Jobs & Gigs
Why You Should Hire an Artist or CreativeBy Stephanie Diamond
December 1, 2021
I didn’t set out to build a business when I first started Listings Project. After all, I was an artist. To my surprise, though, as I grew Listings Project, I found that my creative mind and training as an artist made me uniquely suited to build a vibrant community. I picked up the business acumen I needed along the way, but it was my artistic self that steered the project.
I’m not the first artist to discover that creative talents can have broad and unexpected applications in the world of business. None other than famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma noticed the connection between creativity and entrepreneurship. He said, “Uniting artistic and entrepreneurial visions unlocks a powerful potential for responding to community needs in unexpected, creative ways.”
But it isn’t just visionary entrepreneurs who can benefit from an artistic perspective. Any organization or institution can benefit from hiring a creative person. In fact, that’s the central thesis of a report from Upstart Co-Labs, “Great Minds Don’t Think Alike: Artists as innovators in business, government, and society.” Upstart Co-Labs, is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for artist innovators to deliver social impact at scale. According to their report, “creative people gravitate towards solving problems, and increasingly those problems stretch beyond the arts.”
In the world of work and business, the problems that need solving are getting more complex and challenging. That makes hiring artistic and creative people all the more essential. As many listers begin to make use of our new Jobs & Gigs and Services Offered categories, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the many reasons you should consider hiring a creative person.
An artist or creative can offer a fresh perspective
Noah Scalin, an artist, author, and activist, says that “The set of skills artists learn allows us to be consistently innovative and consistently come up with new ideas,” according to Fast Company. New ideas are an essential component of any successful business or venture. We all have access to so much information these days, so differentiating is all about coming up with new and creative ways to use that information.
An artist or creative knows how to innovate
Anyone who’s seriously tried to make art, whether as a musician, a dancer, a YouTuber, a visual artist, or a writer, knows that you have to try and then try again before you are anywhere near completion with your work. Artists and creative people often develop a high tolerance for rejection and a work ethic that allows them to ultimately produce the work they envision. According to the Upstart Co-Labs report, “Artists return to ideas until they have finished with them. Knowing it’s hard, they cheer other artists on.” Composer Danny Elfman put it another way. He said, “Whether I succeed or fail doesn’t really matter because it’ll be interesting and I’ll learn something from it.”
An artist or creative knows how to take social and professional risks
Part of any creative process is taking risks. But it’s not just the creative risks that artists take that will allow your business to succeed. An often overlooked component of creativity is a strong inclination to follow one’s own instincts. This can come with social and professional risk in a society or an organization that values conformity. But if you hire creative people, and you are prepared to listen to what they have to say, you may find that they can alert you to opportunities or potential problems that others may not surface within your existing culture.
An artist or creative knows how to collaborate
There’s a popular image of the artist as a solitary creature, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Artists and creatives have to collaborate all the time. Some art forms, like theater and music, are inherently collaborative. But even artists who appear to create alone actually work within a vast creative and collaborative network. For example, two artists, Caroline Woolard and Nati Linares authored a transformative and collaborative report about the ways that arts and culture grantmakers can engage in systems-change work. Nati Linares also created an organization called conrazón that works to build “power and solidarity for the world’s wildest creators and disorganizers.” For artists and creatives such transformative collaborations are essential for thriving and surviving.
An artist or creative person makes the world a better place
Regrettably, we live in a society that doesn’t always support artists and creatives, making it hard for people without family wealth to support themselves and pursue their creative work. Most artists need some kind of work outside of their art practice. At Listings Project we firmly believe that artists and creatives are essential, that the work they produce can be galvanizing, life-affirming, provoking, and critical. By hiring an artist or creative, and building an organizational culture that allows employees to pursue a life outside work, you can help facilitate more art being created in the world. Even if you aren’t currently hiring, or don’t employ any artists (that you know of), you can still make time and space for your employees to pursue their creative impulses.
Feature image by Chris Beatty
Stephanie Diamond is the founder and CEO of Listings Project. She is also a social practice artist and a certified 5Rhythms dance teacher. You can learn more about her work at www.stephaniediamond.com.