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Arts Entrepreneurship Pitch Fest Competition Finalists Announced!

MCAD is launching its first ever Arts Entrepreneurship Pitch Fest Competition on April 5, 2019 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. 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.


24 applications were submitted to the competition before the February 1, 2019 deadline and 12 were selected as finalist. Finalists are being matched with mentors who will help them prepare for their final presentations on April 5th.


  • Ching Thao, Kelsey Maher, and Rachel Bostic for their project Studio Lumo
  • Rob Stankey for the project Lid Loft
  • Andres Nelson, Zack Brandinelli, Aaron Yankowiak, Dylan Chazin-Bowman, Shane Toomey, Kai Patrick for their project SABER 
  • Kasey Lyons to develop a mental health coloring book app
  • Ashley Koudou and Mase Santos for their project Thrive Minneapolis** 
  • Hannah Jerrie, Emily Allen, Iris Monahan, and Theo Stultz to develop an arts anthology collective
  • Patrick Howard to develop a sustainable real estate venture
  • Beta DeFlorian for Project Courtside
  • Zack Brandinelli, Joseph Andriani and Spencer Scott for the project Lazer
  • Claire Boonstra for the project HeartSweet 
  • Sarah Billings and Eleanor Strong for their project Sela Sol Toys 
  • Audrey De Ridder for the project SchoolHouse


Four workshops were held during lunch-and-learn sessions were held in MCADs College Center in the Fall of 2018. 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 over 100 MCAD students from all majors.

Similar competitions are being held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Maryland Institute College of Art. We’re very excited about the potential for MCAD’s Arts Entrepreneurship Competition to support students who combine creativity, professional practice, and the entrepreneurial spirit. This inaugural competition received funding from the Smaby Family Foundation and MCADs Arts Entrepreneurship Department.


A panel of jurors have been selected that represent a mix of creatives and other professionals to watch the final presentations on April 5th and select winners.

Awards are: 

  • $5,000 - first place
  • $2,500 - second place
  • $1,500 - third place
  • $1,000 - audience favorite not receiving another award

Join us on Friday April 5th in Auditorium 150 at 5:00 PM to support the finalists and vote for your favorite!

Applicants who were not selected as finalists are invited to table in the lobby of the event to promote their venture and meet potential partners and customers.


Contact Pitch Fest Competition Coordinator Connie Rutledge <> or Stephen Reuff <> with any questions.

Friday, February 15