This is a well written article and I suggest you follow the link to read the whole thing.  Our arts education is failing us, not because it doesn’t have the best of intentions and isn’t giving us good training, but because it hasn’t adapted to what’s going on in the world today.  I know that’s a bit of an over-simplification as the reason we’re artists in the first place is that our brains work in a different way and not all artists can encompass the business world, but I firmly believe that artists need to be better prepared for what they will face outside of academia.


What If…Artists Were Trained As Entrepreneurs?

by Jim Hart

in What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project

What if entrepreneurial training was a central part of an artist’s education?

Our current standard of American arts education is one of “all arts technique and no real business skills”. Graduates often know how to create works of art, but not necessarily how to make a living from their art. This standard causes widespread unemployment for an extreme majority, leading to the starving artist stereotype and “actors really being waiters”. Our standard approach is an antiquated system. We need a new standard. Entrepreneurial training needs to become a central part of arts education, as it can help create jobs, with artists creating opportunities for themselves.

Our arts programs need to throw the cookie cutters away and inspire students to explore and find their individual voice, to discover their potential to be independent, while simultaneously teaching how to compete for commercial opportunities.

Well-meaning teachers often tell students ”Do these things after graduation to find work”. This same advice is communicated in schools across the country. The typical path in theatre training includes mailings to casting directors, lining up for open calls, knocking on doors for representation, creating showcase oriented work, etc. The problem with this path is that the majority of the competition is following the same advice. How does one compete when countless others are on the same path? The market is over-saturated. There are too many players and not enough commercial opportunities. We educators need to inspire artists to get off of the over-crowded path and to instead, create their own. Quoting mythologist Joseph Campbell, “The secure way is really the insecure way…”