Most of the articles and books regarding project management focus on its application in the field of industry or public administration. Only a few article and books focus on the application of project management in the field of arts and crafts. However, the artists often call their activities “projects”, the creation of artefacts as well as the exhibition associated with it. What is special about projects in this field? Projects are inherent innovative and creative, exploring the imagination of artist and audience, finding the right balance between both parties. Often the artist struggles with limited (financial) resources, which does not mean a limitation in possibilities per se. Limited resources are a source for creativity and ingenuity, something that we often forget in our industrial application of project management. Project management in the field of arts and crafts is not using specific standards, it´s rather “free style” focusing on deadlines, the budget limitations and the audience´s expectations. The latter is also very interesting, as an artist does not really know, what the audiences likes or dislikes. In industrial projects we try to derive the requirements from our customers as detailed and precise as possible. In the field of arts and crafts you do it in a revers way, creating an artefact that “resonates” with peoples´ imaginations.
A good example is the 9th Sculptures Trail in my hometown Friedberg From September 18 through October 30 people can walk along a trail through the town and experience 73 sculptures, objects and installations that were created by 55 artists. The motto of the trail “Town of Kids and Arts”, displaying different kinds of sculptures, raising awareness of artists in the region and allowing to start a dialogue with them. The project is mainly building on voluntary engagement, supported by the administration of the municipality. Main goal is to attract people to come and visit, to raise awareness regarding arts and crafts in the region and support local artists. The artists can display their art and get into a dialogue with the people, maybe potential customers at later stage. Friedberg benefits from the positive image the projects brings, it adds to an attractive programme of cultural events throughout the year.
All these considerations require a “lean” project management approach. Based on a Project Management Canvas, see the organisers and sponsor of such a project could define the basic aspects of the project such as purpose and goals, deliverables and scope, stakeholders and organisation, schedule, budget and other resources as well as risks and opportunities. It helps to achieve intended benefits of such a project in a more predictable manner. Project management and arts and crafts are mutually beneficial. The project management profession (mainly focusing on industrial application) can learn from the arts and crafts about creativity and flexibility, the artists can learn from the project management profession how to structure their projects better.