Arts Business Competition Final Presentations

Please RSVP to join us on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 starting at 3 p.m. CT in the Plenary Room inside Grainger Hall (975 University Avenue).

Immediately following the finals, please join us for an Arts Together reception. The reception offers time to interact with finalists, guests judges, faculty, students and staff, and learn more about the Bolz Center for Arts Administration and the interdisciplinary practice of arts business.

We hope you will join us to celebrate entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary collaboration.

RSVP now

2024 Finalists

Cornhusk Collective

Cornhusk Collective -founded by Giselle Oliva with guidance and support from Amber Cornelius- is an artist collective that supports artists, strengthens cultural ties, and contributes to the healing and vitality of The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Artists practicing traditional, hybrid, and contemporary art forms come together to
create. They connect in shared spaces to build community through art and design
opportunities that benefit the collective and community.

Madison Gamer Symphony Orchestra

The Madison Gamer Symphony Orchestra (MGSO) is an innovative initiative to rejuvenate symphonic music and bridge generational gaps through the transformative beauty of video game soundtracks performed by a professional symphony orchestra. Founded as a doctoral project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by Ben Carlee, MGSO aims to captivate diverse audiences with exceptional orchestral renditions of beloved gaming compositions.

Tufting with Tony

Tufting refers to a textile process in which a threaded needle pierces through a fabric to create loops or piles. Through social media platforms, artists showcase their tufted creations, share their processes, and connect with a global audience, thus allowing for significant growth in awareness and appreciation in the United States. Tony Sansalone has partnered with Wheelhouse Studios in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Union, with the intention to host and promote classes and workshops in the spring of 2024.

2024 Arts Business Competition Judges

Roxie Hentz headshot

Dr. Roxie Hentz

Position title: Founding Executive Director, CEOs of Tomorrow

Pronouns: she/her/hers

CEOs of Tomorrow

Brandon Hughes headshot

Brandon Hughes

Position title: Booking Agent & Founder, Revel Talent Alliance

Pronouns: he/him

Revel Talent Alliance

Helen Lee headshot

Helen Lee

Position title: Associate Professor of Glassworking, Art Department; Head, UW-Madison Glass Lab; Faculty Director, The Studio; Impact 2030 Helen Burish Faculty Fellow

Pronouns: she/they

Got a creative idea that needs funding? Enter the Arts Business Competition!

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, performance series, commercial venture, or other artistic project.

The Call for Proposals for the 2024 Arts Business Competition has closed.

How To Apply

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Funds to produce your arts project during the 2023-24 academic year (ideally in Madison) will be awarded as follows:

First Prize: $2,000*

Second Prize: $1,000*

Third Prize: $500*

Emerging Artist: up to $500**

*Prize money may be taxable. Entrants should consult a tax advisor. Awards may impact financial aid distribution.
**Finalists must be represented at the finals event on Wednesday, February 28, 2024.


Proposals due: Thursday, December 21, 2023 by 11:59 p.m. CT. All proposals must be submitted electronically.

Finalists notified: Monday, January 29, 2024

Finalists and Arts Business Competition online mentoring meeting: Monday, February 12 – Friday, February 16, 2024. Time and day TBD

Finals Presentation: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 from 3–4:30 p.m.

Recognition at the Creative Arts Awards: May 2024

What to Submit

An Arts Business Competition Plan includes (click to download a printable version of this list):

  • 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. You should also have a contact email for the team leader.
  • 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?
    How does this proposal support Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access initiatives?
  • 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)?
    If you’re producing an event, series, or exhibition, who will attend and why will they come?If you’re developing a service or product, who do you expect will use it?
  • Marketing:
    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 and costs?
    Will you print flyers or anything else?
    Is postage involved? Bulk mail? Email newsletters, social media, etc.?
  • Key Personnel
    Provide names, email addresses, and bios (75-100 words) for up to three key people on your team.
    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.

    • If you are a finalist, you will be asked to provide a phone number and a non-UW email address.
  • 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?
    What are your marketing costs?
    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?
  • Possible Challenges:
    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 2024 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
  • Images of the project and/or people participating
  • Plans for future projects

Sample Proposals

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.

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). Community members are encouraged to reach out to students -and vice-versa- to form teams.
  • Proposals must be of original work.
  • Notes and feedback may be requested, but distribution is at judges’ discretion.
  • The winning proposal’s event/exhibition/project must be presented to the community no later than May 2025.
  • Please note: There are two dates that finalists must be available for: Final Presentation (February 28, 2024) and the Awards in the Creative Arts (May 2024).


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.

Instructions for Application Upload

Please see below for two options on submitting your proposals.

Option 1 – Upload your application files using the form. Please note the file naming convention below.

Option 2 – Submit via email.

  • Compose an email titled “ABC Proposal” to the following email address:
  • 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:
      •  “ProjectName.ProjectProposal.1of3”
      • “ProjectName.MembersCVs.2of3”
      • “ProjectName.SupportingMaterials.3of3”
  • 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 for further instructions.
  • You will receive an email from confirming a successful upload for each file submitted.
  • Lastly, email, 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.
  • We always recommend to submit your proposal earlier just in case there are technical difficulties.

Deadline for all proposals is Thursday, December 21, 2023 by 11:59 p.m. CT.

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

Previous Finalists

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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2023 Finalists


Group photo of Arts Business Competition contestants and judges. Winners hold giant checks.

1st Prize

The Big Gay Market – Oliver DiPietro, MA student, Gender & Women’s Studies with a Certificate in Leadership and Ashley Shaw Adams, freelance artist

The Big Gay Market, an organization that focuses on hosting accessible and inclusive LGBTQ+ friendly markets in the Madison area, organizes quarterly markets that feature LGBTQ+ makers and allies in a safe, accessible, and comfortable space for everyone.

2nd Prize

Dane County Artist Directory –Augusta Brulla, MA student, Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership

The Dane County Artist Directory is a user-friendly comprehensive online directory of Dane County’s visual artists, which will break down barriers to connection by providing an easy and affordable way to connect with local visual artists.

3rd Prize

Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival – Sahada Buckley, Master of Music student, Violin Performance and Trace Johnson, Doctoral of Musical Arts student, Cello Performance

The Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival is a professional chamber music series in Fairhope, Alabama that will inspire community involvement in contemporary and classical chamber music at every socioeconomic level by making all festival performances free of charge.

Emerging Artist Awards

CraftingGreen – Isabella Heller de Messer, undergraduate, International Business and Marketing with a Certificate in 3D Studio Design with an emphasis in ceramics

CraftingGreen is an in-person series of ceramic workshops for refugee and immigrant students across the Milwaukee and Madison cities that explore creativity through the expression of identity, experiences, and culture.

OhlyProps – Jack Ohly, undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering and Communication Arts: Radio, Television, & Film

Moving creating replica film props from a hobby to a for-hire prop shop in Madison, Wisconsin.

2022 Finalists

Arts Business Competition finalists pose with giant checks along with the judges

1st Prize

Mocha Books – Kyla Pollard, BA, Radio, Television and Film

Mocha Books is a project dedicated to bringing visibility to the lives and stories of Black youth by partnering with schools and organizations to distribute blank books to students to write and publish their autobiographies.

2nd Prize

The Mycological Menagerie – Savannah Gentry, Ph.D. candidate, Botany Nora Dunkirk, Ph.D. candidate, Botany, Naamon Peyton, BS, Microbiology

The Mycological Menagerie is a multi-media art exhibition aimed to support the understanding of fungi in the eyes of the public by demonstrating how fungi unites us all.

3rd Prize

Unframed – Logan Butson, MBA candidate, Marketing Analytics and Insights

Unframed aims to tell the stories and cultural awareness of the underrepresented in the world through their artwork.

Emerging Artist Awards

Flow Project Gallery – Julia Buskirk, BA, Journalism | Conservation Biology, Alexandra Lakind, Ph.D. candidate – Environment and Resources | Curriculum and Instruction, Anna Heinen, BFA, Art | Environmental Studies

The Flow Project Gallery brings Wisconsin’s water issues to the forefront through art by connecting UW student artists with water professionals across the state.

Your African Quest – Joel Baraka, BS, Civil Engineering, Anson Liow, MS, Civil Engineering

Your African Quest is a board game (8 years-old and above) aiming to satisfy the curiosity and knowledge about the diversity in Africa through different categories including countries and cities, food, nature, people and cultures.

2021 Finalists

Zoom screenshot of finalists from the 2021 Arts Business Competition

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.

2nd Prize

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.

3rd Prize

(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.

2019 Finalists

1st Prize

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.

2nd Prize

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.

3rd Prize

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.

2018 Finalists

2018 Arts Business Competition finalists and judges pose with their giant checks.

1st Prize

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.

2nd Prize

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.

3rd Prize

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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!

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

Fly Boy Carnival Fashion Show – Chris Martinez and Kevin Burgess
A fashion show born of a company that promotes lifestyle as well as fashion.

Madison Music/Future Festival, “Beyond Genre, Beyond Limits” – Douglas Jurs
Modeled after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which, rather than choosing the best proposals, allows every proposal the chance to play. Jurs wanted to build a festival that would be fun above all, that would empower classical musicians to be creative and have a good time on their own terms.