2016 Recipients


Sriram Emani, Co-Founder and CEO, and Sukhada Fadnavis, COO

IndianRaga (Camridge, MA)

IndianRaga is an online arts education platform which harnesses technology to provide opportunities to learn, perform and shine. Students across the world can learn through detailed, bite-sized educational modules, connect with instructors for feedback and certification, and find opportunities to perform at community and national levels. Using digital media and high quality video productions, we are engaging millions of students, connoisseurs and artists across the world to discover the joy of performance arts.

What is one piece of advice that you have for other budding arts entrepreneurs?

Brands get built when others talk about you more than you do about yourself. At IndianRaga, we created community musician groups that came together to create new musical collaborations, or a Raga Lab. When these were released on Facebook, it was the participants, their parents and friends who shared our post enthusiastically and generated a lot of the buzz, instead of us having to promote it. This gives a lot of legitimacy to the brand. Today people want to participate as much as view the artistic process — and creating avenues for engagement with the arts can be a real win-win for entrepreneurs and businesses!

Flux Creative Partners: (clockwise from top left) August Schulenburg, Chinaza Uche, Sol Crespo, Kelly O’Donnell, Will Lowry, Raechel Hip-Flores, Alisha Spielmann, Becky Byers, Kia Rogers, Isaiah Tanenbaum, and Heather Cohn.

Flux Theatre Ensemble (New York, NY)

Flux Theatre Ensemble produces transformative theatre that explores and awakens the capacity for change. Their recently implemented Open Source Theatre creates radical transparency around their production costs, and includes the Living Ticket Initiative, which allows audiences to attend performances at no cost, instead inviting attendees to donate based on performances and budget information shared through their Open Book Initiative. Through long-term collaboration and rigorous creative development, Flux seeks to unite artists and audiences to build a creative home in New York.

What is one piece of advice that you have for aspiring arts entrepreneurs?

As an ensemble of arts entrepreneurs, we believe that creating a truly equitable collaborative environment is the key to innovation and impact. When people bring their full selves to the work, and leadership is defined as an action instead of a position, then a whole much greater than the sum of its parts emerges.

Monica Montgomery, Founder

Museum of Impact (New York, NY)

Museum of Impact is a mobile social justice museum that explores activism, altruism, and advocacy through a creative lens. By redefining the traditional museum-going experience, Museum of Impact offers audiences the opportunity to become revolutionaries through participatory forums and diverse high quality arts and culture experiences that encourage people of all perspectives to make meaning and make change.

What is one piece of advice that you have for other budding arts entrepreneurs?

I have a mantra, which is an old quote that never fails to inspire and invigorate me to keep working, pushing and innovating.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe.
It sounds simple enough, but it’s really profound when you think about it. Arts entrepreneurs have to be resourceful and generative, using creative constraints to birth new works, pedagogy, methods and creations. We will never witness a perfect moment, where we feel capable, balanced, fully funded, fully staffed with all the tools and insights we need. We have to leap on faith, take calculated risks, make the most of the resources, goodwill and genius we do have, to continue blazing trails and amazing the world. It is important we not be hesitant or self deprecating about our work, our circumstances and our field. We are more than enough and we can do all things, through arts which strengthens us!

Steven Peterman, Co-Founder

The Sketchbook Project (New York, NY)

The Sketchbook Project is an independent Brooklyn-based company that organizes global, collaborative art projects. Since its inception in 2006, the Sketchbook Project has grown into a worldwide community of more than 70,000 artists, including a crowd-sourced library that features 34,016 artists’ books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries. The Sketchbook Project nurtures community-supported art projects that harness the power of the virtual world to share inspiration in the real world.

What is one piece of advice that you have for other budding arts entrepreneurs?

I believe that anyone can succeed in running their own project. We have been taught to follow a mold and to get a job. But I believe that all it takes is the confidence to fail and go out on your own. If you see a life that you want, don’t stop till you have it.

 From left to right: Mei-Ling Wong, James George, Alexander Porter; photo credit: Amit Gupta

From left to right: Mei-Ling Wong, James George, Alexander Porter; photo credit: Amit Gupta

Scatter Collective (New York, NY)

Scatter Collective is a Brooklyn-based creative studio exploring the application of photography and interactivity towards immersive experiences, including virtual reality filmmaking and interactive installations and live performance. The Scatter Collective team seeks to create work at the fringes of the recently possible, and asserts that the cultural relationship to images will shift dramatically in the near future. Through design and invention, Scatter Collective intends to guide this shift towards a future where curiosity, inclusivity, and humanism are core values.

What is one piece of advice that you have for other budding arts entrepreneurs?

The dream is to make a living from your art. You may have spent your life working day jobs and burning the midnight oil to make your work. Now you are ready to take it to the next level, and turn your practice into a business so that you can live and breathe it 24/7. How do you take this leap without going broke, or worse, losing your passion as your art becomes your job.
Scatter Collective was founded as we attempted to make this transition for ourselves. What we’ve learned is the rewards are incredible — we found a way to adapt our practice to collaborate with brands and other artists that drew from the voice we had cultivated in our private practice. This has given us a bigger platform, a chance to reach a much wider audience, and to expand our work beyond ourselves into a team.
The challenge is knowing that when you make this leap, you also become not just an artist but a business manager. Lawyers, taxes, meetings — it’s amazing how quickly how you begin to spend time away from from your primary practice. To be successful at this, you have to be able to derive the same satisfaction and pride from guiding a team through the process of creation as you did when you were doing it all solo.