University of Wisconsin–Madison

Arts Business Competition

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arts Business Competition is a campus-wide competition to encourage new thinking and innovative ideas. Entrants will develop and submit a thorough proposal for an arts event, exhibition, series, commercial venture, or other artistic projects.

Proposals should demonstrate creativity, innovation, added value to the arts, and potential for success. In addition to exhibitions and performances, past winning projects include a public art collaboration, an educational workshop, an online community, a clothing line, and a new product for musicians.

The winner will be able to present his or her event or exhibition to the public or even launch a new entrepreneurial venture.

Entries may be from individuals or from teams of up to three. The lead team member must be a full-time UW–Madison student.

All proposals will be evaluated in a preliminary online round by a panel of judges.

Three student proposals will be invited to participate in the final round, where each proposal will be evaluated on both the written plan and an oral presentation.

  • Awards

    Funds to produce your arts project during the 2017-18 academic year in Madison will be awarded as follows:

    First Prize: $2,000*

    Second Prize: $1,000*

    Third Prize: $500*

    *Prize money may be taxable. Entrants should consult a tax advisor.

  • Timeline

    Proposals due: Thursday, March 1, 2018 by 11:59 pm. All proposals must be submitted electronically.

    Finalists announced: Monday, April 2, 2018

    Finals: Friday, April 27, 2018, time TBA. Free and open to the public.

    Recognition at the Creative Arts Awards: Tuesday, May 8, 2018

  • What to Submit

    A venture plan that includes:

    • Executive Summary
      This is an overview of your project, in 750 words or less. Say what you want to do, the general time frame for your project, whom you will be working with, why you think it’s important, how you’re going to get the word out, and what kind of impact it will have on the university and/or community. Please also include how you heard about the New Arts Venture Challenge: flier, website, email, faculty, word of mouth, etc.
    • Event or Exhibition Plan
      Please include any of the following:
      What is the actual production plan?
      What facilities or city agencies might be involved?
      Who do you need to partner with to make your project happen?
      What kind of equipment do you need and how will you get it?
      What are your current resources and opportunities?
      How will you integrate these elements into your project?
    • Audience Analysis
      Who is going to your event and why will they come?
      Why do you think that there is there a need for it (even if you are inventing the need)?
    • Timeline for your project, including planning and implementation
      Have you started your project already?  What’s happened so far?
      Depending on the length of your project, provide a monthly plan from the start of the project to the completion of the project.
    • Key Personnel (just the key people on YOUR team, up to three total people) – include bios or CV’s of all key personnel
      Only the LEAD person on the project has to be a full-time UW-Madison student
      Assisting artists and numbers of those assisting artists (like orchestra or cast members) numbers of personnel and their jobs do not have to be named.
    • Financial Plan/Budget (List income, expenses, and explanation – no spread sheets necessary)
      Are you paying people? How much?
      Are you renting space? How much does it cost? How many alternatives do you have?
      How much income do you expect to have and how will you get it?
      Are you applying for other grants?
      What are ticket prices, if any?
      How about in-kind donations? A lot of arts events are created through great in-kind donations.
    • Marketing:
      How do you plan to reach your audience and what innovative, cheap, effective (i.e. free) tools can you use to reach your audience? Will you be taking out any ad space? Will you be printing flyers or anything else? Is postage involved? Bulk mail? Email newsletters, social media, etc?
    • Troubleshooting:
      What are your challenges now and what do you foresee your challenges will be over the course of the project?
    • Recent Work Sample:
      DVD, CD, Portfolio, etc.
    • Group Photograph
      Please also include a picture of your team (for media purposes)

    Applications (excluding attachments) should not exceed 6 pages, with a minimum point size of 10.

    All applications for 2018 will be submitted online only.

    Successful applicants will submit a report by the conclusion of their project detailing:

    • What the completed project entailed
    • How many people attended the event(s)
    • Links to press coverage
    • Plans for future projects
  • Inspiration from Past Proposals

    Finalists from the 2015, 2016, and 2017 New Arts Venture Challenge are willing to share their successful proposals in order to improve your changes of success! Please feel free to use the below proposal samples for reference as you draft your own submissions:

    Note: Participants’ contact information has been removed from their proposals.

  • Eligibility
    • The contest is open to all students who are enrolled full-time in a UW–Madison degree program and are in good academic standing.
    • Entries can be submitted by individuals or teams of up to three members (supporting team members are not required to be full-time UW–Madison students).
    • Proposals must be of original work.
    • Proposals will be returned to all entrants with comments and suggestions from the judges.
    • The winning proposal’s event/exhibition/project must be presented to the community no later than May 2018.
    • Please note: There are two dates that finalists must be available for: Final Presentation (April 27, 2018) and the Awards in the Creative Arts (May 8, 2018).
  • Judging

    Four independent judges will review the proposals and choose three finalists. They will attend the competition finals and choose the first, second, and third place winning proposals.

    • Judges will be selected from Arts Institute affiliated faculty and staff and prominent members of the professional arts and business community.
    • The UW–Madison Arts Business Competition reserves the right not to select a winner.
  • Instructions for Proposal Submission

    Thank you for your interest! Submissions for the 2018 Arts Business Competition will open November 2018. Please check back then for more details.

"New Arts Venture Challenge was very instrumental to the formation of CrowdArt, and we were able to incorporate and grow directly out of participation in that competition. We learned a great deal from refining our pitch to the judges, as well as met some great people working in the Madison community."

Chun-See Tsao of CrowdArt, 2014 NAVC Finalist

Previous Finalists

Below is a list of New Arts Venture Challenge finalists from previous years, dating back to 2009. Many projects have been successful. Some finalists’ successful applications are available for use as reference for future NAVC applicants.

  • 2017 Finalists
    View more photos on SmugMug by clicking here.

    1st Prize

    Art En Route – Yusi Liu and Alexandra Polach
    Connecting literary works with visual art on public transportation. Creative writers and visual artists will collaborate to create unique commissioned works of art which will be photographed and then printed on exterior wraps on Madison Metro Transit buses. Original works will also be shown in an exhibition.

    2nd Prizes

    Cosmos – Kai Rasmussen
    Clothing line that connects scientific research, flowers, space flight and art. The socially responsible fashion line will also come with a note that explains certain aspects of spaceflight and astrobotany.

    Sample proposal courtesy of Kai Rasmussen

    Makers and Their Tools: Tharu People – Julia Fillingame, Luisa Fernanda Garcia-Gomez, Erin E. Tenderholt
    Traveling exhibition featuring an indigenous group in Nepal with their stories and cultural crafts presented through an artistic lens. Artisan products will also be available for sale during the exhibition.

    NO EXIT – Brittany Graham, John P. Drescher, Sruthi Suresan
    Avant-garde audience-centered theatrical experience based on the play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. Audience members will find themselves going through an immersive ‘hell’ via various mental and physical experiences.

  • 2016 Finalists
    View more photos on SmugMug by clicking here.

    1st Prize

    Mira… Indigenous Lives Through Indigenous Eyes – Ligia Lopez, Gioconda Coello and Dr. Faisal Abdu’Allah
    Interactive traveling photographic exhibit curated by novice Maya teachers in Guatemala

    Sample proposal courtesy of Ligia Lopez

    2nd Prizes

    Environmental Art Series – Alexandra Lakind, Emili Earhart and Rob Lundberg
    Environmental art workshop and event series exploring the intersections between knowledge production and contemporary art

    Sound Out Loud Ensemble – Satoko Hayami, Kyle Johnson and Garrett Mendelow
    Create growing circle of  musicians and audiences to share the excitement of the innovative, contemporary language of newly/recently composed classical music through a series of creative concerts and presentations primarily in the city of Madison

    Sample proposal courtesy of Satoko Hayami

    Artworking’s Boom! Snap! Clap! Holiday Pop-Up Shop – Jeremy Nuttall, Lance Owens and Laura Falkenberg
    Holiday “Pop-Up” shop at Hilldale Mall, Madison, that will feature original art and handmade products produced by the artists at Artworking

    Sample proposal courtesy of Jeremy Nuttall

  • 2015 Finalists

    1st Prize

    A new approach to the design and manufacturing of saxophone mouthpieces, for unique tonal qualities – Alexander Buehler
    Design and manufacture saxophone mouthpieces using additive manufacturing through altering the internal geometries of the mouthpiece, giving more artistic liberties to saxophone players

    Sample proposal courtesy of Alexander Buehler

    2nd Prizes

    The Bellhops Blues and Hip Hop Record Project – Taylor Scott, Hiwot Adilow and Nathan France
    A recording project by the Bellhops, involving over 20 artists, many of whom are students and alumni of UW–Madison from diverse backgrounds

    UPDATE: Click here to check out “Hero of my Own Tale,” the finished product from the Bellhops that was funded by the New Arts Venture Challenge grant. Congratulations!

    Gravity Maker: A Contemporary Hub for Creative Wisconsinites – Sarah Woldt and Kathryn Weenig
    Building a network for Wisconsin artists and appreciators of the arts by offering coverage for arts initiatives, facilitating dialogue on the role of the arts and offering an engaging experience for its users.

    Shedding new light on neural activity – Samantha Dunn, Felipe Gutierrez and Nicholas Kjorlie
    An exhibit that facilitates interactive learning and discovery of the inner workings of the mind.

    An Alternative Odyssey: Stories from Behind the Walls – José Vergara, Megan Kennedy and Samantha Link
    Evolved into Artists in Absentia. Showcasing the creative work produced by the men who participate in Oakhill Prison Humanities Project through a public reading, a multimedia exhibition and a small publication.

    Sample proposal courtesy of Artists in Absentia

    UPDATE: Artists in Absentia exhibit was held at local public libraries beginning March 3, 2016. Read the press release or visit the website for more information.

    The exhibition was featured on the front page of the February 18 issue of Isthmus. Click here to read the story!

  • 2014 Finalists

    1st Prize

    Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra: 2014 Summer Concert Series – Mikko Utevsky, director and orchestra conductor
    Summer chamber orchestra for high school and college age musicians in Madison

    2nd Prizes

    CrowdArt – Dylan Shae Contois, Alex Faber and Chun-See Tsao
    Using the power of the crowd to commission original art

    Dream Collectors – Megan Marsh-McGlone, Andrew Salyer and Katrina Schaag
    Collecting oral dream histories in pop-up tents around Madison

    These Canoes Carry Culture – Marcus Cederström, Colin Connors and Thomas A. DuBois
    Building canoes with Native American master craftsman, Wayne Valliere, to preserve the tradition of birch bark canoe making and to connect American Indian students to their culture and language.

  • 2013 Finalists

    1st Prize

    Victorian Eyes: An Exhibit on “seeing” through Art, Literature, and Statistic – Frederic Boehm, Catherine De Rose and Carrie Roy
    View the website for their exhibition or read an update from UW Libraries from 2013. You can also follow their updates on Twitter @VictorianEyes

    2nd Prizes

    Clocks in Motion – Dave Alcorn, John Arnold, John Jeffrey Gibbens, Sean Kleve and Conuelo Sanudo
    Percussion ensemble that breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

    kinetic (aspect) – Kat Cameron and Henry Holmes
    Dance project using GoPro camera

    Cooking with Frank N. Foode – Karl Haro von Mogel, Ariela Haro von Mogel and German Mingramm Yarza
    Series of how-to cooking videos that will explain some of the science behind the foods we grow and eat

  • 2012 Finalists

    1st Prize

    Loading Zone: Visual Art Pop Up Gallery – Darian Pearlmutter and Kelsey Wenberg

    2nd Prizes

    Clocks in Motion – Dave Alcorn, John Arnold, Jeffrey Gibbens, Sean Kleve and Conuelo Sanudo
    Percussion ensemble that breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

    DEEP SONG by Classical Revolution – Andrea Kleesattel, Zou Zou Robidoux and Laura Weiner
    Adventurous concert exploring the meaning of being an American today

    ARTworks – Jordan Snider

    Bare Pursuit Theater – Kristen Hammargren
    Evolved into Theatre in All the Wrong Places, which specializes in small-scale professional theatre in unexpected places

  • 2011 Finalists

    1st Prize

    New Music Everywhere Festival – Paola Savvidou, Jerry Hui and Jonathan Kuuskoski

    2nd Prizes

    Classical Revolution – Andrea Kleesatel, Zou Zou Robidoux and Laura Weiner

    Haunt House – Kate Hewson, Marina Kelly and Liz Sexe
    A version of a traditional haunted house with a short, intimate guided performance responding to Virginia Woolf’s short story “A Haunted House.”

    Outdoor Collaborative Theater – Kristen Hammargren

  • 2010 Finalists

    1st Prize

    Ephemeral Art – Janelle Bentley and Shelby Sonnenberg
    Flashmob dance events across campus celebrating the 100th anniversary of the UW–Madison Dance Department

    2nd Prizes

    Music Rx – Mary Perkinson
    Evolved into SOUND HEALTH, innovative music project using UW–Madison musicians to play concerts in UW Children’s Hospital

  • 2009 Finalists

    1st Prize

    VIBES – Charlie Workinger and Rachel Felton
    In partnership with five Madison-area high schools and the UW–Madison School of Music, VIBES facilitated several events to promote small ensemble music. Through VIBES, UW student chamber musicians mentored and coached emerging high school chamber ensembles in order to revitalize chamber music for younger audiences.

    2nd Prizes

    Hip-hop Fashion Show