PDF version of press release

Minneapolis, MN—March 4, 2019—The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is proud to present PITCHFEST, the first Arts Entrepreneurship Competition on April 5, from 5:00–7:00 p.m. This is an exciting opportunity for MCAD undergraduates to stretch their creative thinking, consider how they can impact the world, and win some fantastic award money.

In fall 2018, four workshops were held during lunch-and-learn sessions. Each session covered a different topic — Validating Your Idea; Identifying Your Customers; Costing and Funding; and Launching Your Creative Venture. Each session was led by an artist who was paired with a business professional. These sessions were attended by more than 100 students from all majors.

Artists and designers are inherently entrepreneurial, with 40–60% of those working in this field being self-employment and/or working in contract positions. Artists and designers are also powerful creative problem solvers and this competition gives MCAD undergraduates the opportunity to hone their skills in developing and pitching a creative venture.

Similar competitions are being held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Maryland Institute College of Art’s, and we’re very excited about the potential for MCAD’s for the first PITCHFEST to combine creativity, professional practice, and the entrepreneurial spirit. This inaugural competition received seed funding from the Smaby Family Foundation and MCAD.

Twenty-four applications were submitted before the February 1, 2019, deadline and 12 were selected as finalists. Mentors are being matched with the finalists to help them prepare for their final presentations. A panel of jurors has been selected that represents a mix of creatives and other professionals. Awards are $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place, $1,500 for third place, $1,000 for the audience favorite not receiving another award.

Date: Friday, April 5, 2019
Time: 5:00–7:30 p.m.
Where: Minneapolis College of Art and Design
             Auditorium 150
             2501 Stevens Ave, Minneapolis, MN
Who: Free and open to the public
Contact: For more information, contact MCAD's Communications Office at communications@mcad.edu

Arts Entrepreneurship Competition Finalists:

Arts Anthology Collective has a focus on the production of printed material such as art books, zines, and prints, with the goal to produce annual anthologies collecting thematically related art works submitted by a curated selection of artists. Highlighting up and coming artists, the collective builds new connections through collaborative work. Artists are selected from online applications open to all, allowing for global participation. The connections built through this type of collaborative work are not only the basis for friendship and new inspiration, but also a network for sharing resources, advice, and critique. (Finalists: Hannah Jerrie, Emily Allen, Iris Monahan, Theo Stultz Mentor: Sara Fowler)

HeartSweet is a magazine focused on young local, national and international female artists and creatives. Founded in 2018, HeartSweet intends to expand the publication with the second issue focusing on Twin Cities artists through interviews, art surrounding social issues, and represent different communities. Throughout the process of cresting the first issue, HeartSweet’s founder was able to meet a young Seattle based musician, interview Minneapolis Institute of Arts staff on how they are changing female representation after the rise of the #MeToo movement, and a local ethical fashion enthusiast on fast fashion and choosing clothes that can help save the environment. Through this process HeartSweet’s founder learned how to run a small business and manage sales and inventory. (Finalists: Claire Boonstra Mentor: Monica Larson)

Lazer is envisioned as a new company that handles creator owned properties and will have the ability to produce a quarterly graphic novel that will house short stories and serialized narratives, as well as other related products. Lazer aims to create both physical and digital media to help publicize member works, but also the works of our audience, readers, fans, and even potential competitors. The focus of each graphic novel provides an opportunity to network and collaborate with others in this field. Release events as well as an online store with our products supplement the quarterly graphic novel. (Finalists: Zach Brandinelli, Joseph Andriani & Spencer Scott Mentor: Stephenie Rich)

Lid Loft is an essential kitchen product designed to free up hands by offering a place to put a pot lid, so that one could use both hands to better stabilize a pot or pan when stirring or serving. In addition, the Lid Loft keeps condensation, food splatters, and heat off of counter tops when cooking by allowing it to rest upside down, promoting cleanliness. (Finalists: Rob Stanley Mentor: Mac Plumstead

Mental Health Coloring Book is an app that describes the actual changes that happen in the brain when someone is dealing with mental illness. This product will help younger kids and students learn more about what mental illness really is, as well as start to diminish the stigma around talking about mental illness. The app will be created by a freelance artist or small studio and will be available to the public on app stores, with versions available to clinics and therapist offices. (Finalists: Lavi Lyons Mentor: Chris Dykstra)

Project Courtside is a large scale public art project dedicated to transforming run down basketball courts all around Minneapolis into beautiful and engaging works of public art and places of play. Project Courtside ultimately is an organization that brings together art, sports, and community to make a significant impact in the Minneapolis area. The Project Courtside team will complete the one of a kind community driven mural and hand painting backboards and provide the courts with new nets. This project brings together artists, athletes and the community. (Finalists: Beta DeFlorian Mentor: Terri Barreiro)

SABER highlights creatives in four, color print publication that sold 110 copies in 2018. With the help of this competition SABER will grow into a company that creates original content such as: live shows (concerts), original shorts/skits, documentaries, web shows, and online podcasts! SABER provides a platform where all artists are valued equally and creates a community of artists and forward thinkers. (Finalists: Andres Nelson, Zach Brandinelli, Aaron Yankowiak, Dylan Chazin-Bowman, Kai Patrick Mentor: Hunter Jonakin)

SchoolHouse is a community space centered around the welfare of children. Inspired by the challenge of trying to accommodate after school activities into the rhythm of family life, SchoolHouse offers a space devoted to music lessons, art classes, and academic support, all housed under one roof with an underlying goal of creating an inviting environment to gather. Amongst private practice rooms and instructional area, SchoolHouse will offer a congenial lounge space with the amenities of a home: an open kitchen for coffee and an afterschool snack, space to spread out and get work done, and comfortable seating that gives purpose to the time that kids are busy with activities. (Finalists: Audrey De Ridder Mentor: Beau Sinchai)

Sela Sol Toys is a company designing toys for children of all abilities, meant to be soothing and enriching and durable for all types of play styles and to be easily transportable for on the go needs. Sela Sol Toys is unique because neuro-divergent or children with disabilities are rarely considered when it comes to making and designing toys. Sela Sol Toys will be designed with these children in mind as well as being great for neurotypical children as well. Sela Sol Toys wants to create something new that adds to the market, is environmentally friendly and engineered for underrepresented groups of children. Sela Sol Toys aims to help the community and give children what they need to grow to become creative individuals in the future. (Finalists: Sarah Billings & Eleanor Strong Mentor: Tim Brunelle)

Studio Lumo’s goal is to create a company environment where young artists can share their unique stories and create games at a professional level. To do this, they will establish a game and animation studio in Minneapolis that focuses on creating quality story-based games and short films. (Finalists: Ching Thao, Kelsey Maher, Rachel Bostic, Mentor: Martin Grider and Craig Rice)

Sustainable Real Estate Development envisions an investment business model focused through the lens of sustainable design and development. The goal is to create long, medium, and short term rental properties in Minnesota through the sustainable renovation and retrofitting of existing real estate. Existing rental property in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis will be a case study to prove the business model. The units will be fully furnished and designed with the help of Minnesota artists and designers to showcase their work. (Finalists: Patrick Howard Mentor: Marc Sung)

Thrive Minneapolis** is an online platform that celebrates, promotes, and represents the creative POC community in the Twin Cities. Referencing LinkedIn, Behance and other popular media sites, Thrive Minneapolis** serves to connect individuals with what they need to be successful and help to bridge the gap for opportunities for Creatives of Color. The platform allows creatives to speak about their experiences through professional spotlight articles, grow connections through their stories and events held by the platform, and share their work with each other. Thrive Minneapolis** invests in the movement for growth and change. (Finalists: Ashley Koudou & Mase Santos Mentor: Elliot Payne)


Recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to visual arts education, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is home to more than 750 students and offers professional certificates, bachelor of fine arts and bachelor of science degrees, and graduate degrees.