How The New Museum’s Lisa Phillips Is Making Entrepreneurship Into An Art Form

How The New Museum’s Lisa Phillips Is Making Entrepreneurship Into An Art Form
Mixed media: LIsa Phillips hopes to provide space for “practitioners who are working across fields, who are working in a hybrid way.” [Photo by ioulex]

This month, New York’s New Museum will launch an unusual incubator, called New Inc., that’s designed to nurture businesses at the intersection of art, design, and technology. New Museum director Lisa Phillips explains how the program came to be.

The problem

According to a report from the Center for an Urban Future, less than half of New York’s art- and design-school grads say they received any business training as part of their degree, and even those with readily marketable ideas can have trouble monetizing their skills.

The epiphany

Says Phillips, “At a Seven on Seven conference”–an event the New Museum cohosts, in which artists and developers create digital projects–“I realized there are great ideas coming out of these sessions. Why not curate a com­munity that would be doing this all the time?”

The execution

Creators Project editor (and Fast Company contributor) Julia Kaganskiy came on to run New Inc., and the program quickly attracted interest. “People with sophisticated accomplishments were quitting jobs to pursue these projects,” Phillips says. “We didn’t expect that.”

The result

The incubator will have 40 full-time and 40 part-time members, all of whom will have access to shared office, studio, and workshop space. “We want to learn from this community as well,” says Phillips. “We’re a very future-directed place.”JG