What Is Arts Entrepreneurship? Tracking the Development of its Definition in Scholarly Journals


  • Woong Jo Chang Seattle University
  • Margaret Wyszomirski The Ohio State University


In this study, we investigate the ways in which arts entrepreneurship has been operationalized and defined in the literature. We identify eight scholarly journals in arts administration and policy, in business administration, and in nonprofit marketing published during 2003-2013 and review articles published in these journals. Our review found that the scholarly literature on arts entrepreneurship has in fact been quite scarce. We also examine all articles in Artivate, a journal that specializes in arts entrepreneurship. Taking the literature as a whole, we found a plethora of meanings used in the literature, indicating an, as yet, unsettled definition.  We suggest that some analytical clarity can be obtained by grouping the many meanings of arts entrepreneurship into five analytical “levels”: Personal Character traits, Goals, Strategies, Tactics, and Context. We also suggest a possible general definition: “arts entrepreneurship” is a management process through which cultural workers seek to support their creativity and autonomy, advance their capacity for adaptability, and create artistic as well as economic and social value. This management process involves an ongoing set of innovative choices and risks intended to recombine resources and pursue new opportunities to produce artistic, economic, and social value. Identifying the emerging clusters from the meanings found in the literature, we conclude that to understand arts entrepreneurs, one must focus on the innovative combinations of strategy, individual skills, and mindset operating in each case of arts entrepreneurship and its context. As arts entrepreneurship is a constant exercise in recombination of skillsets, the possibility of flexible recipes begins to reveal what might be regarded as the recombinant DNA of arts entrepreneurship.

Author Biographies

Woong Jo Chang, Seattle University

BA, Chinese Language and Literature, 2002, Seoul National University; MA, Performing Arts, 2004, Seoul National University; PhD, Cultural Policy and Arts Administration, 2011, The Ohio State University

Margaret Wyszomirski, The Ohio State University

Professor Wyszomirski is a faculty member of both the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. She has served as staff director for the bipartisan Independent Commission on the National Endowment for the Arts, as director of the Office of Policy Planning, Research and Budget at the National Endowment for the Arts, and as director of the Graduate Public Policy Program at Georgetown University. She joined the faculty of the Federal Executive Institute of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 1988. Professor Wyszomirski has been on national advisory committees for a Foundation Center analysis of arts funding, for the economic impact study of arts and tourism conducted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and for the National Center for Charitable Statistics. She was a founding member of the Research Advisory Committee of the American Council for the Arts, and was chairman of the steering committee for the 1997 American Assembly on "The Arts and the Public Purpose." She is currently chairman of the Research Task Force of the Center for Arts and Culture in Washington, DC.





How to Cite

Chang, W., & Wyszomirski, M. (2015). What Is Arts Entrepreneurship? Tracking the Development of its Definition in Scholarly Journals. Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 4(2), 11–31. Retrieved from https://artivate.org/index.php/artivate/article/view/42