The Art of the Arts Venture

PERF–596–004 | Spring 2016 | Tuesdays, 5:30 – 8:00 pm | Katzen 115
Course Calendar | Version of 3/15/2016

Week 1 | 1/12/2016 | Overview & Syllabus

A first discussion about the class, its goals, and its process.
DUE: Bring an object, an image, a text, or a selection of music that you experience as beautiful.

Week 2 | 1/19/2016 | Art Worlds

Discussion of “Art Worlds” as described by Howard Becker: What they are, what they contain, and where and how do we observe them? In-class working session on the Learning Journal with the prompt: “What is a short description of an Art World? How might you convey its elements, attributes, or qualities in a sketch, image, or montage?”
READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 1
DUE: Reading response, bring your selected blank journal

Week 3 | 1/26/2016 | Beauty & Utility

Cancelled due to weather
How do beauty and utility interact in the built environment around us? How can we begin to observe and discuss these interactions in productive ways? How might we consider beauty and utility in a business model?
READ: Business Model You, Chapters 1 & 2
READ: Eve, Hannah, “Union Station: A Symbol for Equality,” The Grand Station, https://hannaheve.omeka.net/essay
WATCH: “The Perfect Home,” Episode 1 (47 minutes), https://youtu.be/TdfyEvv-UC4
DUE: Learning Journal response to prompt: “Please share an element of the built environment around you that you find beautiful. Or, share a home appliance or tool that you believe to be both useful and beautiful? Include an image or sketch of the item, and a brief description of why you find it beautiful.”

Week 4 | 2/2/2016 | Conventions

What does Becker mean by “conventions” in Art Worlds? How do “conventional” practices or definitions or aesthetic values advance an art or entertainment discipline? How do they inhibit artists or art-making?
READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 2
READ: Business Model You, Chapter 3
DUE: Learning journal response to prompt: “Find and share three symbolic images, signs, or icons that appear in public spaces or public buildings. Include the image, where you found it, and a short description of the message it conveys or the action it suggests.”

Week 5 | 2/9/2016 | Art of the Brand

How do you discover the unique and compelling voice or value of a business, initiative, or group? How do you clarify and communicate that voice or value in high-impact ways?
GUEST SPEAKER: Neill Archer Roan, The Roan Group, LLC
READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 3
READ: Business Model You, Chapter 4
READ: “How We Think About Brand,” The Roan Group, LLC
DUE: Learning journal response to prompt: “Complete the ‘multiple roles’ exercise defined in Business Model You on pages 93–95, but use one or two spreads in your journal rather than separate sheets or index cards.”

Week 6 | 2/16/2016 | Business Model You

How can you begin to combine utility, purpose, and beauty into your venture design? What insights and inspiration can we draw from the built environment?
READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 4
READ: Business Model You, Chapter 5
DUE: Learning journal response to prompt: “In your journal, complete the ‘purpose statement’ exercise from Business Model You on pages 146–149. Include some images that capture the help, people, and activities you describe (photos, drawings, clippings).”

Week 7 | 2/23/2016 | Objects of Creative Attention

What does the collaborative, creative process look like in practice? How do innovative professionals balance conventions with new ways to make work? And how might we approach the organization with this same energy?
FIRST HALF: A conversation with Meghan Raham, Asst. Professor, American University
Set and Costume Designer (view her portfolio)
SECOND HALF: Defining and developing your venture.
READ: “The Designer: Decorator or Dramaturg?,” by Stephen Curtis, ArtsHub, February 1, 2016
READ: “The Story of Design,” by Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind, February 12, 2013
BROWSE: Object Stories, Portland Art Museum
DUE: Learning journal response prompt: “Find an object in your home or workplace that captures a personal or family story for you, something you attach a meaning or memory to. Include a photo, sketch, or other representation in your learning journal, and a short paragraph about what the object is, and what story or memory it captures for you. For inspiration, you can view photographer Sandy Suffield’s ‘Things and People’ series.”
DUE: First description of your intended venture/initiative. Complete the form online as best you can.

Week 8 | 3/1/2016 | Organization Reports 1 & Greg Sandow

FIRST HALF: The first six student presentations on assigned organizations. Details of the assignment are available online.
SECOND HALF: A conversation with Greg Sandow, consultant/composer/critic/educator specializing in the future of classical music.
DUE: ALL students must submit their Organization Report slide deck by midnight on Monday, February 29, whether you are presenting during this session or not.

NO CLASS | 3/8/2016

Spring Recess

Week 9 | 3/15/2016 | Organization Reports 2 & Sydney Skybetter

FIRST HALF: The second group of student presentations on assigned organizations. Details of the assignment are available online.
SECOND HALF: A conversation with Sydney Skybetter, Producer/Consultant/Choreographer (via Skype, 7:00 pm)
READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 8
READ: “A Choreographer Gives His Dream an Idaho Address,” by Claudia la Rocco, New York Times, September 12, 2008
READ: “Knowing When to Fold ‘Em,” by Sydney Skybetter, Clyde Fitch Report, January 11, 2014
DUE: Learning journal response prompt: “Find and share four images that capture the essence of Becker’s four archetypes in this week’s readings: Integrated Professionals, Mavericks, Folk Artists, and Naive Artists. Think beyond the obvious, here, and avoid just using pictures of specific people you believe to fit the descriptions.”

Week 10 | 3/22/2016 | Arts, Crafts, and Integrated Professionals

READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 9
DUE: Learning journal response prompt: “List the three most essential professional roles you need to deliver your venture. Will these roles be fulfilled by you, by paid staff, by volunteers, or by external partners? In what ways would you consider these roles to be artists or craftspeople? How might they consider themselves on that spectrum? What might motivate them to work with you, and deliver their best work?”

Week 11 | 3/29/2016 | The Power of Place

SITE VISIT: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
We will attend live (free) performance at the Millenium Stage in the Kennedy Center lobby, featuring: “Listen Local First: Oh He Dead and Herb & Hanson.” We will also work through a critical reflection of your visit to prepare for a short written report due on April 11.
READ: Art Worlds, Chapter 11
DUE: Learning journal response prompt: “Before we visit the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, share some brief thoughts and notes about how you perceive the organization’s reputation? What adjectives capture your feelings about the organization or the building? What evidence or experience leads you to choose those words?”

Week 12 | 4/5/2016 | Defining Your Value

How can you understand the value your venture provides to its constituents, not just from your own perspective, but from theirs? How do you then redesign your venture to maximize that value?
READ: Business Model You, Chapter 8 & 9
WATCH: “Customer Discovery: The Search for Product/Market Fit,” Steve Blank, June 28, 2014
WATCH: “Value Proposition Canvas Explained,” Strategyzer, July 21, 2014
DUE: Learning journal response prompt: “Sketch out a value proposition canvas in your learning journal, and use the framework to describe one of the customer/constituent groups that will be served by your venture. Detail some of their jobs, pains, and gains. And then list how your products/services address those jobs, relieve those pains, and magnify those gains. You can find an annotated version of the Value Proposition Canvas online here.”

Week 13 | 4/12/2016 | Building a Beautiful Venture

In-class discussion and working session to sketch out your venture design. How might you develop a venture that is not only successful, but also beautiful?
READ: “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur,” by William Deresiewicz, The Atlantic, January/February 2015
READ: “The secret life of us,” by Jeanette Winterson, The Guardian, November 25, 2002
DUE: Event Assessment of the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage
DUE: Learning journal response prompt: “List some adjectives or descriptive phrases that you hope your customers/constituents will use to describe your venture. What evidence will they find in the way you do business, or the way you communicate, that will lead them to use those words?”

Week 14 | 4/19/2016 | Connecting the Dots

How can the many threads of this class come together in your venture, your management approach, and your professional life?
DUE: Outline of Venture Design proposal.

NO CLASS | 4/26/2016

Spring Study Day

Week 15 | 5/3/2016 | Venture Design Presentations

Presentations of your final Venture Designs, with class discussion.
DUE: Final Venture Design presentation slides (to be shared in class).
DUE: Reflective Practice log (upload photo of your log book).