thoughts on arts entrepreneurship

\\ An introduction \\

thoughts on entrepreneurship in the arts

The concept of entrepreneurship is synonymous with success and is held in high esteem in contemporary society. Individuals are encouraged to act entrepreneurially and are taught to become entrepreneurial citizens from a young age. However, there are questions surrounding the definition of entrepreneurial behavior, and the possibilities and limitations inherent in current definitions. This has implications for the arts industry, and how entrepreneurship is perceived within this sector. What constitutes entrepreneurial behavior, and how is it defined? These are important questions that warrant exploration.

An entrepreneurial language

The language we use determines how we perceive the world. It serves as the conduit between our thoughts and the external world. Scholars, including Hannah Arendt, have noted the role of language in shaping knowledge production and influencing our thoughts (Arendt 1978). Today, the prevalent language used to describe individuals in society emphasizes their role as an entrepreneur and economic subject. This affects how individuals perceive themselves and others and creates expectations for their behavior. However, the meaning of entrepreneurship may differ depending on the industry or field. This raises questions about the role of artists as entrepreneurs and how they act within this framework. What does it mean for artists to be entrepreneurial, and how does this affect their work?

The artistic profession

Creating artistic work often requires artists to use a range of funding models to generate income, combining various forms of employment, financial support, and grants. However, there are limited opportunities for long-term employment in the arts industry. Therefore, artists often rely on a mix of temporary project employment, teaching positions, commissions, scholarships, and side jobs to make a living. It raises questions about whether the freelance lifestyle of artists can be considered entrepreneurial. When artists create their own reality through innovative and creative approaches to producing art and earning a livelihood with limited resources, can they be classified as entrepreneurs? Given that current perspectives on entrepreneurship are linked to notions of economic success, does this render most artists as non-entrepreneurial?

The subject of entrepreneurship in art education has sparked debate. Many artists associate the concept with capitalism and profit-seeking, as evidenced in interviews conducted for the TaideART project. Despite exhibiting entrepreneurial behavior, many artists do not consider themselves as entrepreneurs. This is despite the fact that entrepreneurship has always been a natural aspect of the artistic profession, given the lack of employment opportunities in the field. Consequently, many artists have had to be innovative in finding ways to earn a living. However, current perceptions of entrepreneurship as being intrinsically linked to economic success present a problem. Many people view entrepreneurs as successful business owners, making it difficult to classify most artists as entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship education

Entrepreneurship education in the arts often falls short of being relevant to the field. Studies and surveys indicate that art students lack preparatory work-life experience. This issue may stem from students having trouble addressing employment issues during their studies or from an overly narrow view of entrepreneurship presented in art education. To broaden views and create new movements in entrepreneurship, Chris Steyaert and Daniel Hjorth et al. approach entrepreneurship as something that involves the whole of society, not just the economy ( Steyaert and Hjorth 2003; 2004; 2006; 2009). The narrow view focuses on identifying and exploiting opportunities for market change, while the broad view emphasizes a creative process driven by an idea that must be realized within and with the help of society, rather than for personal gain. By broadening views and recognizing entrepreneurship’s importance in social, cultural, ecological, and artistic aspects, we can create new narratives, outside of the dominant ones. Hjorth and Björn Bjerke state that “entrepreneurship is about the everyday, daily life; the civic practices of living, rather than an extraordinary accomplishment” (Hjorth and Bjerke 2006, 100). This invites excluded perspectives to participate in entrepreneurship and creates new ways of producing knowledge.

Public entrepreneurship

The TaideART project’s research suggests using the concept of “public entrepreneurship” by Hjorth and Bjerke (2006) to describe artistic actions in society, instead of “cultural entrepreneurship,” which reduces the artist’s agency to producing market-based products. In contrast, the “social entrepreneur” approaches social problems as economic issues and seeks to solve them using business logic. The “public entrepreneur,” on the other hand, aims to encourage community participation and sharing without imposing changes.

There are many entrepreneurial models within the arts that are self-organized. These models share similarities with the public entrepreneurial model. They both involve small-scale, project-based approaches that are linked to physical, virtual, discursive, and emotional spaces. Furthermore, they both take on projects that bring attention to marginalized ideas and phenomena and work to make them more prominent. Hjorth, Bjerke, and Steyaert are aware of the limitations of the language used in an entrepreneurial context and aim to broaden the vocabulary to include those who are often excluded, such as artists, so that they can talk about their work in an entrepreneurial context.

The concept of freedom

The artist’s pursuit of independence and autonomy has been transformed by the language of entrepreneurship, which some artists believe has taken away these values. The idea of “freedom as potential” within the discourse of entrepreneurship does not resonate with many artists. This concept refers to the individual being free to take advantage of the many opportunities and possibilities available in the world. Christian Maravelias distinguishes between “freedom as autonomy,” which involves liberation from power, and “freedom as potential,” which requires power to act and seize opportunities (Maravelias 2009, 16).

Expanding the conventional perspective of entrepreneurship is essential to preserve the freedom that is integral to the arts. Such a perspective would encompass more than just the economy and involve the entirety of society. This extension would allow artists to discuss their work within the context of entrepreneurship. In turn, a more comprehensive approach would promote the creation of diverse types of knowledge and recognize the significance of artistic aspects. Educational materials has been developed based on TaideART project’s research on entrepreneurial activities in the arts, which can be employed in art education entrepreneurship courses.

Arendt, H. 1978. The Life of the Mind, vol. 1, Thinking. New York: Harcourt.

Barykin, S.E., Kapustina, I.V., Sergeev, S.M., Daniali, S.M., Kopteva, L.A., Semenova, G.N., Pryadko, I.P., Mikhaylov, A., Baboshkin, P., Datsyuk, P., & Senjyu, T. (2022). Financial logistics models based on systematic approach improving management solutions. F1000Research, 11, 777. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.111252.1

Dahlin, K. (2023). Kukkalähetys – Lähetä kukkia. Slow Flower Garden. Retrieved on 10. April 2023.

Hjorth, D & Bjerke, B. 2006. Public Entrepreneurship: Moving from Social/Consumer to Public/Citizen. In D. Hjorth & C. Steyaert (eds.) Entrepreneurship as Social Change: A Third Movements in Entrepreneurship Book. Cheltenham, UK & Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Eglar, 79-102. DOI: 

Maravelias, C. 2009. Freedom, Opportunism and Entrepreneurialism in Post-Bureaucratic Organizations. In D. Hjorth & C. Steyaert (eds.) The Politics and Aesthetics of Entrepreneurship: A Fourth Movements in Entrepreneurship Book. Cheltenham, UK & Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Eglar, 13-30.

Steyaert, C & Hjorth, D (eds.) 2003. Movements in Entrepreneurship: New Movements in Entrepreneurship. 

Steyaert, C & Hjorth, D (eds.) 2004. Narrative and Discursive Approaches in Entrepreneurship: A Second Movements in Entrepreneurship Book. 

Steyaert, C & Hjorth, D (eds.) 2006. Entrepreneurship as Social Change: A Third Movements in Entrepreneurship Book. 

Steyaert, C & Hjorth, D (eds.) 2009. The Politics and Aesthetics of Entrepreneurship: A Fourth Movements in Entrepreneurship Book. 


TaideArt is a collaborative initiative undertaken by six Finnish universities of applied sciences. Their goal is to explore new ways of creating business models in the realm of artistic production. The project is based on insights derived from prior research on the difficulties encountered by artists, such as those outlined in Kuvataiteilijan ammattirooli ja osaamistarpeet tulevaisuuden työelämässä, Cupore Publications 2013. One of the primary aims of TaideArt is to enhance the instruction of professional skills in art education programs offered by UAS in Finland.

Various areas of development are being spearheaded by the project partners. The participating universities are involved in pilot projects in conjunction with businesses, municipalities, and NGOs. However, this project is focused on deepening the comprehension of entrepreneurial activity in the arts. The project’s perspective on entrepreneurship is all-encompassing and not restricted to an economic phenomenon. It is viewed as a societal engagement. The project adopts an entrepreneurial behaviour lexicon to create innovative ways for artists to discuss their work in an entrepreneurial manner. Additionally, the project emphasizes a client-centric approach in the arts industry. Various contexts are examined to understand clients or customers, which enables artists to articulate different relationships and switch between vocabularies as needed.


What are the current societal issues regarding the individual that are receiving significant attention?

What are the pertinent aspects of artistic works that are being considered noteworthy?

How is the concept of freedom perceived in the context of art and culture?

What is your perspective on the ongoing conversation regarding entrepreneurial abilities? Can you elaborate on your own entrepreneurial approach? Which proficiencies do you appreciate and prioritize? Are there any particular competencies you desire to enhance? Have you had any involvement with self-organized environments, and if so, what was your experience like? Would you be interested in pursuing a more self-organized approach, and if yes, what motivates you to do so? How significant is your network to you as an artist, and who are the individuals that comprise your personal network?

What is your perspective on consuming culture? How do you approach the idea of being a customer in relation to the arts? Who do you create your art for? How do you define and understand collaboration? What values do you prioritize and connect with personally? How do these values manifest in your artistic creations? What significance does education hold for you, and do you envision any changes to current art education? If so, what changes would you propose?

kira sjöberg
creating change

Consultant with an expertise in cultural management and development

Key words: change, entrepreneurship, skills, network, values, attitudes, freedom, education in Finland

nora sternfeld
the beautiful moment of learning together

Professor, curating and mediating art

Key words: entrepreneurial society, play the game, network, self-organization, learning, values, freedom, client, collaborator

timothy persons
an understanding of the art world

Adjunct professor, international photography studies and gallery owner

Key words: art world, location, gallery, network, art education, entrepreneurship, skills, freedom

ralf blomqvist
co-creation, collaboration and new individualism

Management consultant with an expertise in relationship marketing and customer driven strategy

Key words: customer, relationships, co-creation, collaboration, new individualism, values, skills, freedom

markus lerviks

Visual artist

Key words: concept, work, success, collaboration, self-organization, artist in Finland, art education

cesare pietroiusti
a circular model of knowledge production


Key words: circular, horizontal, knowledge production, self-organization, collective, education, exchange, research, entrepreneurship, client, collaborator, network, audience, privilege


floral entrepreneurship: how artistic vision and business acumen blossom together

Flowers have been a source of inspiration for artists throughout history, as their beauty and ephemeral nature make them a popular subject for artistic expression. From still life paintings to intricate floral sculptures, flowers have been celebrated in various art forms.

Entrepreneurship in the art world has also been impacted by the use of flowers in artistic works. Floral arrangements have become a popular trend in event planning, with entrepreneurs creating unique and elaborate floral displays for weddings, parties, and other events. Some artists have also turned their love for flowers into a business, creating floral-inspired products such as botanical perfumes, botanical prints, and even floral-inspired jewelry.

In addition, entrepreneurship in the floral industry has evolved to embrace sustainable and eco-friendly practices. With increasing concern for the environment, some entrepreneurs have focused on creating floral arrangements using locally-sourced and organic flowers, as well as using eco-friendly practices in their business operations.

from artistry to entrepreneurship: building a successful flower business

Flowers are one of the most beautiful and versatile artistic mediums, inspiring artists and designers for centuries. From painting to floral design, the artistry of flowers has captured the hearts of many. However, turning this passion into a successful business can be a daunting task. Building a successful flower business like Slow Flower Garden’s kukkalähetys requires not only creativity and a love for the craft, but also an understanding of the business side of things. In this article, we will explore the key steps to transitioning from an artist to an entrepreneur in the floral industry. We’ll cover topics such as cultivating a unique aesthetic, marketing strategies, financial management, and overcoming obstacles in the competitive world of floral business. With these tips and insights, you’ll be on your way to building a profitable and fulfilling flower business.

slow flower movement: how artistry and entrepreneurship are driving the sustainable floral industry

Art and entrepreneurship have always gone hand in hand. From painters to sculptors, artists have found ways to monetize their passions and turn them into successful businesses. However, the world of entrepreneurship is constantly evolving, and artists must adapt to these changes to remain relevant. This is where the concept of “slow flowers” comes in – a movement that emphasizes locally-grown, sustainable flowers and challenges the traditional flower industry. In this article, we will explore the intersection of art, entrepreneurship, and slow flowers, and discuss how artists can build successful businesses while embracing this movement.

flowers as a canvas: the artistic side of entrepreneurship

Flowers have long been admired for their beauty and symbolism, inspiring artists and poets for centuries. However, beyond their aesthetic appeal, flowers also offer unique entrepreneurial opportunities for those with a passion for art and design. Floral art has become a growing industry, with artists and entrepreneurs alike finding creative ways to incorporate flowers into their work. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of floral art, the entrepreneurial opportunities available in this field, techniques for using flowers as a canvas, how to find your niche in the industry, and tips for building and promoting your brand. Whether you’re an artist looking to expand your medium or an entrepreneur looking to break into the floral art industry, this article will provide valuable insights and advice.