The Soul of the Next Economy Forum encourages various sectors to communicate and collaborate, offering their various knowledge and skills to look at challenges in a new light. The words “various sectors” not only includes business, government, education, and non-profit, but also includes artists and activists. Artists may have that perfectly unique outlook on a challenge with a unique way to find an opportunity in it.
“Artists should be getting out of their comfort zone and into other sectors, and vice versa.” Kevin Jesuino states. Kevin is currently working with the Trico Foundation Changemakers Studio as an Artist as a Changemaker. The Changemakers studio is a co-working and learning space at Mount Royal University. Students, social entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and leaders from across sectors are using this space as a catalyst of change. Together, they are diving deeper into social innovation theory and practice. Artists can then transfer their knowledge of both the arts and social innovation to a business with a complex challenge, allowing these artists to assist in facilitating solutions through social change. The studio exists because in these uncertain times we are currently facing, we need changemakers from across disciplines and sectors to creatively find the opportunities to address these issues.
Kevin Jesuino explained to us the way art can enhance the way the business community and community development projects look at a system. Artists are uniquely positioned to be a vehicle for transformation. It is as though an artist has a bird’s eye view of the situation as they have the skills to be more than one thing at one time. Its seems as though jobs have become hyper-specific in that we no longer look at ourselves as being more than one thing. This in turn has created a mindset of a problem being only one thing. This however, is not the case. In order for a system to truly shift, there must be multiple triggers and this is where an artist’s perspective can offer enlightenment and expression. We seem to have removed ourselves from creativity - we generically define ourselves by our role. A creative mindset can flow in everyone, but it must be exercised.
In this way, extending art into various sectors can only benefit everyone. On one level, art is for art-sake. But on the other hand, an artist sitting alongside business problem solvers can facilitate change with a new level of engagement. Artists may have some insight into the root cause of a problem which is where every solution must stem from. Calgary Arts Development, a sponsor of the Soul of the Next Economy, is also doing a lot in our community to foster collaborative relationships to achieve our city’s goals through making the arts an integral part of life in Calgary.