Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Creativity and Innovation’ Category

New Season for No-Mind

In Author: Adam Shames, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Health & Wellness on September 29, 2010 at 12:10 am

Fall is indeed here, and I am returning from my blog-break to once again rabble-rouse for innovation to reign and your creativity to blossom throughout this new season and beyond.

I’ll remember this summer as one where I worked less on business but more on my mind — specifically, on trying to detach from the addictions of mind. Creativity is the nimble dance between mind and heart, but so many of us get caught in a stranglehold of mind so that we are blocked from expressing ourselves, taking risks, seeing differently and feeling free to create (not to mention just feeling good). The mind is a powerful instrument, but, as Eckhart Tolle in his classic The Power of Now explains, “about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is harmful.” Too much of our thinking — especially in this Information Overload-Great Recession-Multi-Tasking world of ours — is spent stuck on shoulds, fears, anxiety about the future and replays of the past.

I know mine was. So I consciously broke from my normal routine, both physically and mentally, and shifted my mindset. I was lucky to spend more time than I ever have on Lake Michigan, thanks to my friend Joe and his sailboat (above). I truly was able to incubate — a key part of the creative process — in water and for more prolonged periods than I have before. I was able to leave my scolding mind with the buildings of the city and embrace the great creative principle of “Not Knowing” — seeing with fresh eyes, giving up being right and smart and an expert. My mind stopped being king, and frankly I feel much better and more ready to imagine and create a future that works for me.

In an enlightened state, according to Tolle, you still use your thinking mind when needed but otherwise there is an inner stillness. To come up with creative solutions, he explains, “you oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind…only in that way is it possible to think creatively.” You need “no-mind” — consciousness without thought — to tap into your real power. Here’s more:

The mind is essentially a survival machine. Attack and defense against other minds, gathering, storing, and analyzing information–that is what it is good at, but it is not at all creative. All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative impulse or insight. Even the great scientists have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude.

~from The Power of Now, p. 19-20

I know I was extremely lucky to be able to take a partial break this summer, and that it’s hard to find the time for “mental quietude.” But you can find a way to reduce your “predominance of mind,” as Tolle would call it, both for your own sanity and to be more creative. Read The Power of Now. Learn to Meditate. Swim, run, practice Tai Chi, paint or lose yourself in a creative pursuit that gets you out of your thoughts. The key is to be aware of — and to be less enslaved by — your involuntary internal dialogue, especially the nasty, needless thoughts that create stress but little else of value.

Want more from Adam? Check out his Innovation on my Mind blog.

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Seed Grants to Student Arts Entrepreneurs

In Art, Author: Linda Essig, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Music, Networking, The Idea, Theater/Film on November 13, 2009 at 1:40 am

Last week, I got to do the thing that I enjoy most in my job (I also got to do some things I enjoy least, but discussing those would be digressive). My colleagues and I made six seed grants to student arts entrepreneurs. If I ever feel down and out about the future, I can go back and read the 24 letters of intent and 8 full submissions to our p.a.v.e. program in arts entrepreneurship we received this October. Reading through these proposals makes me feel that the arts are relevant, vibrant, vital, and sustainable.

Students have some of the coolest ideas. With their permission, I’m sharing some information about the six awardees with you all. Yes, it’s a little bit of bragging, but it’s also sharing some of the interesting ideas that we’ll be mentoring and supporting in the months to come. (And, yes, there were a few proposals that just made you roll your eyes, but those were very few.) A lot of proposals were for projects that could be termed “social entrepreneurship” as much as “arts entrepreneurship,” a combination I find both interesting and hopeful.
With that, I bring you the Fall 2009 p.a.v.e. awardees:
join cast clipartJoin and Cast Ventures: Two Art (Intermedia) students, Jennifer C. and Catherine A., are producing a field guide to the downtown Phoenix arts scene that is itself a work of art.
radio healer clipart copyRadio Healer: Led by Arts, Media Engineering (AME) graduate student Christopher M., Radio Healer presents mediated performances that foster intercultural dialogue in Native communities.
daht clipartDance and Health Together Awards: Led by undergraduate Dance major Mary P., the DaHT Awards is a combination of dance recognition award and fundraising enterprise benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

coop films clipartCo-op Film Productions – Film and Media Production/Marketing student Chelsea R. and her team are creating a support infrastructure for student collaboration across arts and design disciplines.
different from what clip artDifferent from What? Film Festival – AME graduate student Lisa T. in collaboration with Education student Federico W. is producing a film festival focused on films by, for, and about adults with disabilities.

scrath theory clipartScratch Theory – Filmmaking Practices major Chris G. and his collaborators are developing a software/hardware interface that will first notate and then play back via synthesizer DJ scratching.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov 16-22, 2009

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Current Events, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Global Entrepreneurship, sponsored byThe Kauffman Foundation— the world’s largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship– is happening Nov 16-22 this year.

For one week, millions from around the world will join a growing movement of entrepreneurial individuals, to generate new ideas and to seek better ways of doing things. Countries across six continents are coming together to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity. To think big. To turn their ideas into reality. To make their mark.

Are You Ready to Make YOUR Mark?????

There are no geographic or socioeconomic boundaries to Global Entrepreneurship Week. Anyone can participate:

How Can You Get Involved?

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Get involved today at the Global Entrepreneurship Week web site, www.unleashingideas.org.

The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ is Alive!

In Author: Jim Hart, Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Health & Wellness, WEBSITES & BLOGS on November 5, 2009 at 7:03 am

IAE logoIn September of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ will open its doors at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. Our two year finishing program, will teach artists how to make a living from their artistry.

To learn more about IAE check out our website. Applications for early enrollment are now being accepted.

The Let it “B” Girl Clarinetist

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Music, The Idea on October 29, 2009 at 6:53 am

I just LOVE this You tube video featuring one of my clarinet customers, Christy Banks. I just LOVE her informal commentary– it makes the video– and makes me not only want to listen to HER but learn MORE about classical music because of her delivery.

Who Gets to be an Artist or A Designer?

In Author: Tommy Dawin, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on October 28, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Recently re-reading Lisa Canning’s wonderful piece “Innovating through Artistry” I am reminded of a surprising challenge we face in promoting the value of art and artists. We work hard to demonstrate our value in a world that is hard skilled, bottom line, and ROI driven. We take the challenge to cross the border into the land of business, policy, and technology. And, yet, I wonder how hard we make it for ourselves in the ways we patrol our own borders and how easily we welcome others into our midst as fellow artists and designers.
One of the possibilities that inspires me most is teaching as many people as possible (and especially our kids) to be artistically and creatively adept, able to learn the skills and mindsets that characterize the “creative class.” Following the inspiration of local artists to democratize the arts and designers who promote the spread of “design thinking,” I have created curriculum and programs that teach the processes of art and design to “non” artists and designers, to give them a very powerful platform from which to change the world.
In the process I almost inevitably come against the question of who gets to be an artist or a designer. When I first started talking about teaching design to community members as a way to engage community challenges, some of the biggest resistance came not from business or community leaders but from some professional and academic artists and designers who I approached as potential partners. They expressed concern that I was trivializing or dumbing down their art and discipline by implying that anyone can be an artist or designer. Or, that if we share the knowledge too easily, it will be taken from us and that we will no longer be needed. Or, that one only becomes a “real” artist or designer after years of training and practice.
I struggle with this question, because there is an important distinction between someone with years of formal training and professional experience and someone who is an amateur. And, yet, we are all artists and designers by virtue of being human, and the more we cultivate and spread that capability and sense for the world, the better off we are.
So, who gets to be an artist or a designer?

CAEF: A**ess This!

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Authors, Creativity and Innovation, Current Events, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on October 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm


Yesterday, I attended the second in a series of events presented by the Chicago Arts Educators Forum, an initiative started by Merissa Shunk and Nicole Losurdo and sponsored by CAPE. This community of teachers, teaching artists, and organizations explores common challenges and opportunities in arts education in the Chicago area.

This day of discussions and workshops centered around assessment, everyone’s favorite part of the process when designing an educational program or residency. Confronting the negativity that surrounds this process head-on, the organizers created a parking garage for frustrations (participants wrote their biggest challenges on sheets of paper taped to toy cars and “parked” them for the day) and an anonymous confessional that also served as the event’s video documentation.

Why so negative? Many artists and organizations view assessment as something they must do for their funders and for the public. So many of us have found ourselves daunted by the task of evaluating the same programs several different ways using the specific criteria presented by those who have provided support. It begins to feel like the process of assessment is about teaching to the test – making sure that the outcome fit the objectives set forth by the organization and its funders.

But what other purposes can this process serve? A question that became a lightbulb moment for many participants was: “Who is this assessment for?” Of course, we’re responsible to those who provide support, but the assessment and evaluation process is also meaningful tools for students, teachers, teaching artists, and organizations if done in a way that captures the depth of the work. In this way, we begin to connect our larger objectives and the activities that accomplish them to our assessment tools, rather than putting the cart before the horse by using a standardized method.

Another theme that resurfaced multiple times was the question of how to quantify social and emotional progress, or literacy and cognitive skills that become evident in work samples more clearly than in a multiple-choice test. In the case studies we examined, many organizations found themselves asking students to take pre- and post-residency surveys, asking questions like “Do you feel a personal connection to these characters” on a scale from 1-5. Often, the difference in responses wasn’t meaningful.

A great start to the answer of this question was presented in Dennie Palmer Wolf’s keynote presentation. She displayed pre- and post-residency work samples from the same student, showing the difference in the vocabulary and depth after working with the teaching artist. One could feasibly assign a number scale to these factors to chart progress, in addition to having the samples available for review. Or, she showed diaries of a day in the life of two students, one of which was participating in an arts program, with yellow highlights on the parts of the day where the student felt personally and deeply engaged. Having five of those moments instead of one is a measurable and meaningful effect of the influence this program has.

The day really helped me and the rest of our staff think much differently about how we assess, evaluate, measure, and document our work, and how connected those tools must be to our own objectives rather than a pre-designed template. The funny part is, making these tools authentic in this way will result in data that can then be pulled to highlight the factors a funder will want to see, while telling a richer story that will be meaningful to our organization, the students, teachers, parents, and schools we serve.

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 www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

Entrepreneurship and Collaboration

In Author: Linda Essig, Creativity and Innovation on October 23, 2009 at 3:06 am

teamworkThe literature on entrepreneurship often references the one “big idea;” the singular innovative vision for something new, often the invention of one singular talent.  But, as we know, it takes a team of many to actualize that one big idea.  I’ve been preparing to teach a unit next week on collaboration and the ways in which group work supports the process of entrepreneurship, especially the kind of creative thinking that often underlies arts entrepreneurship.  In my posting a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Warren Bennis and  Patricia Ward Biederman’s book ORGANIZING GENIUS: THE SECRETS OF CREATIVE COLLABORATION (Basic Books, 1998).  To prepare for my class next week, I’m using a selection from that text, as well as disciplinarily specific one, COLLABORATION IN THEATRE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR DEISGNERS AND DIRECTORS by Rob Roznowski and Kirk Domer (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). [In the interest of full disclosure, I note that Domer worked with me when he was a grad student at UW-Madison and I was on the faculty there.]  In reading and synthesizing these, I developed a list of actions we all can undertake to be more effective collaborators and entrepreneurial team members:

  1. Communicate
  2. Know your team members
  3. Ask questions
  4. Do your research
  5. Look for the “next thing,” not the last thing
  6. Look for relationships
  7. Be “deep generalists” rather than “narrow specialists” (Bennis)
  8. Work together toward a collective purpose
  9. Articulate the group’s mission
  10. Be optimistic
  11. Embrace the idea that groups are temporary and project-focused
  12. Find commonalities
  13. Listen, then adapt
  14. Listen, then participate
  15. Reach consensus
  16. Respect your team members

Cultural Capital

In Author: Linda Essig, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on October 13, 2009 at 1:42 am

I’m participating in a symposium this week entitled PARTNERSHIPS FOR PURPOSE: INNOVATION, CULTURAL CAPITAL, AND RESILIENCE. The panel I’ve been asked to facilitate is organized around the question “How should the university contribute to the development of cultural capital/talent in the region?” “Cultural Captial” isn’t a phrase that I use very often, so of course I looked it up. I was surprised to find that it’s a common sociological term, taken to mean (and I’m broadly paraphrasing from multiple sources), the non-economic “worth” of a family, an institution, or a society, often associated with educational attainment and socialization. This, of course, is not how the conference organizers are using the term or they wouldn’t have invited a museum director, a public art director, me, and others to be on this panel.
Cultural capital as I envision it for the purposes of my panel is a two part infrastructure made up of people and institutions. And, these people and institutions have BOTH economic and intrinsic non-economic worth. In a city such as Phoenix with only one large (public) university and several community colleges, the cultural capital of the city is inexorably intertwined with the university.
It is a fact not widely recognized that universities, especially public research universities, indirectly support arts and culture nationally by providing institutional homes — and the salaries and benefits attendant to them — for creative artists. Cultural institutions such as Actors Theatre of Phoenix, for example, draw regularly from the “human” capital of my school. Because the faculty ranks at universities include the artists, designers, directors, etc who create the work we see at the museums and performing arts venues throughout a region, the region is richer for the presence of the university (and, I would add, the faculty have an outlet for their creative work).
To build cultural capital, existing institutions need to be supported and new ones created. That’s why I’m so proud of our p.a.v.e. program in arts entrepreneurship. Through that program we’ve seed funding and mentorship to students with great ideas for arts-based ventures. Some of these, like the Phoenix Fringe Festival and the Sustainable Symphony are already making their marks on the regional cultural landscape in Phoenix.

What Does Your Blue Bike Look Like?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble, The Idea on October 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

balloon_bike_transpBG_50%Bite-Size Arts Ensemble Member, Dharmesh Bhagat, built this blue bike out of balloons for me. Isn’t it cute? What does your blue bike look like? Do you know? And what does it mean to build a blue bike anyway?

To me, the journey of learning how to take the pain in your heart and transform it into an entrepreneurial vision that is so strong and robust it produces an economic engine in your life- financial transportation- is what I call building a blue bike. It is impossibly difficult to do alone and requires an undying amount of support from others to accomplish. And I want you each to know how grateful I am, that you have been here for me on my own blue bike building journey.

Ever since I wrote my book, Build a Blue Bike, the pain in my heart has only grown. While I was very lucky to land a big agent, Susan Schulman, who represented Economist, Richard Florida’s Rise of The Creative Class, my timing could not have been worse. As we entered into a Big Big Recession I was trying to sell this book…..

I still hold out hope that someday I will hear back from Tarcher- my dream publisher. Julia Cameron: Artist Way- continues to be a big hit for The Tarcher Publishing company. So currently my manuscript resides in the back of my sock drawer, while my deep desire to help artists transform from the inside-out continues to grow.

My pain comes from a lifetime of artistic experiences that one-by-one drove me to become incredibly cautious and careful around artists because of the dysfunction I experienced trying to share the music in my heart with them. It was the drama, self-destruction, withdrawal, denial, arrogance, insecurity, back stabbing and anger I saw in others that made me take the joyful music inside my heart and lock it away. This was not what tickled my funny bone and called my artistic name to the clarinet and it is not where artistic entrepreneurial vision comes from. As a child, it was a love for exploring my own artistry and sharing my creativity with others that seeded my entrepreneurial abilities.

And it broke my heart to pull away from my deepest desires to play the clarinet for my life’s work when I was at the top of my musical game, at the end of my days as a college student at Northwestern. I truly wanted then and still want to share my creativity intimately with others. And while I went on to build creative ventures over the past twenty- years, creatively finding a way to put my need to play my clarinet each time at the center of my ventures, my heart continued to feel pain.

So after twenty years of living with my pain it grew so strong and loud, I wrote Build A Blue Bike hoping if I did something positive about it- by writing a book to share with others what only my artistry and unique vision blended together can see- it would help others heal and the pain I felt would finally subside. But the pain did not stop. So when Build A Blue Bike did not sell to a major publisher, my dream and hope for it still, I created Entrepreneur The Arts®. But it was still not enough.

From there came The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™ and somehow, as this ensemble has struggled to take flight, I realized that while the pain inside of me was duller and throbbed less, as my vision for what I could do with it was growing stronger and clearer, it was still inside of me. I know that our show What is Your Imagination Worth? A New Kind of ROI is going to really help those who experience it learn about how they can change, evolve and grow. But I need what my audiences learn about developing their imaginations, to become something real: something that nourish their hearts and others souls. Something made to last. Maybe even forever- or for at least a lifetime on this earth.

And now, finally, last night, at Flourish Studios, with Stanley Drucker in the house, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ has been born. Finally, after three and a half years of struggling, I feel like I have found the ignition key for my vision and a turning point for my heart to begin its work of healing.

You see, I want so badly to help you to discover your own vision, like I have. I want your deepest pain in life to become a vision of what you can positively change in the world that will help you create an artistic life filled with meaningful opportunities for you, and others, to learn from and endlessly grow. I know you will be happier and emotionally healthier the moment you decide to. I know when more of you are living a LIFE YOU DREAM that the dysfunction I see in the arts will slowly, but surely, change. I still so want to experience what our shared positive creativity and artistry can do for this world. Don’t you?

So what does it take to build your very own blue bike? One that will last forever, and ever, or as long as your vision can see, and until the pain in your heart has been nourished into health?

OK. If you are brave enough to consider trying to, here are a few things you have got to know:

#1 However long you think it is going to take to transform the pain in your heart into entrepreneurial vision– know that building a meaningful creative venture- one that is built to last- requires a large investment of time– at least a couple of years if not more.

#2 You need to be willing to set aside your need for clarity and perfection and be able to live with a tangled web of ideas at first- a mess- in the development stage of your personal transformation. Turning pain into vision is a process that is not neat and tidy. And you need excellent role models to help you navigate through so you find the most expeditious way. Nothing short will do. The bigger the pain the greater the vision can be and the longer it can take for your artistic vision to become clear and focused and financially able to take flight.

#3 You must be willing to continuously attempt to launch your ideas into the world knowing that you will need repeatedly to rebound from many failed attempts until you finally find some traction for them. You will be laughed at, ignored, disrespected, ridiculed, slighted and humbled by this process every single time it happens– until your vision is perfectly aligned with the pain in your heart and it ignites the transmission of your creative venture. And then… you will be celebrated like the hero everyone always knew you would become. (It is the hero’s journey we are talking about here. It is what has to happen for your artistry to take economic flight.)

#4 You need tenacity to fuel ideas. Consistent effort that is unwilling to stop–What is it that your heart needs most to not be in pain? Whatever that is, there lies the endless source of your tenacity.

#5 You need to be or become a great collaborative communicator. When we share our vision and receive feedback from others about it, we learn how we are being perceived. When we get it right, our vision will manifest itself into economic opportunities that seemingly will pop right up out of nowhere– and become our transportation into our future.

#6 And lastly, you need to have excellent ethical judgement. What goes around comes around. If you do what’s right every single time, eventually you will be rewarded. And if you do what is right and true for you, eventually your heart will feel whole and your ideas will roll and the money will flow…

#7 Remember–Where there is money, there is energy and where there is energy there is a lifetime of economic opportunity…

And politics aside- Isn’t this really what Obama keeps telling us? This IS our moment. WE are the future of history. OUR time has come. It is Now. Are you Ready?

The Arc of the Story: At the Threshold

In Author: Amy Frazier, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Theater/Film, Writing on October 6, 2009 at 9:55 am

What’s up with the resistance?

You know the one. The resistance that comes shortly after you decide to launch a new creative endeavor. The resistance that whispers in your ear that maybe the idea isn’t that great, or you really don’t have the time, or you’re really not so good after all.

Maybe it doesn’t affect you. If not, I’m willing to bet you’re in the minority. For a lot of artists, the initiatory phase of a project can be a very painful back-and-forth play of initiative and doubt.

When I’m acting, for example, it usually shows up at the first blocking rehearsal. When asked to actually get the character “up on its feet,” I often balk. In the course of the entire rehearsal period and even through opening night, I will never feel as awkward and disembodied as I will on the first blocking rehearsal. I’d rather be anywhere else then right there.

Then there’s writing. Every writer knows that big blank page. Now, a computer screen. I wonder if the relative effortlessness of tapping and deleting with no crumpled paper overflowing the wastebasket as evidence doesn’t somehow cover for the fact that we’re stuck. No. We still know. We might not have the physical evidence of every crappy opening line–it may have vanished into electronic ether–but we get it: our writing sucks.

I suspect painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians have their own issues.

Right now, I’m working on a program I’ll be delivering at the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation in Brussels at the end of the month, called “Riding the Arc of the Story.” I’ve had my own deal getting it pulled together, but what I wanted to share in this post was something I’ve learned while working on the program, about narrative structure and the Hero’s Journey.

Evidently, as soon as the hero begins her journey, she is met at the threshold by beings whose purpose it is to provide initial resistance in the form of a test: is the hero up for the challenge? They’re called “threshold guardians,” and they can show up as friends, family, foes…or even part of our own psyche, our shadow. (I know this one!)

The concept of the Threshold Guardian has given me a new way of looking at my internal resistance to the early phases of a project. Now, instead of either giving in to the temptation to pull away, or feeling like I have to muscle through and pretend the resistance isn’t there, I remind myself that I might be on the threshold, and this might be only a test. Of the emergency threshold guardian system. And it’s ok.

The next time you find yourself hitting that resistance wall, ask yourself: is this a wall? or might it actually be an opening. Might you actually be on the threshold of something entirely new?

The Future of Leadership in America

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Intellectual Entrepreneurship, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on October 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I received this email from Rick Cherwitz this morning and it stopped and made me think– What can all of us trained artists do about changing these statistics? Would love your suggestions and I bet Rick would too..
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Folks,

In the process of working on an article, as well as preparing for my interview for the national audio forum on diversity later this month (via Inside Higher Ed), I have pulled together some data with which you may be familiar.

These statistics should give us pause: (1) African Americans and Latinos comprise nearly 35% of all U.S. citizens in the age range of Ph.D. candidates. (2) 44% of the nation’s children come from underrepresented groups and this will grow to over 50% by 2023 and above 60% in 2050. (3) Yet these same groups constitute only 18% percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred, 12% of the total research doctorates awarded, and only about 21% of all graduate degrees. (4) While national data about first generation students is not available (or at least I have been unable to discover it), it is clear from my work locally with IE that the same issues/problems are faced by this population.

Unless substantial increases in each of these categories are made, our nation’s capacity to discover and disseminate knowledge–to be a world leader–will be seriously threatened, as will our ability to produce a well-trained workforce capable of keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

Rick

________________________________________________________________
Richard A. Cherwitz, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE)
A Cross-Disciplinary Consortium: “Educating Citizen-Scholars”
Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/
Department of Communication Studies
The University of Texas 1 University Station A1105
Austin, Texas 78712
VOICE: (512) 471-1939 FAX: (512) 471-3504
https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/
spaj737@uts.cc.utexas.edu
________________________

Culture, Crisis and Recovery

In Author: John Cimino, Creativity and Innovation, Current Events, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Health & Wellness on October 1, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Anyone who has worked with the arts in non-traditional settings, that is, outside the more familiar spaces of our studios, galleries, theaters and concert halls, knows that there is a bit of healing magic tucked into the essence of our art forms that routinely takes people by surprise.  What’s more, no matter how many times we witness it or enter into the experience ourselves, that moment of newness, refreshment, transformation — call it what you like — is there to surprise us.   It takes many forms, to be sure.  But everyone one of them gives us a kind of lift, a deepening, an opening, a sense of something more that feels good, pretty remarkable, in fact. 

I’m heading to a conference this afternoon in New Orleans, the 10th Annual Conference of Imagining America (Artists and Scholars in Public Life) and this year it’s entitled “Culture, Crisis and Recovery”.  Representatives of a hundred universities will be on hand to join in a conversation about the sort of partnerships between unversities and organizations in their surrounding communities that can uplift both parties, even in a climate of crisis.  My own presentation will be reporting on a project we undertook in partnership with George Washington University’s Center for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management on behalf of the American Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  What do you do for the heroes and caregivers — the first responders, as they are called — when they themselves have become the victims of overwhelming disaster?  Our team from Creative Leaps International was able to provide an experience (a resilience retreat) steeped in the healing powers of the arts that made a remarkable difference for them.  From the depths of dispair and dysfunction, they emerged triumphant and renewed.  If you’d like to read about it, check out this link: http://www.creativeleaps.org/news/200804/NewOrleans.htm

But here’s my question for you, my colleagues in the arts, “How tuned in are you to the transformative powers of your art?   Have you explored the deeper potencies of your art form, its powers to catalyze new thinking, learning, healing and personal growth in others?   Are you actively engaged in putting that power to work in hospitals, schools, community centers, rehab centers, senior centers, centers for wellness, resilience and leadership?”  To learn more about how this is done, visit the ETA web site   (http://www.entrepreneurthearts.com/   or that of Creative Leaps International (www.creativeleaps.org) or The Learning Arts (www.learningarts.org) .   It’s time to bring your gifts more fully into the world.

I’d love to hear your stories, how you do it, what you do and what you aspire to do.  Together, we can empower one another in this important work.    The world really does need your gifts.  I cheer you in your every enedavor!

John

John Cimino, Creative Leaps International

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 www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

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.

John

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?

Riding the Arc of the Story: Inciting Obstacles

In Author: Amy Frazier, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Writing on September 1, 2009 at 6:54 am

All of a sudden, you have it: a beautiful idea! It comes to you full blown and shimmery. Perhaps something brand new you’ve never before conceived, or perhaps the result of pondering long and hard. Regardless, there it is: exciting, and full of energy. Your idea can do no wrong. The world is its oyster. It is your helium balloon.

Ideation. What a great place to be.

You, and perhaps a happy gang of fellow-ideators, begin to bring this effervescent, brilliant idea into being. Plans are drawn, schemes concocted, url’s purchased and celebrations forseen. It’s all a giddy whirl.

Until the obstacles start to arrive. Perhaps not with the first obstacle, or the second, or the third. But eventually it happens: something comes up and you don’t know if you can get around it. As sure as ideas are born, obstacles come in their wake. It is like a natural law.

In the move from ideation to implementation or execution, the emergence of obstacles can tell us many things. It can be a reality check, or a good moment for redirection. A serious obstacle has the power to derail the entire scheme.  Most people, I think, realize that when ideas hit the real world, they are reshaped, and sometimes with difficulty.

But how do we respond when it happens? Think especially of group endeavors. How do different personalities react to the emergence of a serious obstacle to implementation? Can you think of a time when someone has thrown up their hands and said: “At last! Now the real story has begun!”

That’s what the narrative arts have to show us. If we look at the implementation phase through the lens of narrative structure, we can see how stories don’t really get started until the first big whammy. There’s even a term for it: the inciting event. Anything before the inciting event (also sometimes known as the first plot point), is merely background, setting the stage. The action does not really begin to elucidate meaning within the framework of the story, until something unexpected shows up.

The arrival of obstacles which appear to thwart our plans does not necessarily mean that the idea wasn’t solid or real enough for the real world. In fact, it might be just the opposite. The natural pairing of idea and obstacle, story and inciting event, can give us energy for the next phase: the rising action.

I’ll be exploring other narrative structural elements in later posts. I’ll also be giving a workshop on the use of the narrative arts in effective implementation for the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation, in Brussels in late October. And, as befits the theme, I’ve been noticing that since I had the idea for the workshop…well, let’s just say that I’ve been keeping good company with some of my favorite obstacles. But more on that to come…

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

Fear of the Pink Tutu

In Author: Amy Frazier, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on August 17, 2009 at 10:50 am

Over the past several months, I’ve been part of a team developing an experiential program on creativity and innovation for business audiences.

We are now stepping up our marketing efforts for the program, and in the course of this I contacted my network, asking permission to send info on “a creativity and innovation program.” One person replied with the question:

Are we talking about professional creativity, or artistic creativity?

I understood the question, and the concern which I think it implied: does this program impart business value?

But I was also struck by the terms which he used to frame the question: “professional” or “artistic.”

I trust that he is savvy enough to understand that many, many artists produce their work at a professional level; and I also know him to be a person enough in tune to the human dynamic in business settings to appreciate the artistry often evident in management and leadership. So I don’t think he really intended to imply that the two values are in opposition.

But I do think his language points to something important, something deeper—an unease with the particular type of human expression (for this discussion, we’ll label it “artistic”) which often seems, from the outside, to operate on a wierd, irrational level.

A friend and I (she is a businesswoman and artist like myself) have coined a phrase for this: Fear of the Pink Tutu.

This is the fear that: (a) if a particular type of artsy-creativity is allowed to infiltrate the corridors of industry, any number of serious-minded professionals will be seduced into abandoning their business objectives and throwing themselves into pantomimes of Swan Lake; or (b) that—in a somewhat less threatening but nonetheless similarly uncomfortable display—said serious-minded professionals will be forced to endure a demonstration of the same by an erstwhile team of artsy “consultants.”

I wonder about the Pink Tutu phenomenon. To be quite frank, I do believe, from years of experience, that there often is something mysterious about the “artistic/creative” process. And yes, that this is part of its power—for both the artist and the audience.

And, I’m also learning that there is enough stuff and nonsense out there about “creativity” in the business world, that the serious-minded professional is wise to be selective.

Still, the the idea that the sometimes mysterious, irrational process of “artistic creativity” might actually have business value needn’t be a risky proposition. Studies show that students who engage in music and drama classes score higher than their peers, not only in language arts, which we might expect, but also in math and science. Expressive arts enhance emotional literacy, compassion, and self-knowledge, at all ages.

It is, ultimately, that which is within us that drives us. But can we always name it? Or is it, too, something of a mystery? The degree to which we can experience the mysterious and seemingly irrational (or non-rational) components in ourselves is the degree to which we can fully inhabit our lives, professional and otherwise. It brings wholeness, which brings wisdom—which is a very friendly condition for professional success.

So, what color is your tutu?