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Contribution: "Enterprising culture" by Constance Rubini

The image of the cultural entrepreneur

When we think about the image of the cultural entrepreneur, maybe we need to start by questioning the word culture itself. What did culture become in the digital age? How is art shared and how does it circulate? How is it produced, and by who? At an age when everything needs to be “playful”, how can we teach culture? How did artistic practices evolve, in the light of the extension of data sharing, to open themselves to amateur practices?

All those questions arise today to all those who practise any cultural activity. They are even more accurate when we are dealing with cultural entrepreneurs, who have the responsibility not to consider culture as any other consumption good. That is indeed the basis of what makes the difference between an entrepreneur and a cultural entrepreneur.

The cultural entrepreneur is the one who knows how to solve this potential ambiguity: how to fit in an economic and business calculation model, without being completely submitted to a form of capitalism which would favour profit over content. The causality is not always immediate between the creativity of a production and its commercial success. Nevertheless, it is essential to support some projects which, although relatively unknown, can carry strong cultural value and can find an audience, maybe later on. The ethical position as well as the artistic vision of the cultural entrepreneur will guarantee the meaning of the word culture, and will avoid its possible semantic drift.

The cultural entrepreneur is indeed responsible for creating both cultural wealth and diversity. His role is to make culture more accessible, and to enable artistic practices adapted to the current transformations of society. The success of his enterprise will not only be based on his turnover, or his number of clients, but also on the depth of the content he offers, the relevancy of the means he sets up, and to the cultural impact of his project. It implies that those companies are directed by people with a spirit of innovation and curiosity, with a culture which is not only modern but also more temporally extended.

The cultural entrepreneur is an entrepreneur with a strong sensibility and an artistic intelligence, but most of all someone passionate who will not lose interest in the richness of the contents he offers.

About Constance Rubini, director, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Bordeaux (member of the Jury of the Cultural Start-Up Award)