Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast: Making Art Work Debuts

Elizabeth Dale

A new podcast, Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast: Making Art Work, with Nick Petrella and Andy Heise, recently made its debut. The series “shares how entrepreneurs in the arts align their artistry, passion, vision, and are ‘making art work’ for them,” and features interviews from all art forms offering insight for those interested in participating in different art fields.

The hosts, Petrella and Heise, utilize their professional experience to curate exciting and engaging conversation within each episode. Petrella is part of the Conservatory faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he teaches courses in Arts Entrepreneurship as well as coordinates the percussion program. Petrella also offers experience directly from the music products industry, having worked previously at the Director of Education for SABIAN Ltd. (2000 to 2019). Heise is the managing director of the Regnier Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, an assistant professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an adjunct instructor in the Entrepreneurial Studies Minor at Kansas City Art Institute.

We recently discussed the new project with Petrella and Heise.

What motivated you to start the podcast?

We’ve been team-teaching arts entrepreneurship courses at the University of Missouri Kansas City for four years, and we thought about writing a book to compile information gleaned from those working and making a living in all art forms, but ultimately decided on a podcast. We think it’s a great way to offer educational and entertaining content that’s relevant, current, and most importantly, accessible to anyone who has an interest in some aspect of the arts economy. Access is key to growing the number of arts participants and audiences, so it was very rewarding to see our first three episodes downloaded in the U.S. and nine other countries. 

The target audience seems to be young people looking to make a career in the arts, but do you foresee the audience going beyond this?

Yes, we see our audience in three parts: our primary audience is comprised of anyone looking to pursue their passion in some aspect of the arts economy; educators using our content for courses in arts entrepreneurship or music business; and a smaller segment is comprised of patrons who want to know more about what goes into making and distributing art. We feel it's important for all in the arts to cultivate and develop more arts participants and audiences, and as your members know, an informed customer base encourages everyone to up their game.

Why is it so extremely vital for people to pursue careers in the arts?

Artists and those who make up the arts ecosystem view the world through a different lens, and there should be an outlet for those creatives to thrive and contribute to the arts economy by pursuing their passions. NAMM does a fantastic job promoting and advocating for music-making—specifically all the work Mary Luehrsen and her team do in policy and education, and we are taking a broader approach by incorporating all the arts because the more people pulling in the same direction, the greater the impact we will have. We just started collaborating with the Arts Council of Johnson County and Arts KC, our regional arts councils, to help amplify each other’s message. They provide detailed data on the impact the arts have on the economy in the greater Kansas City region. By inference, there would be a similar impact in other regions. Data can be found here:

Do you have any advice for anyone who may be passionate about a career in the arts but is reluctant to leap?

Just start! There’s a common belief that a new venture needs a detailed business plan to launch, but in reality, nearly every entrepreneur we’ve spoken with didn’t start with a business plan. Yes, you’ll need one to raise capital or to apply for a small business loan, but for young people, especially now with the tumult of the pandemic and advances in technology, the barriers to entry have been lowered in a variety of sectors such as performing, publishing, services, etc. So ironically, it’s a great time to start. 

Can you give our readers a sneak peek of any upcoming episodes?

In early 2021, we’ll feature saxophonist Jeff Coffin of the Dave Matthews Band and entrepreneur/musician Jody Espina, founder of JodyJazz. Readers can sign up for our newsletter at to be kept informed of each podcast release. 

Arts Entrepreneurship Podcast: Making Art Work has three episodes to date, “#101: Bobby Watson,” “#102: Angela Gieras,” and “#103: Joseph Gramley” and releases new content every other Monday until the end of the year. In 2021, new episodes are scheduled to debut every Monday. Episodes can be heard at or anywhere podcasts are available.