photo by Danyel Madrid
On March 24th I found myself zooming towards Claremont for the all day Arts Enterprise Summit at Claremont Graduate University. Arts Enterprise is a national organization that helps emerging arts leaders like you and me blend entrepreneurial thought and artistic creativity to inspire growth and sustainable ventures. I couldn’t resist!
I arrived just as Craig Watson, the director of the California Arts Council, took the stage for the keynote. He quoted historian Arnold J. Toynbee to set the tone for the day: “The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” Watson described the work of three arts leaders who changed their communities and emphasized that each story didn’t result from a linear career path. Sometimes a couple of detours are necessary! Also, he embarrassed the whole lot of us when he asked who had an Arts Plate, the license plate designed by artist Wayne Thiebaud. It’s the primary source of California public arts funding.
My first and favorite workshop was Developing a Business Plan for Your Creative Future. Denny Hooten of Otis College of Art and Design suggested we each formulate a strategic business plan for our own careers the way we would make a plan for a product or business. So I added that to my to-do list…right after buying an Arts Plate. He also advised us to update our plan continually to honestly reflect our goals, values, and fears. Although it requires some heavy lifting, I thought this exercise would be the perfect opportunity to home in on my next steps. I walked out with his motto in my head: follow your passion and embrace your fears.
The Well-Informed Creative Professional taught by Ian David Moss, Fractured Atlas‘ research director and writer of createquity, was incredibly helpful. I tend to check in on social media and RSS feeds more often than I would care to admit, so I listened with eyes and ears wide open when he described resources and methods to streamline news and industry information. His highly recommended list of sites are a great first place to start.
Lunch flew by with an art-filled conversation with fellow EAL/LA-er Krystal Boehlert, and before I knew it, we were all back to our seats for the third breakout. I chose Arts Education: Rooted in Community and Collaboration facilitated by Betty Avila of Levitt Pavillion-MacArthur Park and LA Opera’s Garrett Collins. They lead an engaging conversation based on the article “Is Sustainability Sustainable?” written by the principal consultants of WolfBrown with Joanna Woronkowicz.
Brimming with words of wisdom and inspiration, we were ready for food, drink, and art come the late afternoon. The Summit put together Dine Arounds, in which session leaders hosted an informal discussion on a set topic at local restaurants. I chose the group lead by Steve Kim of Mind Your Bliss about the art of mindfulness at Walter’s. Over Afghan-Southern Californian fusion food, we discussed mindfulness techniques — and spent five minutes completely immersed on the experience of eating, parsing each flavor of every bite. I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed my food much more than my usual quick bite. Thank you, Steve!
After excusing ourselves a little early, Krystal, Liliane Ribeiro, and I dashed off to see artist James Turrell’s Skyspace, an architectural installation featuring bands of colored light juxtaposed against the sun at dusk. After our meditative moment, we left to represent EAL/LA at a networking reception at Casa Moreno, where we relaxed and reflected on the day with our cohorts. Our drinks around a crackling fire pit made the day exceptionally long — and we called it a night soon after. After saying good-bye, we made our way home with notepads full of scribbles, our pockets holding with business cards, and our minds swimming with ways to make the boundary between work and play a little more blurred.
This post was submitted by Danyel Madrid.