Art + Business + Social Impact

Wendy Swart Social InnovationsCongratulations to Jen Guillemin and Wendy Swart for the publication of their article in the Social Innovations Journal, titled: Driving Entrepreneurship across the University. Arts and Ideas in Action: Art + Business + Social Impact.  The core question they raise is “How do we create stable economic opportunities while building vibrant communities and addressing societal needs?”

(Read the full article, Here.)

“In the past people often saw ‘arts’ and ‘business’ as two different buckets, says Swart, who co-designed the fast-paced and interactive Cultural Entrepreneurship course she co-teaches with Guillemin at Boston University. “In fact, we’re seeing that the two combined create a power like no other, driving social change and personal business growth at the same time,” says Swart.

“I love that our article is crossed referenced under DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS,” adds Swart. The innovation is the intersection of a long-time practice, drawing upon arts and cultural diversity to bring communities together, with the context for creating a sustainable business model. That, combined with openness to the world of possibility, poises the next generation of Entrepreneurs to make real change in the world (while paying back their student loans!)

Swart and Guillemin co-designed and teach Cultural Entrepreneurship for graduate students, and Creative Economy and Social Impact for undergraduates at Boston University. They captured the power of cultural entrepreneurship to positively impact communities, and designed a symposium to expose students and the greater community to leaders working at the intersection of arts, commerce, and social impact.

Swart herself is no stranger to having an expansive global world view (ask her to tell you the story about the baboon who threw coconuts at her as she biked through Mali), combined with connecting to individuals at a person-to-person level (Read her book: Behind the Wheel: A mother’s journal of a year on the road: This is a true story about my family’s life as we moved from our spacious house in London … across North America. What was I thinking?)

See the Social Innovation Forum Symposium in Action!

Driving Entrepreneurship across the University.
Arts and Ideas in Action: Art+Business+Social Impact

Wendy Swart Grossman, Lecturer, Cultural Entrepreneurship, Boston University
Jeannette Guillemin, Director ad interim, School of Visual Arts, Boston University

Creative Placemaking, the intentional action of cross-sector partners fueled by arts and culture, is gaining ground as an effective way to build and sustain communities. Regional and national reports by the New England Foundation for the Arts and Americans for the Arts further quantify the billions of dollars generated by the creative economy, and university art programs can play an important role as an engine for change. To further explore this rich intersection of arts, commerce, and social impact, Boston University’s College of Fine Arts (CFA), the Questrom School of Business and the BU Arts Initiative came together to launch the symposium: Arts and Ideas in Action: Art + Business + Social Impact. Held on November 11, 2016, this innovative event has become a data point for the importance of cross- disciplinary collaboration and was featured at the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurial Centers 2017 Conference in Nova Scotia. The symposium invited university faculty, students, and staff as well as nonprofit and for-profit professionals to engage in a cross-disciplinary conversation reflecting on the question, “How do we create stable economic opportunities while building vibrant communities and addressing societal needs?”

Book Wendy Swart to speak at your organization. Times available in Chicago, May 2018.