Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Makes A Cultural Entrepreneur?

After blogging about cultural entrepreneurship last November 13, many fellow-advocates and multiply-ers inquired who we perceived qualified as 'cultural entrepreneurs'. We said... "Actually there are many...". Our country has a lot of potential cultural entrepreneurs. They just have to embrace a broader outlook for for the arts industry and what it can do to society. It's not really just selling the artist's product, it's also awakening a wider market for arts with impact that equally wakes up society with a new passion. Because more than arts, it's about culture.

Culture is very important and is seen to provide social cohesion. It is not just a source of jobs and income but also a sense of confidence and belonging. Taking this into account cultural entrepreneurs are said to revive and bring life back into cities, working within networks and creative clusters to maximise output. Cultural entrepreneurs ‘have a passion for the culture, traditions, talent and creators…[and think of innovative] out of ordinary ways to achieve solutions.

Does this set them apart from all other entrepreneurs? Is it the passion they hold for the arts and circuits in which they work? I believe that all art promoters, gallery owners, cultural event organizers, et. al. holds passion for the action and output they are producing whether it is for an artistic work of art or even just management based. Nonetheless business and creativity are often considered to require different skills and mind sets to succeed however entrepreneurs require an amalgamation of the two, encompassing all aspects of a business.

Cultural entrepreneurs are learners, doers and visionaries. Due to less bureaucratic restraints and levels in management ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ are able to recognize the need not only to innovate but to deliver and disseminate new ideas to art customers and enthusiasts.

As mentioned in a previous blog article here in this homepage, a good cultural entrepreneur may have the basic traits of a corporate entrepreneur --- like having a vision for exploring out-of-the-box opportunities for arts and cultural products. Regular characteristics of this type of person includes:

* The tenacity and drive
* A strong Passion
* Good organizing skills Skill at organizing
* A Future orientation – the ability to visualize opportunities in the future
* Placing value of achievement over money
* And having a strong confidence in their ability to succeed

Moreso, a cultural entrepreneur's characteristics not only include the traits mentioned above, they also encompass the following:

* They are independent!
* Their work and non-work issues are packaged together.
* They are collaborative and work together as independents and as clusters.
* They are mostly socially engage with outside issues.
* They use idea exchange as a cultural currency.
* They build networks, share information and resources.
* They are also interested in business' effects on society.

What mainly differentiates them from the classic corporate entrepreneur is the fact that their motivations are less profit driven and more cultural driven providing a more meaningful approach to business. An entrepreneurial approach helps to generate possibilities and plan accordingly. Some commentators argue that cultural entrepreneurs usually take a project-based outlook, rather than managing a single business.

Above the promotion of arts, arriving at creative solutions is what cultural entrepreneurship is all about. Cultural entrepreneurs should have a flair for creative thinking which can be instrumental in solving problems --- of individual artists and organizations --- with models that could possibly work for the sector. problems They may experience difficulties in the promotion and distribution of art products, so oftentimes they do this themselves. Sometimes it may even be necessary for cultural entrepreneurs to diversify into other aspects of their industry, in order to remove obstacles and help the art business succeed.

All entrepreneurs take risks... but the planning, implementation and creative process appears to be more fluid and active in the cultural entrepreneurial approach. The focus on value and converging that with technology and the economy seems to be the secret behind the success of a cultural entrepreneur. The need to understand that it is not just about attracting new business, increasing profits or sales or that the process of running a business excludes relationships with others outside the managerial sector is extremely significant in today’s business world. The process of being a cultural entrepreneur and being cultural entrepreneurial is very much “a state of mind” and it is that drive and focus that keeps the cultural entrepreneur going regardless of what adversities come their way.

In summary, the cultural entrepreneur has all the traits of an entrepreneur with the addition of social responsibility and an altruistic attitude to business.

Go and disciples of arts. Promote artists. Capture new markets. and above all, let arts stir the passion of our countrymen.

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. If we could only promote their art with impact, maybe we could even transform society.

Let us take Arts into the Heart of Communities.

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