How to Be a Cultural Entrepreneur


Herron High School did not start because I was smarter than anybody else.  It started because I didn’t give up. And what an amazing thing to realize, that most people give up. Most people don’t think they’re smart enough to get their project off the ground, they don’t think they have the resources. But the number one thing you can bring to a project is not giving up.” – Joanna Taft

What I learned was you can actually get a lot of work done when you’re scared.” – Joanna Taft

Bill and Joanna Taft are the dynamic duo of cultural and community development in Indianapolis. While visiting last week I sat down with both of them to record podcasts about their work. One or both of them have been involved in an absolutely stunning number of local happenings over the years.

Joanna is the executive director of the Harrison Center for the Arts, a gallery space, but also what she calls a “cultural development corporation” for the city. She talks about what that means, as well as her work as a cultural entrepreneur in the city.  If the audio embed doesn’t display for you, click over to listen on Soundcloud.

Topics discussed include:

  • 0:00 – The Harrison Center for the Arts as a “Cultural Development Corporation”
  • 2:00 – Building the next generation of art patrons at Herron High School
  • 5:53 – Building an army of cultural entrepreneurs
  • 9:00 – Connecting prospective residents to urban neighborhoods at the City Gallery
  • 12:26 – Advice about how to be a cultural entrepreneur
  • 14:38 – Building community with “Porch Parties”

Subscribe to my podcast via iTunes or Soundcloud. Don’t forget you can ask me anything and I will be responding to listener/reader questions in future podcasts and blog posts.

You can also follow me on Instagram.


from Aaron M. Renn


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