Creative Infrastructures (Book)

Artists, Money and Entrepreneurial Action

A new collection of connected essays and case studies that delve deeply into the relationships between art, innovation, entrepreneurship and money. Arts entrepreneurship is a growing field, and this book is ideal for arts administrators and policy analysts as well as for artists who participate in professional development programmes. 5 illus.


As in sports, business, and other sectors, the top 1% of artists have disproportionately influenced public expectations for what it means to be successful. In Creative Infrastructures, Linda Essig takes an unconventional approach and looks at the quotidian artist—and at what they do, not what they make. All too often, artists who are attentive to the business side of their creative practice are accused of selling out. But for many working artists, that attention to business is what enables them not just to survive but to thrive. When artists follow their mission, Essig contends that they don’t sell out, they spiral up by keeping mission at the forefront. Through illustrative case studies from culturally and racially diverse communities, Essig examines the relationships between art, innovation, entrepreneurship, and money while offering a theory for arts entrepreneurship that places more emphasis on means than ends.

Linda Essig is Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baruch College of the City University of New York. She has previously served as dean of the College of Arts & Letters at California State University, Los Angeles. director of enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, and director of its School of Theatre and Film. In 2012, she launched  Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, the first-ever research journal in the field. Her articles have been published in Cultural Trends, Entrepreneurship Research Journal, Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, Theatre Topics, Stage Directions, Theatre Design and Technology and elsewhere.  Formerly a professional lighting designer, she has designed for theatres throughout the country. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on both arts entrepreneurship and lighting design, and three previous books: Lighting and the Design Idea (now in its third edition), The Speed of Light: Dialogues on Lighting Design and Technological Change and The Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit


Essay One: An Ouroboros of self-sustainability 

Essay Two: Motivation, symbolic meaning, and social impact 

Essay Three: Art, capitalism, and its discontents 

Essay Four: Novelty, uniqueness, originality 

Essay Five: Making way for impact 

Essay Six: The nature of (arts) entrepreneurial action 

Essay Seven: Being an entrepreneurial artist 

Essay Eight: Eschewing scarcity and finding abundance 

Essay Nine: Buying up, not selling out 

Epilogue: A future imaginary 


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