking through artistry second, synthesis into their chosen fields third.

For artists: Those who study the arts professionally deserve more than anyone to be taught to have the vision to lead in this area because they come to it, first and foremost, with integrity, a desire to learn the discipline and the glue– passion to do something positive with their art form to change the world. While often, through the educational process, this energy becomes misguided into ” its all about me and how I FEEL when I create art,” because of all the individual focus, private lessons, single-skill building, that often translates into a myopic view of artistry and consequently few professional opportunities resulting in low self esteem, like Jim Hart said, “We need to teach our students how to have vision. Imagine the cultural implications.”

What kind of cultural implications come immediately in mind? Take for example the amazingly creative investment bank, Goldman Sach’s. Not only did they make oodles of money from their creativity, but they did it on the kind of scale that almost destroyed the US Economy. If your into economics, the Rolling Stone article about their “creativity” is a worthy read.

And in case you are wondering what “culture has to do with this”, culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning “to cultivate”) is a term that has different meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of “culture” in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. However, the word “culture” is most commonly used in three basic senses:
~ Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
~ An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
~The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.

It seems unlikely that anyone in leadership at Goldman Sach’s learned their “culture” of creativity from a school trained dancer, poet, actor or film maker, but, clearly, for better or worse, they are, and continue to be, a creative culture. But what if they had? What if artistic expression had been embedded at the core of their “creativity training” as an organization? Might it have changed what kind of company they built?

Certainly “creativity” does not depend on dance, music, writing, theater or film to exist, but one’s heart is purest when the passion of well honed creative expression through a classic art form is expressed. There is nothing like feeling connected to yourself and to others through the expression of artistry. This is a very different sensation that the expression of creativity that does not necessarily create this kind of connectivity to heart and mind.

I believe artistry, unlike creativity brings a higher purpose, a need for self reflection and examination, a connection to other that can transcend words or ideas and an openness of thought that creative training alone, side swipes, at best.

And yet, artistry quickly becomes short sided and littered with dead end signs professionally without being fueled by creativity. Artistry needs to transcend itself into a creative profession, just like Alex Beauchamp writes about in her blog Girl at Play.

Artists need to develop their creativity to offer others their gifts. Creative individuals needs artistry to give their employees, companies and communities a sense of higher purpose and connectivity to their lives and the lives of others.

Artists can change the world. We simply need vision AND creative skills to embed our artistry into the cultural learning of an organization, and humanity, to become the next generation of leaders our world needs.

Austin, TX: New Arts Entrepreneurial Finishing School- Opening 2010

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on July 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

When it comes to insisting that all artists becoming more entrepreneurial, James Hart and I are kindred spirits. I cannot agree more with James statement that “We need to teach our students how to have vision. Imagine the cultural implications.”

I met Jim last weekend at Columbia College’s Creative Entrepreneurship Conference. James Hart is living my dream! He and his family just returned to the United States this past year, after founding, building and finally selling a professional finishing school focused on entrepreneurship training for theater students in Norway called TITAN Teaterskole.

The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN Teaterskole), is truly one of a kind and its creation was, for Jim, a true labor of love. The school is now in its fifth year of operation and in the very capable hands of Brendan McCall, who left his teaching position in the acting program at the Yale School of Drama masters program to head, run and own TITAN.

Now, with that incredible experience under his belt, Jim plans on opening, in the fall of 2010, in Austin Texas The Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, just like the one he built in Norway. It will be founded in Jim’s educational programming and philosophy which he calls The Hart Technique.

What is the Hart Technique?
The Hart Technique is a two-pronged approach to theatrical training. It is equal part Artistic technique and Entrepreneurship. Artists studying the Hart Technique have a foundation of artistic thinking. They know how to think, as artists. They are sensitive to the impulses that move them and have vast imaginations. They also have a practical viewpoint which stems from market realities. This later viewpoint, which is unique in American theatre training, enables graduates to aide their communities, to be necessary as artists, to fill gaps in community cultural offerings. They are fiercely determined and committed to overcoming career obstacles and know how to both lead and follow. Because of this entrepreneurship skill set, graduates are more able to make a living via their creativity. IMAGINE THAT!!!

The best way to learn about The Hart Technique is to experience it and practice it yourself. Workshops are offered in a wide range of venues–in theatre companies, colleges, universities and privately.

What makes the Hart Technique different from other theatre training?
The majority of theatre training programs in America are offering all arts technique and no business skills. This typical path is usually comprised of a version of the Stanislavski technique and its normal support classes. However, we, as educators, know that this path leads to widespread unemployment. Each reader should ask themselves, if we know that this technique leads to under and unemployment, why is American theatre training still following this standard path? I believe the reason lies in the fact that schools must be marketable. They have found a system that generates student numbers, but not students with a number of jobs.

How is the Hart Technique of service to society?
One of the facets of The Hart Techniques is that students are guided to discover their “voice” or unique perspective or way of expression. Graduates have this unique expression, coupled with entrepreneurial skills. As entrepreneurs, they know how to study their markets and communities and find gaps. They can then fill these gaps, eventually creating niches.

Graduates who know how to create opportunities for themselves, inevitably create opportunities for others. As these entrepreneur artists create original enterprises for profit, they inevitably create jobs.

What skills do graduates of The Hart Technique have?
Graduates have entrepreneurial skills. They have a knowledge of creating and adhering to a budget, how to create a mission statement, how to lead themselves and others, how to market themselves (and generate press as they do), and a wide range of other business related skills. Artistically, they know how to have vision and build that vision into a concrete reality. They are masters of brainstorming and can follow their creative impulses without fear or judgement. They understand text analysis and how to effectively play a role. Not only can they play a role, but they can direct others in the playing of roles. Often times, our graduates direct others in roles they have personally written. In brief, our graduates have the skills to compete for existing work, but have the ability to create their own.

What jobs can a graduate expect to have?
Graduates of The Hart Technique have created artistic companies (theatre and production), have sponsored gallery showings, done standup, acted in and directed films and professional theatre. Many do go on to compete for commercial opportunities of a standard nature. Still more go on to create their own opportunities, profiting as they do.

Is The Hart Technique applicable ONLY for theatre artists?
Absolutely not. The Hart Technique is applicable towards any medium of artistry AND enables artists to hop from one medium to another.

What if I am not interested in starting my own business or being a leader?
None of us knows what five years down the road brings us, much less tomorrow. One constant in life is change. Why limit oneself? Leadership skill enables one to lead oneself in the most effective manner possible (in addition to others). The Hart Technique helps artists develop discipline–the sort of discipline of a marathon runner. That is a skill set that will serve one throughout their life.

Why are more schools NOT offering similar training?
Most theatre training programs in America copy what the big, successful graduate training programs are doing (There is some exception to this, of course). Knowing that this typical system (all arts and no business) leads towards widespread unemployment, one must ask, “is it ethical to continue teaching this typical curriculum”?

In time, more schools will begin to offer such entrepreneurial training in their curriculums, as it is a system that generates employment. American theatre training NEEDS to go in this direction. This sort of training stimulates new voices with perspective. These individuals have the tehcnique to build their ideas and the business technique to make a living.

Some schools believe changing their curriculums to be too risky, if they are generating enough student interest now. However, to those institutions and individuals, I say, “Post your graduate career success record. Make public how successful your curriculums are (or are not).

Curriculums such as The Hart Technique serve students and institutions alike. Graduates have a higher likelihood of working and schools can boast of all of the graduates who work almost immediately out of their programs.

Interested in enrolling in the new school? Questions about the program, tuition, referring a student?
Contact Jim at:jim@harttechnique.com
Phone: 512.410.9335
Fax: 512.380.0155

About Jim Hart
Jim Hart is an award-winning actor, director and producer. His work has been seen in America, Russia, Norway and Taiwan.

As a director, he has directed numerous Tony Award-winning and Hollywood actors, including Marian Seldes, Roger Rees, Dylan Baker, Kerry Butler, and others. He has directed classics of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Marivaux, Gogol, Miller and more, including a large number of world-premiere productions. He is currently directing “The Story of a Mother”, an animated tale, and “On Death and Dying”, a documentary on our culture’s many perspectives on death and dying. He serves as Producer and Artistic Director of Sleeping Hero Productions.

Hart is the founder and former Dean of TITAN Teaterskole (The International Theatre Academy Norway) in Oslo, Norway and former artistic director of TITAN Teatergruppe, a professional theatre company—both of which are located in Oslo, Norway.

As an actor, Hart has performed in a number of venues including Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, (where he received the Judy Award for his performance of Puck), Theatre Alliance in D.C., and Internationally in St. Petersburg, Russia and Taichung, Taiwan.

Hart is a Fox Fellow, having received a grant to study ritualistic mask dancing in Bali and India. He spent nearly a year in Asia, studying ritualistic theatre in Nepal, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong, and is one of the founders of The World-wide Art Collective, the largest theatre festival in the history of Taiwan.

He served as founder and Artistic Director of the New York-based theatre company Etudes Workshops (2001 to 2003). Etudes explored multi-cultural theatre forms of the Fantastic (focusing on rhythm, physical aesthetics, and masks and puppets). This venue, drawing teachers from a multitude of disciplines and mediums within New York, exposed artists to varied artistic aesthetics and provided ground for new collaborations to occur.

Hart’s teaching credits include The International Theatre Academy Norway, Yale School of Drama (Graduate school), New York University, Yale University (undergraduate program), the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Tufts University, Univ. of Alaska at Anchorage, Fu Ren Univ. in Taipei, Taiwan, Harlem School of the Arts, Capital Hill Arts Workshop in D.C, Classical Theatre of Harlem, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Utah State University, Rowan University, Peridance in NYC, Kirkenaer Ballettskole (Oslo), and others.

Show Me The Money

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Legal, Money on July 14, 2009 at 12:06 am

In the last couple of weeks I have been trying to help a couple of small businesses establish their legal identity, understand why they need to, as well as find financing. Below are some great articles and resources for a variety of issues related to these topics. As for financing, while there is no questions it is really a TOUGH TIME to find money, it is still possible. While traditional lines of credit from name brand banks seem virtually guaranteed to be declined in this economic climate of bank failures, if you are creative, there are still ways to find the money you need to build your business.

Here is a list of terrific resources I thought you would like to know about:

BUSINESS FINANCING

SBA – Financing a Startup
http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/start/financestartup/SERV_BANKERFRIEND.html
SBA article on financing your startup

StartUpNation.com – Dispelling the Myths about Factoring
http://www.startupnation.com/articles/1213/1/AT_Alternative_Business_Financing_Solutions.asp
Alternative Business Financing Solutions: Dispelling the Myths about Factoring

Alternative Federal Credit Union
http://www.alternatives.org/businessloans.html
Sample of alternative credit options

Prosper.com
http://www.prosper.com
Prosper is an online community for person to person lending. Individuals borrow money from other individuals on a secure P2P loan marketplace.

Checklists for Commercial Loans & Lines of Credit
http://www.vcb-ca.com/businessloans.html
Typical checklist of items required to apply for commercial loans & lines of credit.

BizBuySell.com
www.bizbuysell.com/guide/b_finance_1.htm
Article on sources of financing, and where to go to look for money.

BUSINESS STRUCTURE AND RECORD KEEPING

IRS – Frequently Asked Tax Questions and Answers
www.irs.gov/faqs/faq-kw146.html
IRS article of frequently asked tax questions.

IRS – Business Tax Information
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html

IRS – Keeping Records
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p583/ar02.html#d0e1782
Article from IRS regarding keeping accurate records.

Cash Accounting vs. Accrual Accounting
http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/ObjectID/08E205EE-E8B6-4D25-A2B01C3AC318E291/catID/1745D9A3-D50D-4AAD-BFB3ED609A4EE3F5/111/ART/
All businesses need to choose one of accounting methods. This article reviews two methods of accounting; Cash Accounting

HCMPublishing – Choosing A Business Structure
http://www.hcmpublishing.com/Small-Business-Book/Business-Structure.html
Small Business Structure. Comparision and discussion of LLC, S-corporations and c-corporations.

TaxGuru.com – S-Corp vs C-Corp
/www.taxguru.org/corps/scorp.htm
Comparing corporate structures of S Corporations vs. C Corporations.

Scoreknox.org – For Profit versus Non-Profit
/www.scoreknox.org/library/versus.htm
For Profit versus Non-Profit

Non For Profit Corporation Information
www.form-a-corp.com/non-profits_QA.php
Advantages and disadvantages of nonprofit corporation; starting a nonprofit corporation by incorporating your business today.

PowerHomeBiz.com – Why Incorporate?
http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol128/incorporate.htm
Article on the true value of Incorporation

Benefits of Incorporation
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/incd-dgc.nsf/en/cs01357e.html
Why Should I Incorporate?

BizFilings.com
http://www.bizfilings.com
Incorporate Business – BizFilings helps you incorporate your business, form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT

The Small Business Start-Up Guide
http://www.isquare.com/chapter3.cfm
Advice and assistance for the entrepreneur, home and new business owner.

AllBusiness.com
http://www.allbusiness.com
AllBusiness.com provides information, products, and services for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and professionals to start, manage, finance and build a business.

Startup Nation
http://www.startupnation.com
StartupNation is your source for small business advice – participate in our entrepreneur forum, get help starting a business, and find resources to work from.

Entrepreneur.com
http://www.entrepreneur.com
Caters to international business people who are actively seeking opportunities abroad. Includes searchable issue archive, also browsable by date.

Score
http://www.score.org
Free online and face-to-face business counseling, mentoring, and training. Business help and advice for small businesses just starting or for existing businesses

SBA – Small Business Administration
http://www.sba.gov
An electronic gateway of procurement information for and about small businesses. Search engine for contracting officers, marketing tool for small firms.