Aesthetic Leadership and Organizational Symbolism Experienced at the Paintbrush Factory in Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Keywords:organizational symbolism, organizational aesthetics, the Paintbrush Factory, aesthetic leadership
The study of organizational symbolism in the 1980s brought into discussion aspects referring to the image, the sentiments, and the representative values of an organization, pointing to an aesthetic sensibility that can generate meaning. This paper is part of a larger endeavor that examines the latest developments of the methodological models pertaining to organizational aesthetics. Starting from the categories of research in the field of organizational aesthetics proposed by Taylor and Hansen in 2005, I attempt to analyze an art space phenomenon, the Paintbrush Factory in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (2009–22). I focused on aspects of aesthetic leadership and the day-to-day experience of those involved in Paintbrush Factory, especially at the peak of its existence (2009–13), with the aim of finding an appropriate methodological model for research such a complex enterprise as well as to discover lessons that can be learned in terms of its impact and legacy.
The Paintbrush Factory brought a memory of the past to light (through the conversion of a communist space), acquiring an exemplary role in contemporary art (through the type of network developed by this spontaneous, contextual space). The presence of individuals (involved in the management of this art space, artists, or participants in events) was observed in light of the “intelligence of the feeling” and of various symbolic effects. Thus, the Paintbrush Factory is an example of the transformations undergone by an industrial space, which became a creative model of cultural management, a cultural brand with a unique mode of organization: a federation.
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