Friday, May 14, 2010
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute; we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love; these are what we stay alive for” words from the Dead Poets Society. Indeed there are two parts to the human brain; the rational and the irrational, which is the artist. As we know our society runs on rationality; perhaps to an extent that it doesn’t give enough room for the counterpart to develop. But isn’t it still important to promote all that makes us feel human; to feel what we are living for? But how is this possible when the stream of Arts isn’t as industrialized as it should have been, when the employment facilities are not as wide as they could have been.
Even though career prospects have increased over the years; students at +2 school level are still dissuaded from opting Arts as it is still seen non-conventional by the society. This observation is backed by the fact showing more boys in Science stream and more girls in Arts. The social perspective towards Arts and Humanities affects the standards of colleges at under-graduate and post-graduate level as well, with very few Colleges/Universities across India that maintain relatively good standards. However in general, the central universities are considered much better of than the state universities since they are directly affiliated with the HRD Ministry and Ministry of Culture. Due to relative independence central universities are seen to be more successful in producing artists with critical thinking.
Employment facilities are more dependent on the market situations. The funds mainly pour in from the Cultural Ministry, Arts and Cultural Organizations, and Corporate; which suggests that whenever there is a market boom, corporate has surplus money to spend on Art functions, Art galleries and promotion of Art and Culture across India. During this period, more designers and artists are recruited by the multinational companies for the aesthetics in their infrastructure. In today’s world of Information technology freelance opportunities are widely available on web, through which cross country services are available too. However these networks can be organized much better, making them more user friendly. In competition to the electronic media performing arts such as theatre has reached a standstill with very few professionals in the field. Lack of good theatres for performing arts and non-ticketing of shows has affected theatre culture adversely and has resulted in scarcity of quality audience and quality performance.
Industrialization of the streams such as Arts and Humanities can solve the problems of employment in the same. Just like any other industry it also requires managers and entrepreneurs adept at arts management, where they are familiar with the aspects of arts alongside the market available for it. Arts management is the brokership between the needs of arts and the required audience for it. It deals with creating market opportunities for the artists across the country to interact with their audience though their works.
For example ‘Evam’ a Chennai based theatre arts group comprises of theatre artists as well as MBA post graduates who are marketing their shows by pricing them along with their brand promotion. Similarly websites like Myntra.com gives the users an opportunity to design their own merchandise personally or use an existing design from Myntra’s large database. The website has around 12,000 designs posted by thousands of designers who receive 10% of the revenue on each sale of their design. Hence the website is gaining attention from the designers looking for a platform to exhibit their work.
As the times change and so do the career avenues, and it seems necessary for India to have a standardized and well organized system for arts and cultural activities with enough scope for the youth today to seek employment or freelance opportunities. Arts management being an important aspect for it and focus should be laid on creating a market for various art activities. Introduction of various workshops at primary and secondary school to enhance the artistic skills of the students can accelerate the process of developing a wide range of skilled talent. Arts management however, should seek to create a competitive industry for arts and cultural innovation and free practice rather than an industry just for art application. Thus, it shall be necessary for good and educated art manager to market arts innovatively without allowing the market rationality to affect the creativity of the artists.