An entrepreneur is someone who works 80 hours a week to keep from working 40.
Here are a few of the things I’m working on:
CAELA (Christian Arts Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Advocates) is a project I started six years ago. It’s a service organization “providing information, resources, and connections for those living out their faith in service to God and others through leadership in the arts.” In the last couple of years, I’ve been able to speak on arts entrepreneurship and leadership at several universities and churches, host gatherings at my church in NYC, attend conferences and events on behalf of CAELA, and post regular links and announcements on Facebook and Twitter. But I’d like to be doing a lot more; and, particularly, I need to complete a book project that’s been in progress (slowly) for the past two years. It’s a book of “10 questions young artists ask (or should) about a career in the arts” with information, advice, and encouragement for student artists from professional artists, arts educators, and theologians.
Chuck and I are part of a residential community in Waco called the Good Neighbor House. Good Neighbor is a non-profit organization based on the settlement house movement. Their website describes it best: “[The] aim of the settlement or neighborhood house is to bring about a new kind of community life…. It is in the community or neighborhood that people seek and fight for solutions to their concrete, daily, local and immediate problems.” In the last few years I’ve gotten really interested in the role of the arts and artists on the ground in the community. In fact, through CAELA and my church in NYC (Trinity Baptist), I hosted several events called “Neighborhood” (like parenthood, sainthood, etc.) where we explored what it meant to follow Christ’s challenge for us to “love our neighbor,” through the arts. Although Chuck and I will be doing more than arts-related work at Good Neighbor House, they’re excited to bring that component into their ministry to the neighborhood, too.
Waco is in the middle of a big downtown revitalization campaign, and the arts and culture are an important part of it. My friend Fiona Bond started Creative Waco a few years back, as a local arts council with the goal of “growing Waco’s artistic and cultural life.” Specifically, they’ve recently successfully applied for downtown Waco to become a cultural district, which will open up lots of doors for new ventures. The main reason we moved to Waco was so that I could be here to help those businesses get started, and to be part of what I’ve come to believe about the importance of the arts and artists in building community life. I’m a part-time project manager for Creative Waco, focusing on artist networking and professional development, and other needs as they come up.
And of course I very much hope to continue having a relationship with the students and faculty of Baylor University and the other colleges in the area. I’m passionate about helping young artists begin their careers prepared for the realities of the arts marketplace. When I was on staff with the arts ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian, I talked to many mid-career artists who were discouraged and disillusioned. I kept wishing I could go back 5-10 years in their careers and give them a toolkit they could use to build the creative practice God had called them to. Ruby Lerner of Creative Capital, a terrific support organization for artists, had the same idea (minus the God part) when she wrote this terrific article. I’ll be holding some free workshops to hear more from students and get an idea of what their interest might be in an arts entrepreneurship class.
If you have any suggestions, feedback, or connections with people I should talk to, please let me know! Either email me or use the form on the Contact page.