Friday, April 30, 2010

arts and $

I have been thinking a lot about what Tim Troy and Jackie Battenfield talked about. Both mentioned the need to follow your passion and do whatever it takes to make it your primary source of income, if desired. Although Tim and Jackie spoke of similar things, I noticed that they contradicted each other as well. Jackie mentioned that although it is key to try to make a living off of your art, it is also important and practical to have a side interest that you are also passionate about and can make as much money as possible while spending as little time on it as allow for more art time. An example she gave was her artist friend who also does people taxes 4 months out of the year, banking away money for art supplies and travel. Tim made it seem as though dabbling in other interests was discouraged, because it distracted you from your main passion. I'd like some in put on this if at all possible. Thanks!

Wildwood 2010

This may be a little last minute, but I encourage anyone who can to check out the Wildwood Film Festival. It's hosted by the University of Fox Valley. It's an annual film festival that showcases film makers who are from or living in Wisconsin. I feel that this is entrepreneurial since there is obviously a number of talented film makers in Wisconsin, but few venues for which to showcase their talents. I say this is last minute since it's currently going on right now and starting at 8pm tomorrow in Menasha. More information can be found at

My Summer Job

We talked in class Thursday about the importance of every member of a business organization knowing the mission statement of that business. This reminded me of my summer job. I teach at First Stage Children's Theatre Academy each summer and at the beginning of every summer when we meet to review the codes of conduct, what to do in emergency situations, and the new goals for the summer, the first thing we do is go over First Stage's mission statement. The following is from First Stage's website:

"About Us

Founded in 1987, First Stage Children's Theater has grown from a small theater for young audiences to a nationally acclaimed company drawing annual audiences of more than 135,000 people. With a season including six mainstage plays, two First Steps shows and one touring production (more than 300 performances annually), First Stage has become one of the largest programs in the nation.

Mission Statement:
First Stage Children's Theater touches hearts and transforms lives by creating exceptional theater experiences for young people and families through...

  • Professional theater productions that engage, enlighten and entertain.
  • Theater academy training that fosters life skills through stage skills.
  • Dynamic in-school education programs that promote learning through theater.

    First Stage offers:

    • Performances for family audiences: Each performance concludes with an informative talk-back between the actors and audience.

    • Matinee performances for school groups: Every school group attending a matinee receives a free educator enrichment guide that offers suggestions for activities and discussion questions linking the production with the class curriculum.

    • First Steps series: These shows are an interactive theater experience that introduces children from ages three to six to the theater in a fun and exciting way at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.
    • Multi-Cultural School Assembly Tours: Each season, First Stage tours a production to schools throughout southeastern Wisconsin that highlights one of our community's cultures. Past tours have included African American, Latino, Hmong, German, Irish and Native American themes.

    • Arts-in-education programs for area schools: First Stage spends more than 2,000 hours annually in classrooms throughout southeastern Wisconsin offering pre-performance and post-performance classroom workshops, Teaching Through Theater (T3) programs and after school creative drama programs.

    • First Stage Theater Academy: The Academy is a professional theater training program teaching "life skills through stage skills" to approximately 1,700 young people ages 5 - 18 each year. It is the second largest program of its kind in the nation.

    First Stage Children's Theater is a member of Theater Communications Group (TCG), TYA/USA and Americans for the Arts (AFTA), as well as the Milwaukee Arts Partners and Theatre Wisconsin. First Stage is also a Cornerstone Member of the United Performing Arts Fund. The company is the recipient of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts' 2002 Bravo Award for outstanding achievement in the performing arts."

  • Specifically as an employee of the academy we focus a lot on the "Life skills through stage skills" clause of the mission statement. It is written on our academy T-Shirts, we discuss every morning how we are achieving that mission, and we talk with parents and children frequently about how our goal isn't how to teach kids how to act, but how to live good lives and interact positively with one another. As the website's about me stated, First Stage has gone through a large amount of growth since it was founded and I attribute much of that growth to the amount of focus put on their mission statement and making sure their employees work towards that mission.

    Project Help - A quick Survey

    If anyone reading this blog could helps us out, and take a quick survey at the following link about nightclubbing and Luna, our group would really appreciate it.

    I posted this on our project blog as well, but I figured it might reach more people here.

    example mission statement of a pop-up gallery

    Triple Base is a project space that strives to facilitate new and innovative ways to promote and assist emerging Bay Area artists, to instigate dialogue with artists from various regions and to encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations. Brought together by a shared interest in site-specific and multi-disciplinary contemporary art practice, co-curators Joyce Grimm and Dina Pugh invite artists working in areas of film/video, social practice, music, painting, drawing and sculpture to create new work while considering the parameters of site, scale and location. Triple Base seeks to aid emerging artists in at a crucial point in their careers, and to encourage them to create projects that go beyond the usual scope of their art making practice. Integral to our artist-centered mission is Triple Base’s arts education programming that benefits our diverse audience, artists and interns.

    Pop-up Art in DC

    I came across this blog post about a Pop-up Gala in DC comprised of five pop-up art installations, sponsored by the Cultural Development Corporation. The core of their mission statement is: "We create space and build the capacity of artists to prosper within that space." The budgets and space are a bit different than what might happen in Appleton, but I thought I'd pass it along to provide another perspective on this concept for the Pop-Up Gallery group. Also, the space where the event is being held, Long View Gallery (pictured above), is a bare-bones warehouse transformed into a gallery capable of hosting parties too (more pictures here).

    Learning about Entreprenueurship through TWITTER! Tweet Tweet

    For those of you interested in Twitter, here are a few links to explore! The first link was created by Mashable, a social media guide that specializes in Facebook, Twitter, and everything in between. The 2nd list is from SMM Guru, which is kinda vague about their company but nevertheless, offers a great collection of entrepreneurs. The last list is exactly as it sounds, 100 twitter feeds for young entrepreneurs. Check out Melik Yuksel (gotmelik) from Houston, TX. He is a 15 year old graphic designer, blogger, and entrepreneur who has almost 40,000 followers (wow). I'm pretty impressed. Also check out Ben Lang (entreprenueurpro) to learn more about teen entrepreneurs. He also has a lot of neat videos and links to explore.

    Many of these entreprenueurs tweet about their experiences and offer advice. Together these individuals provide a diverse spectrum of entreprenuership and I hope you find some use out of them. Enjoy!

    1. Top 10 (according to Mashable)

    2. Top 20 Entreprenuers on Twitter (according to SMMGURU)

    3. Top 100 Twitter Feeds for Young Entreprenuers

    This last one is just for fun! Facebook is now giving business window decals to help promote themselves. I kinda like the idea, especially since you can just text the number on the decal and the business will get a thumbs up! Talk about a great way to get some quick publicity!

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Another Book to Read....

    The speakers we've had come into class are, in one way or another, leading other people. This relates to a book I picked up over winter break (pictured at right). In the book Seth Godin details advice on how to lead a group of people, what he terms a tribe. He illustrates his points with examples of tribe leaders that have achieved success and developed followers doing things that had previously been considered impossible. He uses rock climbers, the Greatful Dead, and a person who transformed the animal control policies of entire cities to no-kill.

    The book is a quick and easy read since Godin makes a point, illustrates it briefly, and moves on to the next point. Some of his points discuss how tribes have changed as technology has eliminated barriers and how leaders can utilize new mediums successfully. The title includes the phrase "We Need You to Lead Us" and the book explains that there are opportunities for good leaders to create movements and that the right leadership can make a movement very successful. This does not mean that everyone needs to become a leader but that there is a need for good leadership in all sectors.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    For your reading list...

    As I was reading the assignments for Thursday, I noticed some overlap in material covered by another book I'm working my way through as part of my internship with Exec. Dir. Marta Weldon at the Fox Valley Symphony.

    Marta assigned me Managing a Nonprofit Organization in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Wolf. It gives a great summary, chapter-by-chapter, of the need-to-know subjects for nonprofit managers. This book was my first exposure to accounting concepts, and marketing and fundraising ideas that I had not considered before. The book provides great background knowledge to build upon with experience both in the classroom and working in the field.

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    "In bureaucracy, as in art, it's all about people and persistence."

    Learning the roots of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, prompted me to write about the Capital Fringe Festival for my blog entry again this week. The driving force behind the festival and one of its founders is Julianne Brienza. She is a theater person at heart, but reading interviews with her about the latest festival you can see that to produce art she must consider the business and bureaucratic side of putting on such an event every summer. Here is an excerpt from one interview:

    What's the biggest challenge you've run into with Fringe?

    What hasn’t been? There have been so many challenges over the past five years, from personal to professional, some comical and some rather painful. At the end of the 2007 Festival, I took on the role of Executive Director, which means I shoulder fundraising and running the business. I juggle a lot in managing the business of Fringe. I am sometimes too obsessed with our cash flow report. It is very important to me that Fringe remains a sustainable business.

    A big part of that is to keep us from becoming an institution too quickly. At the festival last year, I had many tell me that Fringe was now an institution. DC can be a tricky place when it comes to institutions. When you think of DC arts institutions, it usually conjures up images of bricks and mortar. I am trying to keep us as nomadic as possible. We need to be able to react to our ever-evolving city and not be tied down by anything.

    I had someone say to me last year that they were confused that we kept changing. They were referring to our image and brand for the festival each year. Now, they did not mean this as a compliment – but it was awesome to me! We very much view ourselves like we’re a band and each year we release a new album. So, of course the image will change but the core is always the same.

    Cash flow reports, imagine that! Anyway, the second part reminds me of David Hawkinson describing the founders of Steppenwolf becoming uncomfortable whenever they started to feel comfortable with the state of their theater company. If you're interested in some of the craziness Brienza went through to get permits and other funding for the festival, this Washington Post article is a great read and puts our project hurdles in perspective.

    Cheap (or Free) Ways to Grow Your Business

    Maybe everyone already knows about this, but INC is an amazing entrepreneur website/magazine. I would highly recommend checking it out and surfing through their abundant free articles and business tips. Upon your search, you should read the article below about cheap and free ways to grow a business. The article is proof that social media tools are a smart move for expanding businesses. There is also an article about how Facebook features will help you expand your business. For The Practice Pad we are using a business Facebook group to connect alumni with students. Our hope is that through this page we can connect students who lack the necessary resources (either place or instrument) to practice their music with individuals who have the space or instrument and are willing to open up their home for a few hours.

    Quote from "Cheap (of Free) Ways to Grow Your Business"
    "Many small businesses today have yet to really harness the marketing and communication power that online tools can provide them," said Raj Seshadri, Citibank's head of small business banking. "Our survey reveals a huge opportunity for many businesses to begin using some of the basic online tools, such as email marketing, to drive their sales."

    Art is not hard to find!

    Living in Appleton is can be difficult to find, or even believe that there is an art community outside of campus. One need look no farther than down the street to find an exceptional painter living in the Appleton community. His name is Jeff Hargreaves and I first came into contact with him when he wanted to sit in on the figure drawing sessions that take place every Thursday from 7-9. Since then his career as an artist has taken off. He is represented by galleries in Wisconsin and Florida, and he has taken it upon himself to establish community based art classes. I always find it inspirational to know that someone so close to campus could have success as an artist. His website is at the following link:

    Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship TONIGHT at 6PM!! Stream it Live!

    Tonight, President Obama will be speaking about entrepreneurship! He will specifically be highlighting WHY entrepreneurship is important and how to foster entrepreneurial growth. There will be guest speakers from 50 different countries which include socially conscious businessmen, NGO leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs. I highly encourage you to check it out -- it begins at 6pm TONIGHT. You can stream it live from here.

    If you'd like more info, go here!

    EDIT:: Um, ok, I guess they're only streaming the Presidential speech, but if you can, you should get to a TV and watch it! He mentioned the Gramean Bank and microfinance, as well as up and coming entrepreneurs in the Middle East and developing nations. He said that entrepreneurship is the one thing that can bring the Middle East and America together, and I know that I would sure like to hear the hows and the whys. It looks like an amazing summit, so go, go now! Get to your tvs and watch this! :D

    Success in Arts Entrepreneurship!

    Hey guys,

    I worked for and am a close friend of Audra Haas, owner of The Fire arts studio on College Ave. She started her arts business from nothing (and without a college degree!) and now has a successful business. If you all need ideas or inspiration, you should stop by The Fire and talk to her. She is an AWESOME woman with lots of insight and creative ideas.

    Also, check out her very nice website


    Interesting blog

    I found this blog that seems to give some good information (some of it overlapping what we learn in class)
    It's part of a larger website called:

    Sunday, April 25, 2010


    Lawrence Print Club has a facebook!!!

    Kelly, Zena, and I are plugging away with our print press group. Right now we are researching names and artists....and will hopefully have next year all planned out! Please check out our blog page and facebook page. Printmaking Club is every Tuesday in the Wriston 2D Studio at 4:30pm. It is a great opportunity to learn about the art and actually create some pieces of your own!!


    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    In the spirit of Earth week

    Businesses operating in many industries (fashion, technology, gardening, architecture, transportation, etc...) have developing green designs. This is not only a environmentally and socially responsible step taken by these businesses but also an excellent demonstration of very creative and innovative business practice.
    Here are some examples of some businesses that demonstrate environmental responsibility in their mission and their operation.,29569,1892751,00.html

    To be or not to be, it is a question.

    I still remembered the day when I made the decision of changing my major to studio art. I came to Lawrence as an econ & math major, and the ECON 100 class I took in the winter of my freshman year and I did not get along very well, apparently we did not like each other. In China, only people who cannot go to a good college would go to an art school, and both of my parents and all my relatives said that I was wasting money and time. I thought about it again and believed that there was no other way out. Just like Prof. Troy said in class today: “You should not be a freelance artist if you can think of anything else you can do that makes you happy.” I’m not saying that I have to be a freelance artist, but really, I don’t know what I am going to do if I’m not doing art. I wish I did not choose art and art did not choose me, so I don’t have to quarrel with my parents over and over again. I guess it is like a “to be or not to be” question to me, it is either life or death. I have not regretted my decision so far, I don’t know what I will think 10 years later, I don’t know if I would say “I could have become an investment banker”, or would I be happy as a starving artist. We will see.

    Feedback Wanted!- Rubik's Cube Party

    RAVE Pictures, Images and Photos

    Tonight there will be a "Rubik's Cube" party in the Theatre House (a.k.a. 711 E Alton a.k.a. the old Phi Delt House). Yui and Nico will be DJ-ing (I will also be around the house) and we would love it if you all could show up and give us feedback on the music, lighting, and general atmosphere of the party.

    Any feedback you have regarding this smaller event will greatly help us in planning our larger event at Luna or Anduzzi's at the end of the term. So if you can stop by, even if it is just for a few minutes. Bring your friends. Ask them what they thought or get them in contact with us; and make sure to wear Rubik's Cube colors: white, orange, blue, green, yellow, or red (either all one color or a mix of all of them).

    Thanks. Hope to see you there!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Writer's Theater

    Today in class Professor Troy mentioned the Writer's Theater, which I would have to recommend highly! My oldest sister lives and works in Chicago as a dancer/dance teacher, and supplements her income with a bunch of odd jobs. She worked at the Writer's Theater for two or three years, and it really is just a lovely venue with excellent productions. I saw Othello performed there and it was just fantastic. If you guys get a chance, you should really go check it out!


    Hey Guys,

    Zena, Kelly and I have the ball rolling with our printmaking adventure. We will be stencil printing signs, watching an art documentary, and nibbling on treats this Sunday at 1pm in the Wriston Print Studio. Come join us, print, and bounce ideas off us all!


    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Reinventing the Orchestra

    Check this out! Video of a live performance.

    Practice space for musicians BLOG

    We are working on creating/ finding practice space for musicians, connecting music lover and musicians in need! You might be interested! Check this out!

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Here is our blog for the LU Printmaking shin-dig!

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Get Paid for Making All Things Handmade!

    One of my favorite websites which promotes crafters and artisans is You can sell anything from knit scarves to filigree necklaces to silkscreen prints to steampunk corsets. Though it's not necessarily as entrepreneurial as trying to make your own separate business, selling on a group site like this can do a number of helpful things -- 1) It can help you learn who your buyer base is (if your product is tangible); 2) it can help you adjust your pricing to get the most profit from your product; and 3) it can help you work out any potential kinks or errors in your product in a minimal loss situation before you decide to take it to your own personal business. Also, etsy is a GREAT way to find other people who do what you do and network with potential mentors in your field! Besides, even if you don't have anything to sell, there are thousands of awesome, one-of-a-kind handmade items up there worth checking out...and you'll be supporting other artists! How could it get any better?

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Pop-Up Theater

    Thinking about the pop-up gallery idea, I remembered I helped the Capital Fringe Festival create something very similar last summer. The Capital Fringe Festival is a month long performing arts festival that features new work from hundreds of primarily local artists at ten venues in downtown Washington, DC. Prior to the festival, the majority of these venues were abandoned for decades--home to only rats and pigeons. That meant that in around a month we transformed these spaces from gutted, smelly, and hot buildings into theaters. We installed stages, walls for dressing rooms, lighting, seating, air conditioning... It meant long hours, but what we created renewed storefronts, lots of foot traffic, and a healthy dose of theater to a block that few businesses want to invest in for fear that it will soon be demolished to build something new. Below are some pictures of the process.

    Appleton's Own Pop-Up Gallery

    Check out Chris, Sydney, Yexue, and Krissy's blog here as we try to set up our own pop-up gallery in Appleton! We'd love to hear any ideas (or just general words of encouragement!) you guys have for us.

    Imperial baroque music

    The top post I encountered as I opened the blog today brought a smile to my face, and not just because it showed progress on a project. The painting the Baroque Project team chose for their blog is one I liked so much when I saw it in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, I took a picture of it myself. One feature of the work to be noted is how the many candles and the chandelier illuminate various parts of the room. The flute player is Frederick the Great of Prussia himself—so the player is the host, in this case. Would the Lawrence Baroque Ensemble allow the host of a concert to participate, should s/he be qualified (or feel qualified…) to do so? If I recall correctly, the man playing the piano (is that even a piano?) is Frederick the Great's flute teacher, Johann Joachim Quantz.

    A few things…

    First, two teams deserve a pat on the back: they have this blog and this blog to document their project progress. If you are not on those teams, you are already behind schedule. In fact, if you don't have a schedule, you are behind schedule. So, by Tuesday—have a schedule. Speaking of Tuesday, we will have a very distinguished Lawrence alumnus as our guest: David Hawkanson, Executive Director of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. Though the syllabus asks you to read a Harvard case study for Tuesday, if you've been on moodle in the past few days, you know that there is a new reading now—one that is very relevant for Tuesday's class. We'll get to the case study on Thursday.

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Visit the Baroque Project Blog for updates on Jarrad, Garth, and Katelin's progress in creating a new baroque chamber ensemble!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Investment Management Summit

    If you haven't heard, ...

    This weekend the Lawrence Scholars in Business program bis hosting a number of esteemed alums from the investment world. This weekend’s program kicks off at 2 p.m. over in the Warch Campus Center. If you have even an inkling of interest the financial markets coordination of savings and investment, the regulation (or absence thereof) of the financial sector, or even a career in that field, you should think about coming out.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010
    2:00pm - 5:00pm
    Warch Campus Centre

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    (Cross-posted from the Night of Mayhem Blog)

    A project of the Entrepreneurship in the Arts & Society course at Lawrence University, this blog will capture the successes and failures of Andi, Nico, and Yui as they attempt to create the premier nightclub of Appleton, WI. Stay tuned for our latest ideas, hurdles, and event details. We want to hear from you too--so, please feel free to share your ideas through comments to make this enterprise the best it can be.

    Occident & Orient Opening

    Hi Guys, my honors project “Occident & Orient” opens at Mudd Gallery on Thursday, April 15, 2010. This is an art show of photographs about Chinese identity embracing, rejecting then merging with the West, through Chinese critical view of the western culture over three periods of time: 1930s, 1960s and the present.

    The opening reception is on Thursday, April 15, 2010, from 6 to 8 in the evening.
    Hope to see you there!

    The show runs until April 27th.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    No Longer Empty

    The No Longer Empty group is a great example of people already established who are successfully transforming formerly vacant storefronts into exciting and enriching arts venues. Check out especially the "About NLE" section where they discuss their mission!

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Ted Levin: Ethnopreneur

    Last Tuesday, I found myself fortunate enough to attend Ted Levin's talk at Lawrence. In his Dartmouth faculty profile, he is listed as "the first executive director of the Silk Road Project, [...the] Senior Project Consultant to the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia, and [...] a chair of the Arts and Culture sub-board of the Soros Foundations' Open Society Institute." While that certainly may sound impressive, it is not nearly as impressive as the steps he took to attain such positions. His talk on Tuesday focused on the entrepreneurial aspect of being a successful ethnomusicologist.

    In order to try to do his talk justice, I'm going to format my blog entry like the articles that Professor Skran gave us, as I believe his mission falls into a similar category. Also, just as a note, Ted Levin has been a part of MANY, MANY 'ethnopreneurial' projects; but in the interest of being concise, I have decided to only outline his recent work with the Aga Khan's Music Initiative.

    The Problem and The New Idea
    During Levin's Watson Fellowship in Afghanistan, he realized that traditional music in rural areas was dying out due to many different factors: 1) that music was passed down through a dying oral tradition 2) that without new music influences, the music was becoming stagnant, and 3) that because these traditions were located in such remote areas and the world had never had access to them, there was no cultural push to keep them alive.

    Ted Levin suggested that they approach the problem firstly by promoting awareness of such musical traditions, and secondly, by introducing said musical traditions to other musical traditions from around the globe. "[He] not only wanted to revitalize these traditions, but give these musicians a chance for their traditions to grow [... He] wanted to get these folks out and connected with other people from around the world." He decided to "curate" collaborative concerts between musicians of the world and market them to an international audience.

    The Strategy
    Ted Levin understood the magnitude of such an undertaking, and came up with the following plan (as presented in his lecture):

    1) Translating the language of art into the language of donor support (ie:: writing a proposal and a development strategy, the how and why someone should support his idea - "when someone gives you money, you can't just fumble around [...] you have to make a business plan, invest the money in some creative process.")

    2)Translating the language of donor support into the language of art (ie:: why the musicians should/would want to be a part of his project)

    3)Translating the language of art into the language of the audience (ie:: to give the viewers something desirable, to "make the audience come away with an understanding of something new.")

    4)Translating the language of art into the language of media (ie:: writing press releases, producing cds, dissemination of both advertising and material. "If you want to be an entrepreneur," Ted Levin says, "you must be able to get the word out.")

    5)Translating the language of art into the language of art (ie:: considering the feelings of those you are working with, as well as finding a lingua franca and common ground to enable the international artists to work together).

    By taking all of these factors into consideration, Ted Levin has been incredibly successful in his endeavor; "[he has] created an enthusiasm that wasn't there before."

    Notable Quotes with Regard to Our Class

    On what it means to be an entrepreneur "1. Not to have a regular job. 2. to take risks and try to get other people to take risks as well - to share and explore music and drive it through other cultures"

    That even in doing something like "amplifying voices that are being drowned out and documenting music which is in danger of dying out, there are people [out there] who are willing to pay you for it"

    On getting paid for social projects: "You're a salesman. You're providing a service, [and] you gotta get someone to pay for it. It's not exploitation; you're doing something important."

    That sometimes, "if you want to go North, go South. I wanted to study throat singing in Tuva, but first I had to produce Billy Joel's rock concert in Russia [...] which allowed me access to the KGB guy who was in charge of allowing [foreigners] into Tuva. Many people had tried to go there and had failed, but [because of the rock concert,] I was allowed in."

    Finally, on being an entrepreneur: "You have to do it all, but there's never a dull moment!"

    The Linden Center

    For anybody who is interested in Chinese art and Culture, there is an art gallery close to home (Bjorklunden)
    I haven't got a chance to visit his gallery myself, but have heard that he has some amazing artworks there.
    I met Brian Linden last summer. He is an art entrepreneur. He owns a gallery in Door County and manage the Linden Center in Yunnan province, China. (
    In Yunnan, the Linden Center also organizes educational workshops to promote awareness about Chinese culture and arts (cooking, painting, etc...) I think this is a very cool example of an artist/ entrepreneur that not only promote the arts but also help raise cross-culture awareness.

    More on Gelb and the Met

    Peter Gelb's new strategies at the Met caught Garth's attention when he saw and heard La Boheme at the Met for $15 recently. But he is not the only one paying attention: the current issue of Vanity Fair has a long piece on "The Met's Grand Gamble." Take a look for more on Gelb and the future of "the ahts."

    U Street Music Hall: Inspiration for a Successful Nightclub

    Thinking about creating our own nightclub brought me back to my hometown of Washington, DC. There are a growing number of options for clubbing in DC, and the newest one piqued my interest. U Street Music Hall describes itself as, " frills, but it’s not a dive bar. It has a little touch of class without being pretentious. You’ve got the infrastructure of a real dance club without any of the snobbery." They keep the drinks cheap and the focus on the dance floor. With a setup that puts the focus on DJs and all shows 18+, they hope to attract a crowd. They plan to serve food eventually, but currently the big investment is in a state-of-the-art sound system with bass that supposedly shakes the beer of the bar without leaving your ears ringing. Check out the DCist Blog for a longer story about the entrepreneurial DJs who saw a spot in the market for their own venue and created this club.

    When Fear Rules the Photography World, We All Lose

    When Fear Rules the Photography World, We All Lose
    One morning you wake up, and it’s facing you. Everything you took for granted and that made your life comfortable is suddenly gone. Probably forever. Welcome to the economy of fear.

    Your formerly cozy job, which once brought you a new batch of creative challenges every day, now brings you a daily dose of doubt and uncertainty. From photo editors who are not sure how long they will keep their jobs, to staff newspaper photojournalists who could be shooting their last images, everyone is living in fear.

    In the last decade, the photo industry has pivoted from an economy of wealth and abundance to an economy of fear. It is not so much about talent, creativity or effectiveness anymore. It’s about who can scare the other into submission.

    Decision-Making Based on Fear
    Pricing for example, is no longer based on usage, or talent, or even level of professionalism. It is based on the fear that someone else could price it lower and thus take the sale.

    Whether assignment or stock, images are priced on how high they can go before losing out to the competition; these days, that is not high. Photo editors negotiate with the “I can get it cheaper” stick raised overhead — forcing photographers and agencies into fearful submission. There is little conversation about quality anymore.

    The fear factor goes beyond pricing. Companies like Getty Images approach and retain photographers on fear. If you do not work with Getty, they claim, your images will never be published. If you work for a competing agency, you will never work for Getty, and so on.

    It’s a bit like Walmart’s infamous strong-arming of its suppliers: “We own the market, we own you.” Some Walmart suppliers, by the way, have been forced into bankruptcy, because they were forced into unsustainable low pricing.

    Stock shooters fear the ever-growing crowd of microstockers. Photo agencies fear other photo agencies. Wedding photographers fear lower-cost wedding photographers. Photo editors fear their bosses. Publishers fear the future.

    On top of that, almost everybody fears Orphan Works, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the government, new technology, and in some cases, even their car.
    Recently, an image-matching company released a report saying that eight out of 10 images appearing on commercial Web sites are being used “non-legitimately,” offering their service as a solution. Fear as a selling strategy. If I scare you enough, will you buy my product?

    Magic Potions and Security Blankets — for a Fee
    When the future is uncertain, like it currently is in the photo world and elsewhere, it is natural to be worried and scared. No one can seriously say today that they know for sure where they will be five years from now.

    However, for companies, or individuals, to capitalize on that fear, to use it as their primary bargaining tool is despicable. It is like pushing down on the head of a drowning person with the promise of saving them. A false promise.

    Photography does not live well under fear. Creativity gets lost and conformity becomes the norm. Snake charmers invade the land with their make-believe magic potions, orators take to the podiums to agitate more fear and offer their security blankets — for a fee. Opportunists see opportunities to make deals that defy reason, well aware that fear is a powerful logic sedative.

    We are going to see a lot of decisions driven by fear this year and next, mostly creating poor results for our industry. We’ll see a lot of people jumping off cliffs in order to avoid the fire. But mostly, we will see a lot of fear-smellers taking advantage of the situation.

    original posted By Paul Melcher | Posted in Business of Photography

    Parking in the future

    I think most people who have driven in large cities like New York, Chicago, L.A., or San Fransisco know how difficult it is to find parking spots on the street. Not only is it inconvenient to drive around and around looking for a space, but it also wastes gas, money, and creates more pollution. In addition, when you finally find a spot, you realize that you only have enough coins to park for 15 minutes. Now you have to run to your destination and back, or hustle some quarters from people on the street. If only there was a more efficient way to find parking and pay for it.

    The article posted here is talking about just that. It is a great example of how technology can be used for the benefit of society. Although this is a very different form of social entrepreneurship compared to what we have been discussing in class, I thought it was interesting to see that the government is also partaking in entrepreneurial activities.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Work Made For Hire

    One of the blogs I always turn to when I have questions about the business-related aspects of the art world is Work Made For Hire.

    Katie Lane is a consultant for a large company in Portland, Oregon, and provides simple, clear advice on a variety of topics: contracts, negotiations, how to network with clients etc. I was interested in being a cartoonist for a large part of my childhood, and in particular Lane provides some really sound ideas for working in the comics/graphic novel field. And she's hilarious.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Ska/Punk Nonsense

    My advice for anyone wishing to be an entrepreneur is to simply jump right in and give all you have. You need to think that if you don't do what you set out to do, no one else will. A few years ago, a local music festival that I would go to was experiencing troubles and was probably going to stop putting on shows. Instead of idly standing by and watching something I loved disappear, I decided to salvage what I could. Before I was involved, the festival was going to shut down due to no profits, and no venue. I was able to secure a venue in a short time and coordinate a team of peers to help in advertising to bring it back to a profitable festival.
    I know this festival isn't nearly as artistic or beneficial to society as many of the examples others have posted and what we've discussed in class, but through my experience with this festival and the rest of the Wisconsin music scene, I've influenced and inspired others to make music with their friends and perform.
    If you're not going to do it, who will?

    New Options

    Square, Inc. is changing how monetary transactions happen. They are distributing a headphone jack input and an accompanying iPhone app which enables users to collect credit card payments with their device. While the technology is new, it has the potential to change how business is done. Since the company is distributing the hard and software for free (they do take 2.9-3.5% off the top of transactions) anyone or any business with a compatible device can not only accept credit card payments but do so anywhere with cell phone service or Wi-Fi.

    More information can be found at

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    27 Inspring Young Online Entrepreneurs

    In this day and age entrepreneurs are finding new ways to appeal to the demands of their consumers. Such is proven in the article above, in which 27 young online entrepreneurs have created multi-million dollar websites all before the age of 33 (slightly depressing for us "normal" people, dontcha think?) While the projects vary in topic, all have one thing in common...they all have figured out the perfect way to target their target population.

    It seems extremely important for a business to consider why, how, when, and where their target population would use their services. And in the case of these online entrepreneurs they have done just that. In a technologically savy world where Generations X, Y, and Z are using the internet on average 24.5 hours a week, it seems logical for a business to be online. So location, location, location...even if its not an actual location. ;)

    Place Matters

    Hi Folks -
    I took a few moments to look over the project proposals and I'm very excited for you. I'm pleased to see how many groups are identifying and shaping a space to present performances and other activities. I want to reinforce how important 'real estate' is to the life of a performing arts organization. Audiences identify the activity with the space it occupies. Even the way they arrive at the space shapes their experience. As you refine your projects try to keep in mind factors like: ease of parking, natural light, accessibility, and safety. A new audience member is confronting all these factors before they're introduced to your creative work.

    Remember the three most important things about real estate: location, location, and location.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Once Upon a School

    Talking in class on Tuesday about social entrepreneurs immediately made me think of TED. TED started out as a conference bringing together people from three different backgrounds (Technology, Entertainment, Design), and has since expanded to encompass many other worlds as well; two conferences are now held every year, bringing together innovative thinkers and doers all over the world, challenging them to present their hopes and dreams for change in an 18 minute speech.

    "Our mission: Spreading ideas.

    We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."
    Three $100,000 prizes are awarded annually to help the winner achieve their dreams. Topics range from literacy to systematic government corruption, and there are literally hundreds of videos available on the site and on youtube to watch.

    One of my favorite speakers, and winners of the TED prize in 2008, is author Dave Eggers. In his speech he challenged the TED community to personally, creatively engage with local public schools, and discussed at length how he created his own nonprofit organization to do this called 826 Valencia in San Francisco. Presented as a pirate supply store on the outside, contained within is a space for children who struggle with writing to receive one-on-one attention from volunteers who range from professional authors to SAT course-instructors. It has since expanded to two other locations, The Time-Travel Mart in LA and the Superhero Supply Company in Brooklyn.

    The Once Upon a School
    website goes even further into his ideas and how the TED prize money helped him achieve his goals.

    For Your Reading List

    Roger Nierenberg, Conductor & Entrepreneur

    Inventor of the Musical Paradigm, an innovative program that teaches leading by listening, using the symphony orchestra as a model for business professionals.

    I just picked up his new book Maestro which demonstrates the ideas behind the Musical Paradigm through a fictional story. I think that his program is a great example of the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist for us in the arts.

    League of American Orchestras

    I'd like to point out a great resource: the League of American Orchestras.

    I became a student member this year and the resources that become available to you as a member are incredibly valuable: career advice, access to their online community, industry news, and also the League's bimonthly publication, Symphony Magazine (available free online). I believe my student membership was only $35 (?) for the whole year, and I feel that I've gotten much more than that value out of it already.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Want a sandwich?

    I was in Oakland, California over Spring break and one of the things on my to do list was to drive across the bay to San Francisco and pick up a sandwich from Ike's Place. Why would anyone drive an hour, pay for expensive parking, and then line up for an hour (I didn't know about the line until I saw it) just to get a sandwich? This place must have some serious competitive advantage in its industry seeing as there are Subways on every street corner selling footlong subs for just 5 dollars. Plus Ike's sandwiches are like $6~10? What is going on?!

    After experiencing Ike's for myself, I decided to compile a list of features that makes Ike's as popular and successful as it is.

    #1 Variety
    - Ike's has a menu of around 200 different sandwiches consisting of every different combination of meats, veggies and sauces. Add-ons are also available for an extra fee, which enables customers to compose their dream sandwich if not something very close.
    - There are also a large number of vegetarian and vegan sandwiches for those with dietary restrictions.

    #2 Store Layout
    - Instead of having a walk-in/sit-down area like many sandwich shops, Ike's uses their limited space for food prep alone. This creates two benefits:
    1) Rent is cheaper because less space is needed to begin with.
    2) Customers must line up outside the store, which basically creates a constant advertisement for anybody walking or driving by the store. In the short period of time (45 minutes) I was standing in line, several people walked by the store asking about the food and how good it was. Everybody was like "It's unreal, you gotta try it." This could never happen if the line was inside the store.

    #3 Bread
    - Ike's offers various types of bread just like Subway, but they also offer a type of bread called DutchCrunch, which might be the one of the best things that have ever happened to my mouth.
    This new type of bread is innovative and extremely delicious. And apparently they bake all their bread right after you place the order!

    #4 Taste
    Obviously, a place this popular can't just have lots of variety and good marketing. Ike's definitely makes some great tasting sandwiches. It might have been one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. If I lived by Ike's I would definitely be a regular.

    Founded in the entrepreneurial hotbed of San Francisco, Ike's Place is an example of a business that has found a competitive advantage in an industry dominated by larger companies like Subway, Jimmy Johns and Quiznos.

    The Met on $15 a day

    A few weeks ago, I was in New York and was hoping to see opera superstar, Anna Netrebko, take on the lead role in the Metropolitan Opera Production of La Boheme. Of course, like anything in New York, there was one small problem- the cost of tickets was prohibitively expensive, with even the nose-bleed seats priced well above my budget. Enter Peter Gelb, the new general manager of the MET.

    Before coming to the MET, Gelb transformed the vision of the SONY Classical record label, from a dying classical label, struggling to reach a large audience to a roster of mega-stars with records tailored to a wide range of listeners, while still retaining their "classical" integrity. The MET hoped to capture some of Gelb's magical marketing skills as well, and brought him on board in 2006.

    His initial vision was to "build on the Met's great strengths" while reconnecting the company "to a broader public." In addition to increasing the number of young opera superstars on the roster, Gelb also started marketing MET broadcasts to an unusual arena... the local movie cinema. Today, an entirely new audience can go to the movie theater on a Saturday afternoon, kick back with some popcorn, and watch 3 hours of Il barbiere di Siviglia in high-definition.

    Lastly, and most important to my earlier situation, Gelb devised a scheme make last-minute student rush tickets available before most performances. Student rush tickets are not anything revolutionary in the performance world, but allowing a student to get a last-minute ticket for $15 at one of the biggest stages in the world was initially quite a challenge for the MET. After all, It borrows some of the same pricing mentality used in Airplane ticket sales...

    So, I got my $15 student rush ticket, and watched in excellent opera in great seats next to people who had paid close to $250 for their tickets...

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Under the Influence of Expendable Income

    To be successful as an emerging artist, I decided to plan for my desired future in a number of ways. First, since the age of 13, I devoted myself to the study of what I love most: drawing and painting the classical human figure. Second, on the advice of my mentors, I submitted work to every show possible. Though I knew my work was just in its beginning stages, I also knew that, as long I was proud of the work shown, it would not hurt my career to start to have my name seen around the city. My art was showcased on t-shirts, catalogs, and even, when I was 15, a poster plastered around the Seattle streets. It seemed like a promising start.

    After a year of college in Southern California, I decided to return to Seattle in 2006 and enroll in the classically based (non-accredited) atelier program, which not only gave me a solid foundation for my work, but also gave me certain tools to succeed as a professional artist. Key among these were the networking connections my ever-growing skill set attracted. I caught the attention of figure drawing greats such as Steven Assael, Dan Thompson, and, even more notably, Robert Liberace, and, of course, my mentor since childhood, Mark Kang O'Higgins. These artists have found a way to make a dying (some would argue-already dead) art form their profession, without resorting to making art their 'hobby,' and because of this, I have the utmost respect for each of them.

    On Mark and Dan's advice, I started showing in more professional venues, such as the Elka Rouskov Gallery and Seattle Town Hall, and suddenly, my art was in demand. At the gallery, my forty minute drawing (to the left) was priced at $900, yet, even without this professional debut, people were clamoring for my business cards and my website. At auction, just the promise of a commissioned portrait sold for $800 (a price substantially more than the gallery, considering their 50% marketing fee). I was beginning to accomplish everything I had ever dreamed of and more.

    Yet, there was one factor I did not take into consideration: the failing economy. When people started to struggle to pay for food and gasoline, they obviously no longer had the means to buy my work; with no more expendable income, sadly, art became expendable.

    I took a part time job in a deli so I could continue my education in Seattle, and eventually, through various fortuitous circumstances, was able to come here, to Lawrence University, to finish my degree. Because, for the time being, my art (and therefore name as an artist) is directly connected with being able to sell my work, I felt that the time was right to continue my studies in a more conventional way: especially one that would help me get to grad school, continue my networking, and eventually provide another way to achieve my dream.

    For now, I can only hope that the economy picks up and art is once again in high demand so that I can continue what I have already began...or, even better, that by the time I finish grad school, I will have been able to brand myself as a 'non-expendable commodity,' creating art which is seen as essential, regardless of one's extra income. ...One can only hope!

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    marginal benefit vs. marginal cost

    I was traveling around the east coast interviewing and taking photographs of people for my art project during the spring break, sometimes I had to be at three places in one day. For example, I was interviewing a girl from Yale in New Haven in the morning, a guy from Columbia in New York in the afternoon, and another guy from Bard in Rhinecliff in the evening.

    While I was in Boston to get to Mount Holyoke College, I checked all the transportation options, and at last I decided to rent a car ($112.78/day), because even though it was a lot more expensive than public transportation ($59 for LinkPass), the public transportation would have taken me 10 hours, which I could not afford for only two hours' worth of driving.
    One of my friends asked me why didn't I take Peterpan which was only $60 for a round trip. I told her that it was not only because that it was 3 hours for a one-way trip, but also because I would have had to stay overnight for the next bus in the morning to take me back. I didn't know I was thinking about marginal benefit vs. marginal cost back then, but subconsciously I chose time over money.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Everybody's an Artist

    Since the glory years of LIFE and other American picture magazines, many so-called "fine art photographers" counted on magazines to subsidize their art projects. We did too for awhile being fully aware of the legacy. Hernri Cartier-Bresson founded Magnum Photos. Walker Evans worked for Fortune. Irving Penn made fashion photographs for Vogue. Diane Arbus did photo essays Harper's. Richard Avedon made portraits for the New Yorker. Katy Grannan for The New York Times.  But, we love the the idea of amateur photographers selling their flickr images through Getty as reported in The New York Times article "For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path" on March 29. We ponder the trickle-down effect of the rise of the amateur in photography (and video) on notions of creativity in everyday life and public perceptions of "artistic genius." The Times article ends with a revelatory quote from an amateur photographer that reads like something out of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol:
    “People don’t know the rules, so they just shoot what they like — and other people like it, too.”
    Marshall McLuhan wrote in the Medium is the Massage that "The amateur can afford to lose" with the implication being that the amateur can trip upon something great that could be verboten for the professional such as the financially-strapped Annie Liebovitz mentioned in an earlier post on this blog.

    Image:  Burt Glinn: Andy Warhol with Edie Sedgwick and Chuck Wein, New York, 1965

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Knowing When It's Time To Call It Quits

    This Washington Post article tells the story of a true entrepreneur in the Arts, Joy Zinoman. Founder of The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, Zinoman built an extremely successful theater multiplex from a simple acting studio. When I interned at Studio Theatre three years ago, Zinoman held sessions with the interns that ran for hours as she told us about the roots of her organization. Beginning with a passion for acting she simply wanted to offer classes to foster the growth of actors in the DC area. When she teamed up with a local set designer he gave her the idea of "let's create a space for your acting students to perform in front of a real audience," and Studio Theatre was born. When their first space opened, 14th & P streets NW was a neighborhood to avoid in daylight, but since then the former auto repair district has been completely transformed. With million dollar condos, a Whole Foods grocery store, and even a Starbucks across the street, Studio Theatre has become a beacon for the neighborhood and an example of what quality performing art and a driven leader can accomplish to truly change a community. Now Zinoman is retiring after 35 years at the helm. Why? Well at least partially for something Gary knows we must expect for our own endeavors:
    "I really do feel that 90 hours of work a week, although I love every moment of it, is not a rational life after 35 years."

    Monopolistic Competition

    "Good art, well marketed."

    This statement is Kennedy Center Exec. Dir. Michael Kaiser's mantra for running successful arts organizations.

    It's really as simple as that, he asserts.

    In his new book The Art of the Turnaround Kaiser argues that unique and exciting programming, aggressively marketed, is absolutely essential for an organization to "create the financial strength needed to pursue its mission in a consistent manner." From his broad experience in working with troubled arts organizations (see Kaiser demonstrates that arts organizations cannot save their way to health; in fact cutting the budget in strategic areas, like artistic programming, will hurt the organization in the long-run.

    These ideas fully fit with the idea of monopolistic competition that we discussed in class this week. If the art your organization produces is not interesting or important enough to generate widespread support and interest, and not differentiated through aggressive marketing, consumers will easily substitute from the multitude of other arts and entertainment experiences available. Kaiser cites that since he has managed the Kennedy Center, they have increased their performing arts programming budget to over $100 million each year, and as a result, their contributed income has doubled and they have sustained operating surpluses every year for the last six years. Clearly, mounting new and exciting performances has its risks (sunk costs)--but hey--entrepreneurs can manage risk, right? And clearly it's calculated risk that aims to create sustainability for the organization in the long-run, employing a perspective that is able to look past just the current season to where the organization is headed in the future.

    What's the Value? Experiences vs. Possessions

    So going off what we discussed today in class, I thought this article was extremely relevant.

    In summary, the article discusses how people tend to be happier with experiences rather than possessions. This is because the initial joy of a new object fades over time as people become accustomed to having it, therefore implying that the total utility of that product is decreasing. As Prof. Galambos discussed in his lecture, consumers are always comparing the marginal benefit to the marginal cost. For a product, its life time can be short and easily forgotten (think about the pair of shoes that is hidden in the back of your closet, or the jeans that are are out of style) but an experience continues to "provide happiness through memories long after the event occurred." This could be due to the fact that an experience is a single unit and therefore holds more marginal & total utility, while products in contrast can be a dime a dozen, thus greatly diminishing its utility. Of course there is an exception to this rule, in some cases the act of giving or receiving can be an experience in itself. Also keepsake or sentimental gifts can maintain more value than a trip to the zoo. In this case, the sentimental gift maintains a certain standard of quality versus a gift shop picture frame which was built for the primary purpose of quantity.

    Clearly I am a novice at economics, so please correct me if I'm wrong. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the article!

    Yes! This is where you post!

    This is where you connect, throw out some project ideas, see what others are thinking, make connections within the course and with outside resources, point out relevant  news stories, websites, ask questions about class, and comment on what we're learning. But remember—you should also come and talk to us if you can use some help.