The Cabrillo College Division of Visual, Applied, and Performing Arts (www.cabrillovapa.com), with grant funding from the California Community College Chancellor's Office Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the EconomyTM initiative, is fast becoming a leader in arts entrepreneurship education in the Monterey Bay Region. US Census data from 2010 revealed that Santa Cruz has the 5th highest concentration of artists per capita in the nation after New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. Unfortunately, many traditional employment opportunities in the arts have long been saturated, perpetuating the notion of the "starving artist." Dean John Graulty and the VAPA Division, which is nationally recognized for its artistic excellence, have responded to the needs of local practicing professional artists and current Cabrillo College arts students by developing arts entrepreneurship education to teach artists how to create their own jobs rather than relying solely on applying for existing positions.
From its beginning as a series of short Business of Art workshops offered to community artists through Cabrillo College's Extension Program in collaboration with the College's VAPA Division, Small Business Development Center, and the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County, Cabrillo's arts entrepreneurship program is expanding within the College's credit program with the emergence of a small unit creative entrepreneurship skills certificate universally applicable to students in all of VAPA's seven arts programs: Art Studio, Art Photography, Art History, Theatre, Dance, Digital Media, and Music. The new three- course skills certificate will begin with a recently launched course drafted by Digital Media instructor Beth Regardz and a team of VAPA faculty called Creative Careers—Discovering Self-Directed Pathways. It is designed to help students investigate creative career opportunities in all visual, applied, and performing arts disciplines, with a focus on unique, self-directed, non-traditional, and entrepreneurial pathways and the academic and life choices necessary to realize such opportunities. Paired with a VAPA discipline-specific course and culminating with the newly created arts cohort offering of BUS 88 - Starting and Operating a New Small Business, these three courses will offer every VAPA student, regardless of discipline, a creative entrepreneurship skills certificate that will enable them to leverage their creative talents into a meaningful livelihood that will benefit themselves and the community of which they are a part.
Cabrillo's emerging arts entrepreneurship program has been developed and sustained through a collaboration between thought leaders from several disciplines within the VAPA Division, and Ray Kaupp and Michael Booth in Cabrillo's Business Program. Knowledge and best practices from national thought leaders on the subject have also informed the direction of the program. With grant support from the CA Community College Chancellor's Office Economic Workforce Development initiative, the Cabrillo VAPA Division hosted a two-day Arts Entrepreneurship Summit on April 24-25, 2015, called Seizing Your Creative Future! This event was open to the entire Monterey Bay creative community, free of charge. Dr. David Cutler, nationally recognized Professor of Arts Entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina and author of The Savvy Musician (book and blog), led four engaging sessions, each with a particular focus for Cabrillo faculty and staff, students, and the entire creative community. A total of 175 faculty, staff, students, and community members attended the 2-Day event, and all left re-invigorated about how to pursue self-directed, impactful careers in the arts. One event participant, a parent of a Cabrillo arts alum, remarked:
" I applaud your focus on bringing the WHY into your art curriculum. Both of my sons attended Cabrillo ...and each in their own way has come to the conclusion that success in [the arts] is reserved for a select few who are exceptionally talented, driven, or just more fortunate than the rest who are destined to become educators or to find their careers in another field. I hope that your efforts to expand art education to include the practical aspects that are necessary to make art possible as more than simply a pleasant hobby will be successful."
Cabrillo's emerging expertise in developing arts entrepreneurship education led to an invitation for Dean Graulty and Deputy Sector Navigator Alex Kramer to speak at the Central Valley/Mother Lode Region's April 2015 conference entitled Educators Cultivating Entrepreneurship. In the arts and all fields, the leaders of tomorrow will be those who are best able to leverage their creativity to address new and unmet challenges. Cabrillo is fast positioning itself as a leader in preparing students for success in such leadership roles.
YouTube links to the BUS 88 Arts Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion & Dr. David Cutler’s visit to Cabrillo in Spring 2015:
- Business 88 Panel Discussion
- Seizing a Creative Future Part 1
- Seizing a Creative Future Part 2
- Average Student, Savvy Student
- Creating Demand for Your Art
- Nine BIG Ideas