From: Dan Beaulieu
The Worlds your Stage: How Performing Artists can make a living still doing what they love
By William F. Baker, Warren G. Gibson, Even Leatherwood
Copyright 2016 Amacom
Pages: 219: With Index and Notes
Not all business is business. We have certainly, not until recently anyway look at the arts as business. They were after all the arts. We or at least I just assumed that the arts from Ballet, to Opera to Galleries just had patrons, rich people, the modern day versions of the Medici’s who gave them money to put on their shows and stay around for the rest of us.
But of course I was being naïve. We live in a world where things are expensive and yes everything gets down to dollars and cents.
In this new and interesting book the authors take us into the world of the arts but with a focus on the business side of things and you know what it is not that much different than in any other business. Cash is the fuel on which a ballet company runs just like any other business.
Some institutions are well run and others have problems. It is interesting to note that in many instances organizations like opera companies have hired the most famous performer to run them after they retire and this unfortunately has not gone well. Being able to perform an aria does not qualify you to run an opera company. Sooner or later someone has to know how to read a balance sheet not to mention raise funds.
I like the way this book gives real-life examples of how some of the more successful companies have made it while others have floundered.
There is also a section that demonstrates how starving musicians can find ways to make a living; which is getting more difficult to do in a time when even so called successful pop artist and not making the money they once were due to online downloading of their products.
Things the book does that make it completely valuable to anyone trying to make a living in the arts are:
Providing lessons in reading and understanding financial statements.
Providing a comprehensive overview of the state of America’s performing arts industry.
Providing lessons in management and fundraising, what so many artists consider the boring but important part of their chosen field.
This book might not be for everyone but it is certainly a must have and read for anyone who is interested in the arts and most importantly making a living in the arts.