If you are joining us for Harvest Summit Friday, October 20 you also have exclusive access to experience the Green Music Center the evening after on Saturday, October 21. Seats are limited and can be purchased here with the code GREENMUSICVIP. Great cause, awesome wine, beautiful music.
We share below our conversation with Green Music executive director Jacob Yarrow on the marriage of music and innovation and integrating the arts into both an academic and greater regional community at large. Yarrow plays jazz and classical saxophone and started his career as a junior high music teacher and touring musician.
What does innovation in the arts mean to you?
It means listening to artists. Artists have innovation at their core. The artistic process combines deep research with iteration, inspiration, and collaboration. The connections and insights that grow out of that process lead to a better understanding of the world. One of the important roles we play at the Green Music Center is supporting artists. We ask what they want to do and how we can help.
What other industries do you look to for inspiration or collaborative ideas?
I find inspiration from other parts of the non-profit sector and social service organizations. They generally do a great job building equitable relationships with each other and their constituents, which leads to deep engagement with their work. It’s inspiring to see organizations making a deep impact in partnership with their communities.
Since joining the Green Music Center earlier this year, how are you approaching the task of integrating the premier music venue into the academic life and cultural needs of the community?
I’ve been focused on learning about our vibrant campus and cultural communities. As a university performing arts presenter, we curate performances and artist projects in collaboration with our communities so it’s imperative for us to learn about what matters in our region and how to connect with those conversations. The most compelling projects will emerge at the intersection of fascinating artists and community interests.
What are the cultural similarities or differences between the University of Iowa and Sonoma State University where the Green Music Center is located?
Both UI and SSU are leading public institutions that have enormous impacts on their regions, and they both have leading performing arts centers. The UI center has been there for 45 years and has a more established approach. The Green Music Center is starting on our sixth year so there’s more of a startup mentality and room for experimentation.
What’s your take on the state of the arts today?
There are so many remarkable artists that are making interesting work. They are combining forms, genres, ideas, and culture traditions from around the globe in authentic and thoughtful ways. Artists have always been innovators and they excel at asking important questions that lead to insight. We would be well-served to look to artists for leadership.