Module: From Musician to Music District Director

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Start: December 4, 2017 5:30 PM

End: 8:00 PM

Organizer: Haley Carlson

Phone: N/A


Venue: University Center for the Arts, Room 142

Address: 1400 Remington Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524

Jesse Elliott

Director of The Music District

UCA 142

The Music District brings together the art, business, and community of one of humanity’s longest-standing sources of inspiration, communication, and collaboration.  Equal parts creative laboratory, industry incubator, and town hall, the 57,000 square foot campus serves as a bridge between city and university, mountains and plains, in the free-wheeling innovation cauldron of Fort Collins, Colorado.  Touring artists, scrappy start-ups, seasoned technologists, global scholars, forward-thinking investors, and the hungriest music fans in the country will all find a home at the Music District.  Seeded by Bohemian Foundation, which also puts its love, money, and people into other community, civic, and global causes, they will then bring that home to the wider world.  Great songs, companies who care, and a commitment to the social fabric that makes life worth living are all at the heart of the District’s ambitious mission.

Elliott, Director of the Music District, is a lifelong champion of collaborative creative efforts, social entrepreneurship, and the power of music and storytelling.  He is the founder and songwriter of two rock and roll bands, These United States and Ark Life, who have released 6 albums and performed live 1,200 times in the last decade, from SXSW and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and your favorite local dive. Before music recaptured his heart, Elliott wrote books and speeches with economist Richard Florida, co-founded a community nonprofit at the University of Iowa, helped shoot a documentary on water rights in southern Mexico and Guatemala, and ran an Italian deli on the Jersey Shore.  With his company Range Music Ecosystems, Elliott and his co-founder Dr. Bryce Merrill researched and wrote the music strategies for the City of Denver and the State of Colorado, and brought together international thinkers on music and community for the City of Austin, the Biennial of the Americas, and others.

Variations on a Team:  Music, Inspiration, and Organization (module description)

How to go from a touring rock and roll band to an arts leadership position in 147 easy steps.

Indeed, it’s a long way to the top, if you want to rock and roll.  It’s also a long way to the top if you want to manage an arts organization.  Jesse Elliott has never been to the top of either of these worlds, but he promises to let you know if he ever gets there.  In the meantime, Elliott will share working- and middle-class insights on the commonalities and differences between running full-time touring bands, scrappy entrepreneurial start-ups, and arts organizations such as the Music District.  The basic elements cut across categories: get great people, create real meaning, try to make whatever difference you believe in, and figure the most strategic ways to tie all these things together.  This module will (heartfeltedly!) feature evergreen buzzwords such as “vision,” “innovation,” “leadership,” “teamwork,” “diversity,” “elbow grease,” and “Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem.”