Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Professor Taylor’s presentation and the recent discussion about arts centers becoming platforms for multi-use community building happened to coincide with my discovery of the Arts Incubator of the Rockies (AIR). This is a multi-stakeholder, cross-industry collaboration collective meant to equip people with creative and business competencies and foster creative economic growth. These innovative art-business hybrid takes on delivery, consumption, and management are revealing themselves as the latest trend across the board.
AIR operates in 23 states, and is based in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is geared toward education and collaboration. There is an online collective of information, resources, and articles as well as a short- and long-term education workshops. The site also includes a portfolio of professionals spanning specialties from marketing professionals to sculpture educators. The organization has a financial model centered around fees for education workshops and providing enhanced online capabilities through a membership model.
I find this intriguing, and am excited at the potential output from the atmosphere of collaboration. I do find concern in these types of targeted micro-social sites promising exposure, education and resources; they have become to be a dime a dozen in a variety of industries from home design to law. I certainly can see the value these organizations offer, but am suspicious of the resources and motivation required to provide this service “well.” Also, speaking of resources, it seems interesting that the website bemoans that “arts funding is stagnant and our champions are getting tired,” but is a recipient of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts—two typical and traditional players that have suffered woes in the recent economic climate.
Also, considering the RAND reports we’ve reviewed in class, I found a particular testimony from an AIR member artist intriguing, “The AIR Evolve program has helped me create an organized and comprehensive master plan. I finally took the leap to become a full-time artist and am now channeling my energy and see the wealth of opportunities ahead.” This is satisfying considering the fact that a majority of artists have traditionally been confined to part-time creative pursuits, or rely on non-creative industry income. Anything encouraging gainful pursuit of the arts is a worthwhile pursuit in my eyes.