For students and entrepreneurs, the i-lab provides foundational learning as the educational entry point for exploring entrepreneurship and innovation.
The Deans’ Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge calls upon visionary and entrepreneurial students to develop venture-based solutions that provide the organizational infrastructure necessary for arts and artists to create, thrive, and maximize their societal impact.
The Challenge draws on the combined expertise of the Harvard Business School, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Silk Road Project, a nonprofit arts organization affiliated with Harvard University and led by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. We encourage creative solutions to this challenge that are not bound to specific focus areas and at any stage of development. Suggested areas include, but are not limited to the topics described below.
2014 Challenge Topics
Funding and Audiences
Artistic production has long been funded by public funds and/or private philanthropic contributions. However, both sources have been declining in recent years. Economic difficulties, changing demographics, and an increased number of available alternatives have led to dwindling markets for artistic and cultural production, further exacerbating the economic stress faced by artists.
We would like to encourage organizations that; help artists become more financially sustainable and self-sufficient; create and educate audiences; or construct marketplaces for artistic works.
Broad Cultural Impact
Exposure to and participation in the arts leads to tangible positive outcomes in communities and, by extension, in the broader society. Visionary artists are therefore uniquely poised to innovatively address societal needs by tackling recalcitrant social, educational, and cultural issues.
We seek ventures motivated by the desire to apply the transformative potential of art to enrich local communities and effect positive change in the world.
Expanding Horizons and Access
We live in exciting times. Change - socio-economic, cultural, and technological is rapid and pervasive. These changes have created opportunities as well as challenges for artists looking to broaden their impact through their work.
Ideas for organizations that enable individual artists and artistic fields to expand their impact in society by harnessing these changes and developments for the creation, exhibition, and dissemination of artistic work are welcomed.
Artist Services and Support
The notion of an art world implies that artists are embedded in a co-operative web of providers of support services (ranging from making and selling paints and instruments to bringing art to market) that help create, promote, and circulate the art. At the same time, specialized art worlds can create institutional structures that restrict various art forms.
We are interested in promoting organizations that enrich and enhance artists' work by providing support and services, or by generating opportunities for collaboration and cooperation across traditional artistic boundaries.
We’re at a moment in time when new ways of thinking about business and culture can have a profound impact on society...If artists and artistic organizations are to thrive, we have to think about new models. The ideas the students have presented as part of the challenge are a significant step in the right direction.”