What Does Art Have to Do with Entrepreneurship?

I watched the two people in this photo making their art. One was drawing with chalk outside in the middle of a market area and the other was building Inukshuks in the Ottawa River. Both were compelled to create and both understood the impermanence of their art. Their work was only going to exist for a short time and then be washed away by nature. So why do they do it?

Marketing guru Seth Godin says,

“Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another. Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.”

For me the artist and the entrepreneur are one and the same. Both are compelled to create and build, to have an impact, to make a difference and to contribute. Both have ideas. Both want to start things.

Where Seth Godin tells us why Art is important, Steven Pressfield tells us why we don’t make our art. The first line in his book The War of Art reads,

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

His book is about understanding and challenging resistance (and is one of my “read often” books.)

The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance.

This second, we can sit down and do our work.”

For me, this is a rallying cry for our rural communities. We have the power to seize this moment in time and make it ours. We need everyone in our communities to contribute their art — to live their “unlived lives.” When we have a community of empowered, inspired people and a culture of entrepreneurial ambition where more of us have the courage to start things, we will be better able to address our current rural challenges.

Entrepreneurship is art. It’s where a local business like Pasta Tavola, in Belleville, Ontario can start with family memories of conversations over a traditional Italian pasta table and can turn them into a thriving business preparing fresh homemade pasta for other peoples’ kitchen tables. It’s where millennial business owners of the Brakeroom, also in Belleville, Ontario can envision a“laboratory for community and coffee”and create a space where you can have a coffee, fix your bike, get a haircut, or attend a yoga session. That’s art. That’s people living their “unlived lives” and in turn enriching ours. It’s how we’re going to grow dynamic communities and create opportunities for everyone.

“Art is our best option as humans and people who want to make an impact.”

Seth Godin


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