The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arts Business Competition encourages new thinking and innovative ideas. The campus-wide competition provides support for student-driven projects. Entrants develop and submit a detailed proposal for an arts event, exhibition, series, commercial venture, or other artistic project.
Proposals should demonstrate creativity, innovation, added value to the arts, and potential for success. Past winning projects include a public art collaboration, a clothing line, and a 3-D printed saxophone mouthpiece. Submissions for the 2021 Arts Business Competition are now closed.
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 are evaluated in a preliminary online round by a panel of judges.
Three student proposals participated in the final round, presented online on Friday, April 23 from noon – 2:00 p.m. Finalists were judged on both a written plan and an oral presentation. The top three proposals receive funding of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 in support of their projects. New for 2021 – a supplemental Audience Choice award of $500! Thank you to the McBurney Disability Resource Center for providing live captions.
Awards may impact financial aid distribution. The Division of the Arts is the presenter of the Arts Business Competition with support from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration. Funding for the Arts Business Competition is provided by the Anonymous Fund.
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Funds to produce your arts project during the 2021-22 academic year (ideally in Madison) will be awarded as follows:
First Prize: $2,000*
Second Prize: $1,000*
Third Prize: $500*
Audience Choice Prize (supplemental): $500*
*Prize money may be taxable. Entrants should consult a tax advisor. Awards may impact financial aid distribution. Funding for the Arts Business Competition is provided by the Anonymous Fund.
Proposals due: Monday, March 8, 2021 by noon CST. All proposals must be submitted electronically.
Finalists announced: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Finalists and Arts Business Competition online mentoring meeting: Tuesday, April 6 – Friday, April 9, 2021. Time and day TBD.
Finals: Friday, April 23, 2021 from noon – 2:00 pm online. This event will be accessible and live captions will be provided.
Recognition at the Creative Arts Awards: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 5:00 p.m..
What to Submit
An Arts Business Competition Plan that includes:
- Cover Page
The Cover Page should include the name of your project, the names of your team members, the date, the name of the competition, and an image or graphic element related to your project.
- Table of Contents
The Table of Contents should list section titles along with their corresponding page numbers.
- Executive Summary
This is an overview of your project in 300 words or less. The Executive Summary is a place to answer three questions: Who are you (or your organization)? What do you do (or want to do)? Why does it matter (community impact)?
- Project Plan
Use this section to provide details on the project, such as what you’d like to do and the steps that you’ll need to complete to make it happen.You should consider including 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?
- 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.
- Audience Analysis
Who is going to your event and why will they come?
Why do you think that there is a need for it (even if you are inventing the need)?
How do you plan to reach your audience and what innovative, effective, and cheap or free tools can you use to reach your audience?
Will you take out any ad space? Any ideas of which outlets?
Will you print flyers or anything else?
Is postage involved? Bulk mail? Email newsletters, social media, etc.?
- Key Personnel
Provide names and bios (75-100 words) for the up to three key people on your team. You may also include résumés in the Work Sample.
Only the lead person on the project has to be a full-time UW–Madison student.
Assisting artists and bios of those assisting artists (like orchestra or cast members) or personnel do not have to be named but you may choose to provide a brief description of the other positions/people that will be integral to your success.
- Financial Plan/Budget
Create a table/spreadsheet with your expenses and your expected revenues with at least three columns (name of the item, how much, and notes if needed). What are the expenses related to this project?
Are you paying people? How much and for what work/positions?
Are you renting space? Where and how much does it cost?
Do you need any equipment or materials?
If your expenses are more than your revenue, please indicate other sources of funding to make sure you have positive cash flow.What are the potential revenues for your project?
Are you selling tickets/registrations/admissions and, if so, at what price and what is your expected audience?
Are you applying for grants and if so, which ones do you have in mind?
Will you be receiving any in-kind donations of goods or services that you won’t have to pay for? If so, what items, where are you getting them, and what is their value?
Are there any other sources of revenue?
What are your challenges now and what do you foresee your challenges will be over the course of the project?
- Recent Work Sample:
This is your chance to share examples of your work. You can include high resolution images and photos; links where judges can access sound, video, photo files, or portfolio materials; or a DVD or CD.
- Group Photograph (finalists only)
Please also include a picture of your team (for media purposes).
Proposals (excluding the Cover Page, Table of Contents, and attachments) should be between 6-10 (maximum) pages, with a minimum font size of 10. Make sure to include section titles and page numbers on all pages of your proposal.
All applications for 2021 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
Previous finalist groups are willing to share their successful proposals in order to improve your chances of success! Please feel free to use the below proposal samples for reference as you draft your own submissions. Note that some of these proposals were submitted with different formatting and consideration for their specific years. Reference above for all the required elements for this year:
- LunART Festival (PDF), courtesy of Iva Ugrcic (2018)
- Mira…Indigenous Lives Through Indigenous Eyes (PDF), courtesy of Ligia Lopez (2016)
- Sound Out Loud Ensemble (PDF), courtesy of Satoko Hayami (2016)
- Artworking’s Boom! Snap! Clap! Holiday Pop-Up Shop (PDF), courtesy of Jeremy Nuttall (2016)
- A New Approach to the Design and Manufacturing of Saxophone Mouthpieces (PDF), courtesy of Alexander Buehler (2015)
- An Alternative Odyssey: Stories from Behind the Walls (PDF), courtesy of José Vergara (2015)
Note: Participants’ contact information has been removed from their proposals.
- 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 2022.
- Please note: There are two dates that finalists must be available for: Final Presentation and the Awards in the Creative Arts.
Three independent judges review the proposals and choose three finalists. They will attend the competition finals and choose the first, second, and third place winning proposals. The UW–Madison Arts Business Competition reserves the right not to select a winner.
The 2021 Arts Business Competition judging panel includes Dr. Iva Ugrcic (LunART Festival), Amber H. H. Porter (American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact), and Sam Rikkers (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation).
Instructions for Proposal Submission
Please see below for two options on submitting your proposals.
Option 2 – Submit via email.
- Compose an email titled “ABC Proposal” to the following email address: 2021_Ar.email@example.com
- Leave the email message blank, and attach application files.
- Attached application files must be labeled according to the following format:
- Project Name, Name of Document, Number in Series
- For example:
- After attaching all appropriate files for a complete submission as outlined above, click send.
- If your application files are too large to send in one email, feel free to send multiple emails to the above address in order to complete your submission, or try using the form above.
- If one file is just too large to send via email, please contact Heather Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org for further instructions.
- You will receive an email from Box.com confirming a successful upload for each file submitted.
- Lastly, email Heather Owens at email@example.com, who will then confirm that we have received your complete submission; be sure to include your project name and the number of files you have submitted. Note: Heather will not be checking emails from March 5 – 7.
- We always recommend to submit your proposal earlier just in case there are technical difficulties.
Deadline for all proposals is Monday, March 8, 2021 by noon CST.
LunART Festival gained invaluable experience from participating in the Arts Business Competition! Besides receiving a strong financial foundation necessary for the realization of the project and meeting inspirational and creative peers, working with judges as leaders in the community helped us gain a better understanding of the industry and its best practices, refine our goals, and expand our reach in the community. Thank you for helping us make our dream a reality!Iva Ugrcic of LunART Festival, 2018 ABC Finalist
Below is a list of 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 applicants.
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1st Prize & Audience Choice
Trade Winds Ensemble – Midori Samson, Doctor of Musical Arts, Music: Performance
Trade Winds Ensemble is a group of teaching artists who offer music composition workshops for children in partnership with social impact organizations worldwide. They create innovative curricula, which integrates music and social work principles.
Atelier Unlimited – James Harrington, Doctor of Musical Arts, Music: Performance
Atelier Unlimited is a creative agency dedicated to equipping artists with the information and skills required to evolve their artistry, expand their influence and create unique productions in live and virtual spaces.
(Hi)Storytellers Breaking Borders – Grace Pimentel Simbulan, M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies, Gioconda Coello, Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, and Kassim Hussein Rajab, Congolese leader of Madison Refugee Union
(Hi)Storytellers Breaking Borders is a space for the reflective art of five African refugees who discuss the concerns and beauty of the worlds they make in diaspora. Their stories include photography, voice recordings and creative writing and will be curated in a virtual gallery.
Emeka – Tiffany Ike – B.A. Communication Arts and Certificate in Leadership (May 2019)
An online multimedia quarterly literary magazine that celebrates storytelling by women of color. Four written submissions will be reinterpreted through photography and one submission will be adapted into a film.
Clay It By Ear – Johnny Yan – B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Certificate in Studio Art (May 2019)
An interactive exhibition featuring functional musical instruments made out of ceramics. Exhibition goers will have the opportunity to interact and play the instruments.
I Am Here – Emily Her – B.B.A. Marketing and Certificate in Asian American Studies (May 2021) and Katie Chong – B.B.A. Finance and Certificate in Spanish and Development Economics (May 2021)
A brand that creates original designs to facilitate discussions about problems that marginalized groups within the U.S. face and to help ease tensions between different communities.
Gaining STEAM! – Khoa A. Tran, Bayleigh E. Benner, and Holly Walter Kirby
A project teaching scientists how to convey their research through stories, including through comics. Additional participants will include graduate students and community artists.
LunART Festival – Dr. Iva Urgcic, Kyle Johnson, and Satoko Hayami
LunART Festival’s mission is to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration as they navigate gender imbalance in artistic fields. There will be over 30 individuals involved in planning and performing in the festival held in Madison in late June 2018.
OFF THE WALL – Simone Doing and Max Puchalsky
OFF THE WALL is a nighttime, outdoor screening series of contemporary video art from a wide range of artists at various points in their careers, shown in Madison in August 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
UPDATE: Artists in Absentia exhibit was held at local public libraries beginning March 3, 2016. 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!
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
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.
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
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
Loading Zone: Visual Art Pop Up Gallery – Darian Pearlmutter and Kelsey Wenberg
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
New Music Everywhere Festival – Paola Savvidou, Jerry Hui and Jonathan Kuuskoski
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
Ephemeral Art – Janelle Bentley and Shelby Sonnenberg
Flashmob dance events across campus celebrating the 100th anniversary of the UW–Madison Dance Department
Music Rx – Mary Perkinson
Evolved into SOUND HEALTH, innovative music project using UW–Madison musicians to play concerts in UW Children’s Hospital
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.
Hip-hop Fashion Show