What do we make artists run businesses? Why do we let artists run businesses?

Laura Greenfield, 29 September 2012

Why do we?

- Because it has to happen?
- Do you have to ‘earn’ your artistic freedom by playing the business game (e.g. building up a brand, reputation, funds??) and what are the costs to the art involved in this?

What are the problems with it?

- Artistic and business skills are rarely found in the same person and one person can never do everything well
- The art can suffer because of the business
- The business can suffer because of the art

- A vicious circle: artists need to employ a ‘business head’ but because they haven't yet got a ‘business head’ they don't have enough money to employ the right one - “chicken and egg”
- In bigger organisations, who gets the power? Is it the Artistic Director or the Executive Director who are ultimately in charge?

(- Arts needs to have ultimate control, but they must be aware of the business pressures and arts cannot have the final say at all costs - for example, at the expense of bankruptcy or illegality!)

Are there any good things about it?

- Can necessity drive invention? Can constraints make arts better?

What are the potential solutions?

- More than one person! More business managers for people who can support the arts and networks, training and education for those managers
- Better marriages between business and artists (in the same individual? In one individual?)

- A scheme for matching artists to arts managers/producers
- Training courses from organisations like ITC
- A network of producers for peer learning
- A ‘Dragon’s Den' for the arts where producers can take forward ideas?!?
- A better understanding of the role of the producer, whether they are called the Administrator, the Producer or the Executive Director

(- but do we have this balance right in the UK already, in comparison to the more business-led US and the more artist-led France?)


Training, arts management, networks, Producers, business, training, producers, arts funding, producing