Arts Transcending Borders: Cultural Entrepreneurship

Pato_DinnerOn Thursday September 25th, Cristina Pato – a Galician bagpiper, pianist, composer and Artist in Residence here at the College of the Holy Cross – held a special dinner lecture titled: “Cultural Entrepreneurship: At the Intersection of Business & the Arts.” Pato has an active professional career devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz, and her dual careers have led her to perform on major stages throughout Europe, USA, India, Africa, and China.
The night started with Cristina telling the dinner guests about her story. She was the first female Gaita (Galician bagpipe) player to release a solo album in 1999, and she became a huge pop star in Spain. Since then, she has also collaborated on world stages with Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farril, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Osvaldo Golijov, to name a few. However, she had no idea that she could become this product: Cristina Pato. She was fortunate enough to have a edge in the music industry as the first female, soloist playing a Galician bagpipe. Yet other artists today do not always have this competitive advantage. Thus, she developed the Galician Connection, an annual festival dedicated to promote intercultural dialogue through music and encouraging cultural entrepreneurs to rise.As the night went on, Cristina got all the dinner participants to interact at their tables and gave each table a scenario to discuss. Scenarios included: Being an artist with no initial funding, being an artist with public funding, etc. The fundamental idea was to come up with a way for the artist to market their product and make a sustainable income. After each table presented their plan of action, Cristina posed the question: “What is holding the artist back? What’s stopping all of us from sculpting, from being a famous singer, from being a renowned pianist?” It seemed like the unanimous answer was that in our modern world, most art has funding through public donations or private investments, and that we believed being an artist would not be able to rake in a steady income.That is exactly why Cristina created the Galician Connection. She is passionate about education, and feels that people need to be educated on how important art is, and they need to have a support system while creating art. Participants in the Galician Connection are able to attend classes and workshops that help them grow as artists, and they have a forum where they can connect and grow together.

So what exactly is cultural entrepreneurship? Everyone had a different definition. But if you ask me, cultural entrepreneurship is being able to acknowledge that the arts are an important part of society, and finding a way to creatively present an art form to other people so that you can make a living off of it, and so that others can appreciate and connect with it as well.

Thanks to Sophia Jin ’15, for attending and writing this blog post. Great speaker, great dinner and great conversation! As always, don’t forget to “like” us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director
Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies

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