I have recently been exploring ideas for establishing an arts business incubator here in Fort Wayne. This would be a partnership or collaboration among the Innovation Center, Artlink, and perhaps other arts organizations.
You may wonder why the Innovation Center, often seen as a technology business incubator, is interested in arts business incubation. I see three reasons.
- My personal mission is to grow the tech community in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. I believe that we cannot have a strong community of technologists without a strong arts community. Technologists do not just sit in Office Space cubicles 24 hours a day – they actually leave sometimes and go hang out. Which is where entertainment comes into play (no pun intended). Visual arts, performing arts – films, galleries, plays, concerts, multimedia exhibits, dance, you name it.
- Arts and technology sometimes overlap directly. Technology plays an important role in many arts creative processes. Film editing, graphic arts, sound, etc. Similarly, arts play an important role in the development process of many technology ventures. Website or app design, print collateral, video collateral, etc.
- I’ve seen the line blur. We recently met with a group of artists to get some feedback in our exploration of how to approach arts business incubation. 3 of the 14 in attendance were already engaged with the Innovation Center in student ventures that cross over or blur the lines of arts / technology ventures. It is already happening. And arts ventures (no matter how much technology is involved) see themselves as arts ventures, not technology ventures. That is how it should be, and we should respect that – and not try to convince them that they are really technology ventures that just happen to centered in the arts.
Regardless of all of the reasons – it will be absolutely fun to see what happens as more arts related business ventures are encouraged and incubated here in Fort Wayne.