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Incubators we already had, but where was the incubator? Is Art-up Incubator the salvation for cultural Holland?

Fifty years ago, some tomatoes and smoke bombs flew through Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg. This will be commemorated on 4 November at ITA, the former Stadsschouwburg, with a gathering for which, according to the many e-mails I receive, not all tickets have been sold yet. Meanwhile voluminous essays in the trade magazine and many wonder whether a tomato shouldn't fly through a theatre again. Exciting, of course, but in 1969 the theatre industry also hobbled along behind (Maoist) current events for a few years, so it won't be such a huge rush. Though I may think very differently after tonight.

What is happening in the meantime: artists need to be more businesslike. It is no longer enough to report from your workplace in a post-industrial fringe to a subsidy office with your most individual expression of your most individual emotion. These days, they also want a business plan with real targets, and most artists did not study for that at art school.

Innovative suitability

That calls for a plan. And let there be a plan there? This month, the start-up ''Art-Up' launched. An initiative by two people who successfully launched the programme Leadership in Culture have gone through, and have now worked out an actually quite good plan. Basically, you sign up with your organisation (they do everything from sole traders to limited companies), and then, if proven innovative, you get six months of solid guidance and sifting through your plan, getting coaches, peer review, a mentor, the works.

Heap of buzzwords from the consultancy bingo, but I can report from personal experience that it works. I took that Leadership Programme in the same year as Jon Heemsbergen and Anne Houwing. Along various burn-out chasms and near-disasters, we survived and partly because of that, for example, this site still exists. Not because someone suddenly showed up with a bag of money, but because I taught myself the way to that survival model. Those are now donations and contributions, and there will be a bigger story about that. (TL;DR: it works!)

Whether that will work with the two initiators of Art-Up? At least they have managed to get an enviable bunch of cultural funds and lenders behind them, and that alone should inspire confidence. I think it's quite a shame Culture Press is no longer a start-up. Would join in a moment.

Anyway. Because I think it's a yucky plan, they get this cheering piece from me for free. Though donations are of course still welcome, hehe. 🙂

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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