When dilettantism rose in the 18th century, it was an expression of investigative curiosity and creative passion beyond the existing scientific canon. The innovative drive of dilettantes was soon afterwards belittled by the establishment and disappeared into the equation dilettante = charlatan, used until today. The pioneering spirit of dilettantism, however, re-materialized in the professional amateur (pro-am), a societal character that turns ideas and hobbies into activities of quasi-professional standard. Especially in the arts, pro-ams are numerous and carry a significant potential for social participation and innovation. This essay reflects on how cultural managers could take a role in recognizing, promoting and fostering the pro-am potential in the arts and in society.