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Meet the Next Entrepreneurs: Artists Claim the Creative Advantage

Meet the Next Entrepreneurs: Artists Claim the Creative Advantage
Alumni entrepreneurs on panel for the CalArts’ HIVE event: Big Ideas: Path to Entrepreneurship. Photo: Rafael Hernandez.

CalArts students and alumni take the challenge at the Draper Competition for Creative Innovators on April 8

Long renowned for its experimental ethos, CalArts launches the HIVE: Hybrid Incubator for Visionary Entrepreneurs.

Valencia, CA, March 13—Intuition. Creativity. Thinking outside the box. These are among the traits cited in Entrepreneur magazine's recent article "10 things artists and the entrepreneurs have in common." Now, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) puts young artist-entrepreneurs to the test at a marathon pitch competition running from 9 am to 4 pm on April 8. The event will take place at the Patty Disney Center for Life and Work on the CalArts campus in Valencia, California.

As a world-renowned institution of higher education in the arts, CalArts prepares students to take the lead in the creative economy—and this includes training in entrepreneurship. The Draper Competition for Creative Innovators is a project of CalArts’ HIVE or Hybrid Incubator for Visionary Entrepreneurs. Through a comprehensive range of workshops and events, the HIVE offers CalArts students and alumni access to business and design thinking skills and allows them to work on innovative ideas, products and enterprises. 

For the competition, CalArts students and alumni link artistic vision with social and commercial potential. A panel of high-profile judges from the domains of art, business, entertainment and technology will select outstanding entries. Winning artists and teams will be awarded stipends to further refine their projects in the HIVE summer incubator.  Also this summer, selected students will receive stipends, as part of the Design Thinking Consulting Group, to work with a design thinking expert on solving a real-world problem faced by a local organization.

CalArts’ competition is the new arts-based sister project to a highly-anticipated annual event.  It is supported by Institute trustee Melissa Draper, and her husband Tim Draper, founder of the global capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. They launched the Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs at Smith College in 2013 and have seen it grow to include teams from colleges throughout the East Coast. "We are delighted to bring this dynamic process to CalArts’ students and alumni,” said Melissa Draper. “Artists routinely engage in entrepreneurial pursuits requiring high-level problem solving—and CalArts is renowned for its innovative approach and experimental ethos. The Draper Competition for Creative Innovators at CalArts, and the immersive summer incubator, provides participating artists with a valuable forum to advance their idea toward venture creation."

A long-time advocate of artists as entrepreneurs, Ruby Lerner is the Senior Adviser to CalArts’ Patty Disney Center for Life and Work, and the former CEO and founder of Creative Capital where she pioneered a venture-capital approach to funding artists’ projects. She was recently in residence at CalArts offering one-on-one consultations to help faculty, students and alumni develop concepts for entrepreneurial projects. Speaking of the crucial importance of artists’ work, Lerner commented, “We so need artists with their ability to come at problems from unexpected perspectives, ­­and we need artists with their fearlessness­—to not only become central players in the complex world we currently inhabit, but to be the imaginers and inventors of the future.”

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.