Woong Jo Chang, Margaret Wyszomirski


In this study, we investigate the ways in which arts entrepreneurship has been operationalized and defined in the literature. We identify eight scholarly journals in arts administration and policy, in business administration, and in nonprofit marketing published during 2003-2013 and review articles published in these journals. Our review found that the scholarly literature on arts entrepreneurship has in fact been quite scarce. We also examine all articles in Artivate, a journal that specializes in arts entrepreneurship. Taking the literature as a whole, we found a plethora of meanings used in the literature, indicating an, as yet, unsettled definition.  We suggest that some analytical clarity can be obtained by grouping the many meanings of arts entrepreneurship into five analytical “levels”: Personal Character traits, Goals, Strategies, Tactics, and Context. We also suggest a possible general definition: “arts entrepreneurship” is a management process through which cultural workers seek to support their creativity and autonomy, advance their capacity for adaptability, and create artistic as well as economic and social value. This management process involves an ongoing set of innovative choices and risks intended to recombine resources and pursue new opportunities to produce artistic, economic, and social value. Identifying the emerging clusters from the meanings found in the literature, we conclude that to understand arts entrepreneurs, one must focus on the innovative combinations of strategy, individual skills, and mindset operating in each case of arts entrepreneurship and its context. As arts entrepreneurship is a constant exercise in recombination of skillsets, the possibility of flexible recipes begins to reveal what might be regarded as the recombinant DNA of arts entrepreneurship.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Woong Jo Chang, Margaret Wyszomirski

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Artivate is published by Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs.
Photography credit: Tim Trumble Photography Arizona Board of Regents. All rights reserved.