The MIT Arts Startup Incubator was founded in 2013 as the MIT Creative Arts Competition and since then has grown from a single $10,000 prize to include a semester-long program offering mentorship, workshops, access to a makerspace on campus, and two prize levels: $15,000 first place and $2,500 finalists.
Elements / Michael Stradley, SMArchS ‘20, and Maria Esteban Casanas, SMArchS ‘20
Individual art making kits that promote creative thinking
An online platform that uses big data to assess and market classic furniture pieces
Material Futures Lab
Using biology to produce environmentally friendly pigments
Teach To Learn / team lead, Mark Adams
Teach To Learn is a free online cultural-exchange and mentorship service that supports musicians in resource-poor countries by connecting them to mentors in the United States using live video and e-learning platforms.
Sky International Music Education / team lead, Guo Zhang
Sky International Music Education aims to bring high-quality music education resources to China. They hire young professional musicians to provide online live, interactive video lessons through their application as well as use artificial intelligence to customize and visualize the learning process.
ArtNext / team lead, Maria Esteban Casanas
ArtNext turns your home into a gallery experience. They provide curated art as a subscription model and at-home curatorial services, making use of gallery and museum collection holdings.
Along Fault Lines / team lead, Antonio Moya-Latorre
Along Fault Lines is a platform that sparks emotional recovery among populations dealing with urban trauma, such as natural disasters or social conflicts, through artist residency programs that enhance cultural exchange.
Read more at
Arts at MIT: “The 2019 $15K Creative Arts Competition”
Project Daredevil (Hapticomix) /
team lead, Daniel Levine
Hapticomix makes VR for the blind using 3D radio-dramas with motion simulation via a worn vestibular-affecting device.
/ team lead, Ellen Shakespear
Spaceus transforms vacant storefronts into artist studios, enlivening streets and fostering connections between creatives and neighbors.
Helm / team lead, Mitchell Gu Helm
A wearable low-cost and easy to use 3D scanner that preserves large scale artworks by taking snapshots of our world.
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD
/ team lead, Shakti Shaligram
Piccles is a collaborative coloring application that lowers anxiety, relieves boredom, and fosters connection by engaging people in the cathartic act of coloring.
Read more at
Arts at MIT: “2018 Creative Arts Competition from Idea to Impact”
Roots Studio allows craft communities to thrive and survive in this new, globalized world.
They believe that traditional art is special, unique, and worth holding onto. There are hundreds of thousands of niche traditional art forms around the world — especially India — that are slowly dying out with each generation.
Roots Studio is building towards a world in which artists have the ability to financially support their families by sharing their culture and traditions in a new and innovative way.
They use technology to connect Indian artists from rural villages to the world. Roots Studio has pioneered a digitization process where each village is connected to the larger world — they have learned how to scan in their artwork, upload corrections and edits to the studio’s proprietary site, and sell their pieces to a global community.
Read more at
Tekuma’s mission is to display millions of artworks in physical spaces and activate generic spaces with unique art by emerging artists.
Tekuma curates and stages Airbnbs with art, providing a cost effective way to improve the aesthetics and rental appeal of space, allowing Airbnb hosts to capture higher revenue through more bookings and better ratings. The platform is a one-stop shop for online art curation and distribution.
TapTape (formerly SoundSpark)
A music crowd-funding site that works with labels, allowing fans to co-invest in an artist’s record deal and receive a share of revenues. By working with the world’s most influential labels, TapTape allows fans to connect with label-curated artists before they blow up.
Depict.com (formerly Mediuum)
An online platform that helps people discover, display, and enjoy art digitally by bringing new art to any wifi-enabled device with a screen. The team of MIT graduate students, computer programmers, and artists was awarded $10,000 for the best arts-focused business plan.
“Coming from MIT, the prize establishes our company at the intersection of art and technology.” -Kim Gordon of Depict.com
The Depict.com team includes:
Shambhavi Kadam: MIT (B.S. Aerospace Engineering ’06), MIT Sloan (MBA ’12)
Kimberly Gordon: Columbia (B.A. East Asian Studies & Chinese Literature ’08), MIT Sloan (MBA ’13)
Read more at
Huffington Post: “Women in Business Q&A with Kimberly Gordon”
Bloomberg Businessweek: “New MIT Business Plan Competition Takes on the Arts”
Worth Magazine: “Q&A with Kim Gordon”