Although I’m largely regarded as someone embroiled in business and technology, I also have a mean artistic and creative streak in me that I rarely talk about (probably because I’m partially embarrassed of how mediocre I was as a violinist during my elementary school years), but I still have a love for the process, discipline, and overall results of what the arts can produce. Maybe it’s because of my past performances as a violinist, singer, dancer, or actor; or perhaps my collaboration in productions as a stage manager, co-choreographer, music composer, or production assistant; or maybe even my hand in oil/acrylic painting, wood/metal-working, cooking, or photography – whatever the influences, I’ve always had a soft spot for the arts, no matter how it manifests.

Recently, Americans for the Arts published an annual report on their findings of the industry’s health in the United States, which confirmed my beliefs that the arts and culture sectors were not coping well during this tepid economy. Since the 2013 report relies on economic indicators, which are typically lagging indicators as opposed to predictive indicators, it leaves 2012 and 2013 findings out until the data can be aggregated/calculated and stops short of satisfying my curiosity (and concern) of the current state of affairs.


I doubt I’d be able to enumerate the ways in which the arts has influenced my life but I’m sure we can agree that it’s all around and influences us all – in more ways than we can possibly imagine – which is why I care about the industry health and whether it will be just as strong for future impressionable youths or for those who are brave enough to be practicing professionals.


In November 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts published their third edition for “How the United States Funds the Arts,” which had two important data points that I found interesting for the financial viability of arts organizations and the support for the industry as a whole: 1) earned income; and 2) individual donations/contributions.


Although I no longer perform or practice in the arts, I’ve observed trends by which some of the smaller-to-medium-sized organizations have been somewhat overlooking investment into their own abilities to better earn income and continue to engage their individual donors throughout the year (as opposed to seasonal), which is why I’ve partnered with Amber Henrie in co-founding In The Lights PR, to give these organizations a voice to be heard, a spotlight to shine in, and better way to form long-term relationships with their constituents on a consistent basis. Of course, I’m not presuming it’s due to a lack of trying on their parts but more of a way for them to benefit from best practices in the world of public relations – a world they may not be intimately familiar with.

I’m more of the type of person to teach others “how to fish,” so through this venture and collaborative engagements with arts organizations, my hope is to make their businesses – and the dreams of students and professionals – sustainable one organization at a time.

“The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening in our world than the stock market or the debates in congress.” – Hendrik Willem Van Loon