2015 Arts Entrepreneurship Awards Winners Announced

From projects that bring chamber music concerts into homes and arts programming into laundromats to new models for financing and distributing independent films and bringing live theater and dance to online audiences, ?Fractured Atlas today unveiled the four recipients of the 2015 Arts Entrepreneurship Awards.

Launched in 2014 by Fractured Atlas, The Arts Entrepreneurship Awards aim to inspire risk-taking and disruption in the arts field by honoring innovators from across the United States who are creating new models for building successful arts careers and organizations. Empowering artists to think and work like entrepreneurs, Fractured Atlas is a national organization that provides its network of 250,000 artists with the technology and tools they need to raise money, grow their audiences, find space to make and share their art, insure themselves and their work, and more.

"Fractured Atlas is dedicated to supporting a new generation of artists and arts organizations who are finding answers to some of the arts industry's most persistent problems," said Adam Huttler, founder and executive director of Fractured Atlas. "Whether they are solving challenges like fundraising and distribution or developing new ways to reach and connect with audiences, each of the honorees is creating a model that can inspire further innovation and be replicated across disciplines to bring the arts into the 21st century."

Selected from nominations received from across the country, the four honorees are:

Ontheboards.tv (Seattle, Washington): One of the biggest challenges facing small- and mid-size arts groups is how to reach a larger audience beyond the confines of their typically small theaters and performances spaces. OntheBoards.tv is the first platform to create a model for delivering full-length, high quality contemporary performance films to desktops, mobile devices, and TVs. Working with partners like Performance Space 122 in New York, the Fusebox Festival in Texas; and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, OntheBoards.tv films work by top caliber artists with multiple high-definition cameras and collaboratively edits the films with the artists to create and offer "library of gorgeously shot films," according to the New York Times.

Groupmuse (Boston, Massachusetts): Providing a new model for connecting young classical musicians to local audiences, Groupmuse enables anyone to either host, perform, or attend a "chamber music house party" at homes around the world. Donations are collected at each event and go directly to the musicians, who earn $150 to $500 on an average night. Groupmuse currently averages about 10-20 shows a week and has expanded to 15 cities around the world.

The Laundromat Project: (New York, NY): The Laundromat Project brings socially relevant and socially engaged art, artists, and arts programming into laundromats and other everyday spaces, offering residents and artists a chance to learn and make art together and strengthen their communities in the process. Projects, which have been presented in neighborhoods across New York City, have included renaming streets based on personal and social history, transforming laundromats into yoga studios or English classrooms, and creating community mix tapes.

BURN (Los Angeles, CA): BURN, a documentary by TBVE Films about Detroit firefighters, broke records for self-distribution and is one of the largest films ever funded entirely by charitable donations, sponsors and "in-kind" support of goods, gear, and services. When BURN premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, it took home the Audience Award and enjoyed rave reviews, but still could not procure a commercial distributor. BURN's producers decided to distribute the film themselves, screening the film in over 170 cities.

Honorees of the Arts Entrepreneurship Awards receive a lifetime membership to Fractured Atlas, which provides artists with access to affordable insurance, fiscal sponsorship, professional development resources, discounted business vendor services, and more, and a specially-commissioned award designed by Brooklyn-based artist Jillian Rose.

The inaugural Arts Entrepreneurship Awards were presented in January 2014. Honorees included a pop-up artists' colony (Rubber Repertory's Pilot Balloon Church-House, Lawrence, KS), a nonprofit helping artists build financial assets through homeownership (ArtHome, NYC), and a fundraising collaborative between nationally recognized arts groups (Creative Partners, Chicago). Coverage of the honorees ranged from national publications like Fast Company, Back Stage, and Public Art Review to local media like The Austin Chronicle and The Erie Reader.

Advice from Recipients for Aspiring Arts Entrepreneurs:

"Sometimes dusting off old ideas leads to innovative new ones. We were inspired when creating OtB.tv by the fact that the Metropolitan Opera originally broadcast performances to movie theaters in the 50's. New trends in artistic practice, place-making, experience design and social justice offer similar potential for reinterpretation." - Lane Czaplinski, Sarah Wilke, Monique Courcy, OnTheBoard.TV

"Talk the language of society. Don't assume that people already care about what you fight for. If they did, you wouldn't be necessary. Find reasons to make them care. For example: Let's stop talking about how classical music needs saving. That is entirely irrelevant to the people who don't care about classical music, which is most people. Let's talk about the ways in which our society needs saving and how we can make classical music its knight in shining armor. What does it look like when classical music wears shining armor?"- Sam Bodkin, Ezra Weller, Kyle Nichols-Schmolze, Groupmuse

"If you're looking to take the step toward making your art your business, you better stay clear on that and treat it like a business. Use it as a mantra, use it as a criteria for decision making. You've already invested your life in your art or your idea. Now you need to invest that much and more in your business, and you have to do it on a timeline. However great your art or idea, it is not a business until someone else wants to get in on it. Business is about giving the people what they want. If you are not always mindful of what they want, always, your business will fail. We're not talking about selling out, here! All of this is said with the presumption that you'll stay true to your art. " - Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez, TVBE Films (Burn)

"Find a band of merry supporters among your peers. Meet, drink, exchange advice, and support one another on your professional journeys. I've learned so much from my 'ED Club'." - Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director, The Laundromat Project


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