4 Pillars for the Sustainable Development of the Arts

The four pillars of the sustainable development of the arts
Chart of the sustaible development of the arts

The key elements for the sustainable development of the arts are the diversity of projects, a singular artistic narrative, the capacity for transformation and mobility.

The difficulties for the sustainable development of the arts, their projects and organizations, are obvious in the vast majority of new proposals. Very few manage to survive over time and those that do, survive in precariousness. The goodwill and idealism of artists and cultural operators is the only engine that currently has the cultural and artistic fabric for their survival.

Lately, there has been research, supported by the European Commission to explore ways to address this situation. One of the most recognized and generously subsidized has been the “Creative Lenses” project. My disappointment has been great in reading the final results and notice that has not reached any valid conclusion for the sustainable development of the arts. My disappointment is twofold to notice that the partners who have been working, have already closed the issue and do not attempt to continue the investigation.

However, there is no other choice but to continue working. It is necessary to detect, in the complex and diverse world of artistic projects, which are the elements that help the sustainable development of the arts. In my case, I will define the four elements that I think are priorities. I have titled them "the 4 pillars of the sustainable development of the arts". I consider that the lack of any of them seriously damages the survival and viability of the projects.



In the arts and culture world, artistic projects are closely linked to the work of their creators and the credibility of the structure or organization that proposes them. An artistic work receives its highest value if it is tied to a trajectory. This will be linked to an artistic language or artistic narrative. One-Shot impacts are common in the entertainment or commercial sector, not so much in the arts.

On the other hand, artists or arts organizations, in addition to their qualities as creators, gather a range of skills or talents that are also their own. Artists can create using different disciplines, repertoires or target different audiences. Can educate, investigate, work with communities, youth, seniors, etc. In short, they can offer projects of various kinds.

For example, the renowned musician Jordi Savall. He is an instrumentalist, conductor and researcher. Design and execute different projects, both artistic and cultural. Make collaborations with other musicians. In short, its scope of action is very diverse, operating from different companies: its own name, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Alia Vox, etc.

The connection of all the abilities and talents of artists and organization is what can be named a Multi-Project. Working from a Multi-Project, opportunities are expanded. And, not only that, its effectiveness is multiplied by increasing reputation. A well-built Multi-Project is a critical factor for the sustainable development of the arts, artists and organizations.



Once the Multi-Project is created, the next step is to communicate it correctly. I insist correctly because communicating an artistic project must be done differently from that of another product or commercial service. In the case of artistic projects, we will refer to communicating “artistic narrative”. An appropriate artistic narrative is essential for the sustainable development of the arts.

Defining the artistic project to potential collaborators or clients is the first action that organizations or cultural structures do when they want to access the circuits or markets. When a person or organization wants to know the project, the first thing they need is a definition, as synthetic and accurate as possible. If they come from a different country or cultural environment, efforts to “narrate” the project must be even more rigorous.

The artistic narrative consists of answering, in a singular way, the questions: what are we? what do we do? why do we do it? How do we do it? what do we offer? And what is our trajectory and recognition? Basic questions that allow organizations and artists to arrive at the synthesis of their projects, in order to present them in a singular and unique way. In the publication "building the artistic narrative for mobility" we highlight the steps to follow for its definition.



The third determining factor for the sustainable development of the arts is the capacity to transform projects and organizations. If at the beginning we talked about having a Multi-Project according to the abilities and talents. Then, communicate it differently. Now it's time to be able to transform it when circumstances require it.

The transformation capacity is linked to the ease of reorienting the activity towards roads in which greater effectiveness can be obtained. Be flexible enough to adapt the activity to changing circumstances. Being able to dialogue and cooperate with external partners to achieve satisfactory results for all parties. This ability to transform and adapt is known as "resilience." In short, in the creation and artistic support, you can have a high level of resilience without giving up aesthetic or ideological lines and languages.

Examples of resilience are seen continuously. When a co-production between different partners is discussed. Also, in the realization of collaborative projects. When an artistic direction or curator proposes the adaptation of artistic creations to spaces, audiences or themed festivals.



Finally, to maintain a sustainable development, it is necessary to explore and open up to new circuits and markets. Expand the geographical scope in which you usually work, to new and unknown ones. Leave the comfort of the near, to look for opportunities beyond. Open to circuits, but also open the mind to new ideas and possibilities. Look for them and find them wherever they are, anywhere in the world.

Taking artistic mobility into account as a pillar of sustainability means that the projects we design can easily move and circulate around the world. It also means having an organization that supports them, ready to operate and interact with people from different cultures and languages. Having the capacity to generate projects in partnership with these people from different cultures and languages. To think that the funds to finance the projects and the organization can not only come from nearby institutions but there is unknown funding in other parts of the world.

Conclusion, if your goal as an artist and arts organization is to last over time and get out of precariousness, try what has been said:


  1. Define your multi-project
  2. Build your artistic story
  3. Be resilient
  4. Be mobile


These are four pillars on which the sustainability of artistic projects and organizations rests. Four pillars to support yourself and make sure you move on.