Business and the Arts: A New Model for the 21st Century
What do musicians and business people have in common? It’s customary to think of artistic traditions and entrepreneurial thinking as fundamentally incompatible, but we would like to challenge that notion.
Both artists and entrepreneurs function as our society’s scouts, forerunners who are sensitive to changing conditions, on the lookout for broader perspectives and new opportunities, who report back to the rest of us about the emerging landscape ahead. Uniting artistic and entrepreneurial visions unlocks a powerful potential for responding to community needs in unexpected, creative ways.
Cultural organizations in the 21st century need new models to achieve sustainability and deepen their impact. Conceptual thinking and groundbreaking design are increasingly essential to the entrepreneurial sector. How do we identify and support intrepid innovators who can redefine the relationship between business and the arts?
Cultural Entrepreneurship: Uniting the Arts and Business
Cultural entrepreneurs are passionate about serving society through their art, innovative in achieving impact and sustainability, and generous in forming partnerships and sharing ideas. We think that cultural entrepreneurship is an idea whose time has come.
As in everything we do, we sought out partners who shared our vision and could help us make it a reality:
- Harvard’s Business School and Division of Arts and Sciences
- Leaders of venture capital firms and cultural organizations
- Artists and administrators
- Collaborators who believe that a vibrant cultural sector is essential to society
Our first joint venture was an annual Harvard University Cultural Entrepreneurship - Challenge that attracted hundreds of students from business, the humanities, engineering, education, design, and public policy. This is a model that we hope can bring cultural entrepreneurship to colleges and universities everywhere.
Today, Silkroad is developing a new program that will identify outstanding cultural entrepreneurs around the world, help them bring their ventures to the next level and, we hope, inspire future generations of intrepid, innovative thinkers.