Friday, July 28, 2006

Art and Entrepreneurship

When I was growing up, my father instilled in me the idea that art was frivolous. Spending time on art and music detracted from the important thing in life, which was working hard and making a living.

That world view was hard for me to shake. I would go to museums and look at paintings, and I would ask my companions "What good is art, really?" They would just look at me like I was a hopeless case.

One day I asked a friend this question, but instead of acting like I was hopeless, she replied, "Well, art helps you see the world in a different way. It gives you access to new possibilities that you did not see before."

This reply stopped me in my tracks. It was true. A good Picasso, Monet, or Kandinsky DOES cause you to think "Aha - I see it now!"

Today as I was looking at some of our projects on GlobalGiving, I was thinking that many of the project leaders - the real "Social Entrepreneurs"
- seem crazy to me. They are trying to tackle long-standing problems that many people think are intractable. But somehow these social entrepreneurs are making progress - often amazing progress.

I realized that the reason they are making progress is that they are artists. Compared to most people, they see different possibilities for the world. And they show others the same possibilities.

For them - and for me, now - this type of art is the most important thing in life. Far from being frivolous, this art is central to making this world a better place for everyone.