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.

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 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.


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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.