American University
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Artists as Social Entrepreneurs: Expanding the Arts Scene in the Fourth Sector

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posted on 2023-09-07, 05:12 authored by Sofia Hailu

This paper presents research on the growing fourth sector, exploring whether this highly collaborative sector offers better-aligned support structures for arts organizations than the traditional sectors of nonprofit, government and private businesses. The fourth sector combines institutional knowledge from the three traditional economic sectors of nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses and public (or government) entities, offering blended business models and emphasizing the importance of social impact and purpose-driven business. This paper also explores the identity of artists, as they are viewed by society, how they are positioned within their organizations, and what role business models play in influencing this identity. Along with the identity of artists, this paper approaches the question of how business models can better serve artists, and how artists can better position themselves as thought leaders in society. It concludes with the determination that the artist identity is strongly aligned with that of a social entrepreneur, and the opportunities of the fourth sector may offer more value to artists than the opportunities of the nonprofit sector.



American University


Degree Awarded: M.A. Art. American University


Degree grantor

American University. Department of Art

Degree level

  • Masters

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