All posts tagged: sustainable

One Big Secret to a Sustainable Arts Organization: Stop trying to take over the universe with your ideas.

  Over the past decade, I have observed the Walmart mentality permeate the zeitgeist of our field. Build a large, national business or organization and you will have a path to sustainability. Many arts leaders, particularly those who are just starting their organizations, come to me with the vision of scaling an idea nationally, or even internationally. The thought is that if they could just scale an artistic project or organization, they would find long-term programmatic and financial stability. There are three large issues that I see passionate arts leaders missing as they build their organizations: They don’t have a strategy for building a staff before pushing forward a vision for a national organization. While there may be potential for an entity to grow and have a real impact nationally, leadership must develop a strategy for building a staff along with the organizational mission and vision. Absent this strategy, leadership is put in a position of taking on more responsibility than they are able, dramatically impacting the organization’s ability to scale. Arts organizations with ambitions to …

College Loans and Majoring in the Arts

This morning, I read this CNBC article, which discussed the fact that student loans have gone up over 150% in the last decade. The article states that “The average outstanding college loan balance is now $34,144, up 62 percent over the last 10 years.” Like most college students, arts majors (music, drama, dance, visual arts) will need to take out college loans in order to pay for their schooling. Generally, institutions of higher education don’t have a sliding scale for tuition based on projected earnings for each college major. Arts majors need need to weigh the value of the education they are receiving with the amount they will need to pay in order to earn their degree. When I coach artists, a big part of the conversation is about lowering financial risk in order to have more flexibility to pursue the things you love to do. With college becoming more expensive than ever, I encourage you to consider the impact of taking out college loans in order to pursue your art. Here is a breakdown …

Taylor Swift and Equity for Artists

Taylor Swift recently pulled her entire catalog of songs off Spotify, arguing that there “should be an inherent value placed on art.”  It appears that Taylor made about $500,000 last year in domestic streaming through Spotify.  Before her departure, she had millions of people playing her songs every day. Spotify argues that artists will reap the benefits of allowing their work to be streamed when a critical mass signs up for the service.  For people like Taylor Swift who already have a huge following, this potentially works out well.  For most musicians, Spotify is hardly an option.  This article in the Atlantic is a dose of reality, stating that it takes over 4 million plays per month on Spotify for an artist to make a paltry $1,160. Historically, record label agents were the gate keepers who “picked” the artists they would represent.  Due to time and staff size, only a few artists were chosen to fill out a roster each year, leaving most artists behind.  Then, ten to fifteen years ago, many believed that the …

5 Ways College Students Can Jumpstart Their Career In The Arts

I love this post by Ivan Trevino.  He raises questions many of us are asking at institutions of higher learning across the country.  The arts entrepreneurship  movement from the past few years has helped and many schools are working diligently behind the scenes to address the new needs of the 21st century artist, however, change is hard at the institutional level. While I agree with Ivan whole-heartedly, the curriculum he desires in his post represents a shift in the entire higher-education system.  That is, a shift from the traditional, lecture-based, skill and drill type curriculum to a curriculum rooted in experiential learning, critical thinking and real world skills building. What if you’re attending a music school that offers a great – but traditional – education?  You have to do more in today’s marketplace. No longer can you simply put in 100% effort into your degree and expect to be successful in your field upon graduation.  (This goes for just about every degree out there, not just music) That said, there has never been a better time to jumpstart your career while still in school.  Here are …