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Creative Entrepreneurs

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Improving the opportunity landscape for independent artists in San Jose.

Creative Entrepreneurs is a City initiative, led by the Office of Cultural Affairs, to improve the San Jose opportunity landscape for independent artists, regardless of the arts field in which they're grounded.

Launched as the Creative Entrepreneur Project in 2008, the initiative paired the resources and goals of the OCA with the expertise and resources of the Center for Cultural Innovation to better understand the career ambitions and needs of artists and the hurdles they faced as individual actors in the Silicon Valley economy.

Together CCI and OCA embarked on a year-long journey of discovery that drew on sharp minds in San Jose and elsewhere in the country to guide the initiative and undertake the City's largest effort to date to communicate with visual artists, designers and architects, composers and musicians, choreographers and dancers, film and video-makers and other media artists, writers and theater artists, and others; test concepts; deliberate on findings; and deliver strategic recommendations for the City and other potential players to consider.

In the spring of 2009, the CEP partners wrapped up the discovery phase of the initiative with a report of the activities undertaken, the findings of the project, and a set of six key recommendations that could serve as a strategic foundation for altering the opportunity landscape for independent artists in San Jose.


  • Create new or expanded web-based resources for San Jose artists.
  • Continue to convene artists at a Town Hall or in conjunction with larger arts community events.
  • Continue to offer training to artists through CCI’s Business of Art™, or other knowledge-building programs offered through arts service organizations or the City’s Public Art or Workforce Development programs.
  • Investigate the creation of, or contributions to, a “Creative Capacity Fund” to support artist fellowships, provide professional development scholarships, and/or technical assistance programs for artists in San Joseì.
  • Investigate a wide range of public/private artists’ space initiatives that would identify and promote many types of available space for live, work, presentation and commercial activity.
  • Explore the creation of an “Innovation Institute” as an arts education initiative that is geared towards business executives to help catalyze creativity and innovation in San Joseì.

The Creative Industries Incentive Fund
We are pleased to announce the Creative Industries Incentive Fund (CIIF). The CIIF provides project support to arts-rooted businesses involved in the production and distribution of the arts. Incentive awards can be provided for creative industries of all types such as manufacturers, service providers, presenters, and designers, among others. The CIIF seeks to support projects aimed at building successful small businesses in San Jose that demonstrate community support, marketability, growth and economic sustanability. The CIIF is administered by the Center for Cultural Innovation. For complete details, please visit Creative Industries Incentive Fund.

Professional Development Support for Artists and Organizations Individual artists (all arts/art design forms) and arts groups in San Jose now have access to a new source of funding for professional development activities. The Creative Capacity Fund is a field-building initiative designed to support a broad range of training and peer learning opportunities for arts professionals. CCF is a joint program of the San Francisco Arts Commission, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The San Francisco Foundation and, recently, the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs. OCA's support opens the program to qualifying independent artists living or working in San Jose, as well as to San Jose arts organizations. The Creative Capacity Fund is administered by the Center for Cultural Innovation. For more information and eligibility requirements, go to

Resources for Creative Entrepreneurs
Platform: Building Networks to Catalyze Creative Urban Culture
Business Owner Space dot com: San Jose-Silicon Valley's one-stop resource for entrepreneurs and businesses
Creative Capacity Fund: Support for professional development
Creative Work Fund: Project support for independent artists collaborating with organizations

About Creative Entrepreneur Project (discovery phase) PDF
CEP Final Report PDF 3.25MB
CEP Final Report Executive Summary PDF
CEP Final Report Appendices—Part One PDF 4MB
CEP Final Report Appendices—Part Two A PDF 1.9MB
CEP Final Report Appendices—Part Two B PDF 2.8MB
CEP Final Report Appendices—Part Two C PDF 2.3MB
CEP Final Report Appendices—Part Three PDF 1.5MB

Resources for Independent Artists
CEP Resource List PDF


Last Modified: 05.06.14