Scratching the surface of urban change: Art collectives as public entrepreneurs

Valeria Morea*, Carolina Dalla Chiesa

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article examines art collectives in Venice that use their artistic and cultural projects to act as public entrepreneurs seeking to improve urban welfare and elicit social change for reasons of societal betterment. These ventures are developed against a backdrop of ongoing socio-economic challenges arising from exploitative tourism in the city. Interviews with some art collective members revealed that: (1) their local rootedness is shaped by issues of gentrification and a search for a city that benefits all; (2) their core values are translated into artistic propositions addressing local demands and institutional voids and (3) their private goals have a public-service background. Our study unveils a unique type of entrepreneur that mediates local demands but has no significant impact at the policy level, thus only scratching the surface of institutional change. This insight contributes to our understanding of artists as public entrepreneurs who, despite their use of activist language channelling public demands, are constrained by the very institutional voids they seek to close.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-89
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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© The Author(s) 2023.

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