SUPER RUBY, 2015. PHOTOGRAPH © ADRIENNE CALLANDER
When I was six, and wanted to be a ballerina and a part-time veterinarian, ballerinas and veterinarians told me not to be either. Never talk to actors about acting; they’ll tell you there’s no work. Or lawyers about the law; they’ll tell you they wish they were park rangers. People in any field rarely encourage you to join them. No one ever tells you to go into Art.
According to a reading of the 2012 US Census by the artists collective bfamfaphd, only 10.1% percent of art school graduates become "working artists". 16.8% become educators (presumably to turn out the future 10.1% percent success rate). 14% are not in the labor force at all (having married well). 23.1% quit art for something not-art; 17.1% are in sales (the difference between "not-art" and sales is not clear). Alexis Clements published these statistics on Hyperallergic.com under the header, “Indicting Higher Education in the Arts and Beyond”. To buy into the indictment, you have to concede that the sole purpose of a degree in art is the making of art, as well as narrow definitions of Art.
The analysis provides a breakdown of the 42% in “non-art” fields: Aside from the 12.3% who are probably pouring beer or coffee—and that does not mean they are not making art—29.7% of art graduates are in “Miscellaneous Creative Fields” or “Other Profession[s]”. The footnote to these categories includes Architects, TV Announcers, and CEOs. What percentage of that 29.7% might actually be engaging anti-art? Might be pushing Art to the innovation level, creating forms that Art has yet to name?
Entrepreneurship nurtures variants of leadership, creative problem-solving, and discovery. So does Art. Art Entrepreneurship is a dual process in which new forms are generated via improvisation, consensus building, empathy, risk taking, productive failure, transparency, collaboration, self-discovery, discovery of others, and a bias towards action.
The actor Vincent Gallo said, “I’m not an artist, I’m a hustler. As a hustler I’ve done many things. . .I’ve hustled to make a buck and I’ve hustled to change the world,”
The artist Jeremy Deller said, “I went from being an artist who makes things, to being an artist who makes things happen.”
In The Educated Imagination, Northrop Frye writes, “Art begins as soon as ‘I don’t like this” turns into “This is not the way I could imagine it.’”
Art Entrepreneurship is the story of acting on imagination, of making a buck, sure, but more importantly, of impacting the world. An email from my graduate sculpture professor, Lauren Ewing says it well:
the art world attention to stardom is useless
even more than it used to be
how to lead a creative life while having a job and a family is the real point
balance, community, health, family and growth
are things never discussed in the rush for the spotlight –
the whole life is never talked about in a culture of narcissism
how about a spherical approach to one’s existence, now that is truly sculptural.
 http://hyperallergic.com/156068/indicting-higher-education-in-the-arts-and-beyond/ The Paris Review, Issue 16, 1957