Joint Youth Movement, one the Arts startups that won at the MICA Up/Start Venture Competition. Image courtesy of Maryland Institute College of Art
BALTIMORE— Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) continues to be innovative in fostering advanced art education in the United States. Several weeks ago, the school’s graduate programs were ranked by US News & World Report in the top 10 of Master of Fine Arts programs in the United States. This year’s evaluation saw three of MICA’s graduate programs moving up in rankings. Sculpture, painting/drawing and photography did very well. The college’s graphic design program, which has been ranked as one of the best for many years, remains as number three in the country. With these new positions, MICA has become one of the nation’s top fine arts graduate schools in the United States.
In spite of the success recorded this year, the college is not resting on its laurels or the quest to become the best art school in the United States. As part of that effort, the college had its MICA Up/Start Venture Competition last week. The contest is the result of a recent grant. Early this year, MICA received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. The objective of the grant was for MICA to “launch the development of the college-wide entrepreneurship initiative that will capitalize on the unique talents of the college’s students and recent graduates.”
MICA Up/Start Venture Competition was the college’s first pitch and start-up contest for students, graduates and alumni who are launching or growing businesses. An initiative guided by award-winning business owner and serial entrepreneur Monyka Berrocosa, the contest was highly contested as the different art business ventures presented their ideas to the esteemed judges. The panel of judges included Thibault Manekin, co-founder of Seawall Development; Tracey Halverson ’98, president and chief visionary officer, Fastspot; James D. Wright, co-trustee, Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation; Michelle Mayer, managing director at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group; Michael Binko, founder/CEO of Startup Maryland; Demian Costa, managing partner, Sagamore Ventures; Arlene Thayer, executive vice president and COO, AAAMP at Katz Abosch; Dianna Toruella Gaines, managing partner and founder, Tu Casa Development Group LLC; and Kevin Apperson, chief information officer, Maxim Healthcare Services.
At the end of the presentations, judges awarded four teams up to $100,000 total in investment funding. Audience member also had the opportunity to select their favorite venture for a $5,000 People’s Choice Award.
MICA UP/START VENTURE COMPETITION WINNERS
TNP Studios: Founded by Jay Jackson ’16 (MPS in the Business of Art + Design), Micah Payne, Terrence Carpenter and Jack Rous, TNP Studios received $30,000 in investment funding. TNP Studios, LLC is a media company focused on talk shows that focus primarily on film, gaming and politics. It provides on-demand programming that aims to entertain as well as inform its audience through engaging and meaningful discussion.
MODERNature: Founded by Julie Buisson ’15 (MBA/MA in Design Leadership) and Mark Verdecia, MODERNature received $30,000 in investment funding. MODERNature is a company that specializes in the development of sustainable growing methods for use in cities. They use a mix of human centered design and biomimicry to create technologically-driven agricultural solutions that are truly ecologically minded.
Two Bolts Studios: Founded by Sam Acuff ’15 (General Fine Arts BFA) and Brendan Choi ’16 (Interdisciplinary Sculpture BFA), Two Bolts Studios received $25,000 in investment funding. Two Bolts Studios is a small fabricating shop that focuses on handmade furniture that incorporates reclaimed materials and industrial design. They want to make handcrafted furniture more accessible and bring work back to artisans and aspiring craftsmen.
Joint Youth Movement: Founded by Juansebastian Serrano ’16 (Painting BFA), Renz Balagtas ’14 (General Fine Arts BFA) and Sam Rietenbach ’16 (General Fine Arts BFA), Joint Youth Movement received $15,000 in investment funding. The Joint Youth Movement’s (JYM’s) mission is to positively impact cultural and creative exchange in Baltimore City by uniting and promoting emerging artists and creatives in a professional and fair (equal access) manner, and in a socially conscious way. Their vision is to establish themselves as the curator and retail location of choice for the emerging artists and clients in Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Pi: Founded by Jordan Bradley ’16 (Interactive Arts BFA), received $5,000 in investment funding as the People’s Choice Award winner. Pi is an entirely new kind of visual day planning app for creative people. It helps users set manageable plans for the day, without sacrificing health and wellness.