Discover more from ArtsManaged Field Notes
Make things and tell people
The core of any creative practice is also the center of Arts Management practice.
As numerous creatives have noted over the years, the optimal career strategy is simple: Make things and tell people.
Rob Fitzpatrick and Adam Rosen, in Write Useful Books
At the core of any creative practice is the driving impulse to “make things and tell people.” That’s true for the individual author drafting a poem with pen and paper, and for the hundreds of artists, craftspeople, technicians, and team members working together to produce live opera or public sculpture or immersive media experiences. The difference is not in the calling, but in the complexity and scale of the craft.
Arts Management connects that impulse to its full realization in the world. As I define it, Arts Management is the “practice of aggregating and animating people, money, and stuff toward expressive ends.” But managers who lose sight of the driving impulse can, instead, diffuse and distract the moving parts into an incoherent and unsustainable mess. The challenge is to activate the practical and tactical functions of Arts Management while remaining true to the poetic and profound.
In Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World, Jane Hirshfield writes:
Every good work of art holds something that was not quite knowable before its own existence.
Along the many paths to “make things and tell people,” arts managers are both guides and explorers – reducing uncertainty in process and practice while also holding space for the beautiful unknown.
From the ArtsManaged Field Guide
Function of the Week: Program & Production
Program & Production involves developing, assembling, presenting, and preserving coherent services or experiences. It includes the full array of people, money, and stuff required to grow a creative impulse into a vibrant connection between artists and audiences. In blunt terms, Program & Production bundles artistic ideas into an “offer” that audiences can consider, accept, and experience.
Framework of the Week: The Adjacent Possible
Drawn from evolutionary theory, the “adjacent possible” describes all the options and actions available to an animal or adaptive system. Given current capacity and context, what next steps are possible? And among those, which move it toward advantage? Evolution doesn’t follow a north star. Rather it explores the adjacent possible with relentless intensity. This framework also offers a compelling counterpoint to traditional strategy and planning in arts organizations.