Image credit: Lenny Martinez.
Hacking Arts Festival, 2016.

Hacking Arts

From 2012 to 2019, the MIT Hacking Arts Festival was an annual conference that ignited cross-disciplinary innovation at MIT. Artists, engineers, and entrepreneurs came together for a two-day festival to take on challenges at the intersection of the arts and … Continued

Emma Kaye smiling and holding the winning check at the 15k Creative Arts Competition.
Creative Arts Competition winning team Cosmosii's Emma Kaye (Sloan '22)

Creative Arts Competition


The MIT Creative Arts Competition is an annual contest designed to encourage arts-focused startups at the Institute. The $15,000 prize is offered as a grant to help launch the winning enterprise and enable the recipient(s) to join the ranks of MIT’s successful startup founders.


Resources for Students


Competition Kickoff  Conference:

Keynote on Bringing Meaning to the Marketplace: Make * Care * Strategize * Implement
Sunday, October 25, 2020

Wendy Swart Grossman and Jen Guillemin, co-founders of Creative Re/Frame, share their experiences as entrepreneurs, educators, and mentors. They discuss finding the motivation behind a creative venture, forming an idea, and putting it into action using the Make * Care * Strategize * Implement framework. 

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Panel Discussion
Sunday, October 25, 2020

Roundtable lightning talks with past winners and mentors of the $15K, including: Maria Esteban Casanas and Michael Stradley (Elements, 2020 $15K Winners); Ellen Shakespear (Spaceus, 2018 $15K Second Prize); Nir Hindi (Mentor, Founder of The Artian); and Jon Corbiere (Mentor, CEO of Thought Cafe). 

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Workshop series:

Building your Value Proposition
Thursday, November 11, 2020

Dr. Michael Camp, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation at Ohio State University, shares his experience on how to build and articulate your value proposition as an arts-related venture. This session focuses on understanding and explaining what makes your venture uniquely valuable to customers and stakeholders. 

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Building your Business Plan (For-profit track)
Sunday, December 6, 2020

Carly Chase, Managing Director of the MIT NYC Startup Studio and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Martin Trust Center, shares guidance on how to build a strong plan for your arts-related venture. This session focuses on building out the dimensions of a venture from key suppliers to target customers and everything in between.

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Building your Business Plan (Non-profit track)
Monday, December 21, 2020

Miguel Rodriguez shares his experience as founder and president of Athlone Artists and executive with Boston Baroque, Opera Boston, and Boston Landmarks Orchestra. This session helps students interested in the competition’s non-profit track to build out a robust business plan by identifying target impact, stakeholders, key partners, and more.

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Creating a Budget (For-profit track)
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Kit Hickey, co-founder of Ministry of Supply and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Martin Trust Center shares her experience budgeting to support growth in a company’s early stages. This session is aimed at helping for-profit venture teams create and test a prospective budget.

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Creating a Budget (Non-profit track)
Monday, December 7, 2020

Julia Turnbull, Assistant Director for Student Programs at the Legatum Center, will discuss her experience evaluating budgets and grant funding for the Inter American Development Bank. This session focuses on how to create a prospective budget to effectively plan for your non-profit venture’s growth.

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Arts E-ship Launchpad WhatsApp:

This informal community of arts-minded entrepreneurs will act as a place for people to make introductions, collaborate, build, and share ideas. We’ll use this platform for $15K Creative Arts Competition team-building and ad hoc meetups/virtual networking events, among other things!
Join to keep up with all things arts entrepreneurship


January IAP Course: Communications Bootcamp for Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs

In this 4-week workshop, you will learn how to talk about, write about, and pitch artistic projects and ventures. You’ll develop an elevator pitch, artist and/or project statement, and learn how to write persuasively about your work for grant applications and awards or competitions. You’ll also learn best practices for developing a pitch deck or curating a portfolio. This course will help prepare you to participate in MIT-specific arts opportunities, including funding from the Council for the Arts at MIT, Student Art Awards, Wiesner Art Gallery exhibitions, and the $15K Creative Arts Competition.


$15K Applications will be open soon; deadline is Friday, February 5, 2021. Stay tuned for details! 

Black and white photo of a man and a woman.
Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner

Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Awards

The Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Awards 

The Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Awards are presented annually to individual students (undergraduate or graduate) or MIT groups (.i.e., living groups, student organizations) for outstanding arts-related contributions to the MIT community. Up to four awards are made annually. An endowment fund provides a $2,000 award to each recipient.

Nominees should display a strong commitment to the arts as reflected in their participation in and leadership contributions to arts-related activities and organizations at MIT; the impact of those contributions and achievements on the MIT community; and the potential of their contributions to have a lasting impact at MIT.

MIT community members who are considering nominating individual student candidates based on significant contributions to a single student-led arts organization are encouraged to consider nominating the organization as an entity in recognition of the collective contributions and involvement of an organization’s leadership team and members.

Established by the Council for the Arts at MIT in 1979, these awards honor past MIT President Jerome B. Wiesner and Laya Wiesner for their commitment to the arts at MIT.


A historic image shows a man's face an the words "Baritone of Distinction Louis Sudler."
Louis Sudler

Louis Sudler Prize

The Louis Sudler Prize

The Louis Sudler Prize is presented annually to an individual graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence and the highest standards of proficiency in music, theater, painting, sculpture, design, architecture or film. An endowment fund provides a $2,500 award to the honoree.

Nominations are evaluated based on evidence of individual artistic excellence and achievement; evidence of strong commitment to the arts; and the potential to have a continued impact in the arts.

The prize was established in 1982 by Louis Sudler, a performer in the arts and an arts patron from Chicago.

Installation view of the 2018 Schnitzer Prize Recipients Exhibition in the MIT Wiesner Student Art Gallery.
Installation view of the 2018 Schnitzer Prize Recipients Exhibition in the MIT Wiesner Student Art Gallery.

Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts

The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts

The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts is presented to current MIT students, undergraduate and graduate, for excellence in a body of work in the visual arts. Students submit an artistic portfolio for consideration.

Portfolios are evaluated based upon the coherence and scope of the body of work, as demonstrated by the clarity of inquiry or vision; quality of execution of artistic product; command of medium; use of materials, including technology, computation, fabrication, and research; and demonstrated ability of the artist to contribute to and impact artistic conversations and practices at MIT and beyond.

A generous endowment allows for the award of up to three Graduate Student prizes of $5,000, and up to one undergraduate prize of $2,500. Recipients also participate in a joint exhibition in the Wiesner Student Art Gallery (in 2023 this exhibition will be presented in digital format).

The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts was established in 1996 through the generosity of Harold and Arlene Schnitzer of Portland, Oregon. Schnitzer, a real estate investor, graduated from MIT in 1944 with a degree in metallurgy.

Applications for the 2023 Schnitzer Prize are now open and may be accessed via SlideRoom. Deadline: March 17, 2023.

A student plays piano.
Yimin Chen, Emerson Scholar.

Emerson Scholarship Program

Offering merit-based financial assistance for private lessons to MIT students of outstanding achievement on their instrument or voice in classical, jazz, or world music via competitive auditions. Each academic year, the Emerson program for private study offers half scholarships and … Continued