It’s my birthday today and I only have one wish: I want everyone to take 19 minutes and 55 seconds to watch this video featuring author Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts. It’s inspirational, funny, and downright smart. At the core of his speech, Gaiman drives home the mantra “make good art” and the best part is you don’t have to be an artist in order to take it to heart.
The really thrilling thing about being in this field, even if you aren’t on the officially labeled professional artist side of things, is you get the opportunity every now and then to be creative, break out of the barriers built up by others, and bring something to life that you are sincerely proud of.
For me, beyond this blog (which is still just a glorified 800lb gorilla of a hobby), bringing The Venture Platform to life is my latest affair to make good art. After sitting around for over a decade watching performing arts groups churn out terrible websites because they are boxed in with all the wrong tools, inadequate help, conflict of interest ridden advice, and costly bear traps that penalized creativity and individual control, it was time to do something about it.
I gave a Venture demonstration yesterday and at the end of our session one of individuals on the other end of the conference call said something I wasn’t expecting. “Congratulations.” I paused for a moment not entirely sure how to respond and he thankfully filled in the silence by going on to say that Venture was something to really be proud of and a terrific accomplishment.
I’m not sharing this experience as an exercise in self-aggrandizement; rather, as an effort to demonstrate what I think Gailman is expressing when he advocates the need to make good art and what can be accomplished when taken to heart.
You don’t do it with the mindset of creating a product or service to attract a Venture capitalist, get the attention of a larger company, and get bought out for sacks of cash (not that I’d ever reject such an offer). Instead, you begin with the idea to fill a need and make the world a better place then let your creativity and skills guide you through to the final product.
So take Gailman’s advice in your own world and find a way to make good art. In the meantime, if you have some good art you’ve created (on the arts management side of things), take a moment to share.