Business Plans Enhanced By Creative Mediuum

I was really happy to see that MIT required the projects submitted to their annual $100K Entrepreneurship Competition to have the arts at the core.

The impetus for making this a requirement:

“came to Magee when he was sitting in on business pitches and noticed that many of them could have used an artist’s touch. “This isn’t just about businesses that need a graphic designer or have a beautiful website,” he says. “It’s about businesses with arts at their core.”

The committee for the competition received 40 submissions, but only half met the requirement of having arts at their core.

This reminded me about a post I did on the competition that University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management held last year where the teams including design students offered a more compelling and engaging pitch than the MBA students.

It reinforces the value those with creative degrees bring to business and points to the necessity to train creatives how to bring that value to businesses.

The winner of the MIT contest was a site called Mediuum and described as “a sort of iTunes for art, providing access to digitized art works for the masses.”

According to the team’s project page,

The art market is a $40 billion annual market, but is riddled with problems that alienate its largest potential consumer base. Digital consumers are habituated to the instant access and gratification they enjoy with other cultural content, like music and movies. By comparison, finding art they like is expensive and time consuming, and there is no digital solution.

Enter Mediuum:

Mediuum lets people discover, display and enjoy the art they love most, on digital screens. We combine an online marketplace of exceptionally high quality work by the world’s most talented artists with a platform that allows people to display that art on any screen. Our solution is creating a new online market for art discovery and consumption.

I visited the site and was a little disappointed. The only way to get on is the request an invitation. My first thought was that this was a reflection of the elitism that everyone accused the arts of perpetuating and an aspect of the alienation the project page referenced. The only way to access the art is to meet the approval of a gatekeeper.

I submitted a request for invitation and received a message that they would get back to me. Over 24 hours later, I still haven’t received a reply.

Now that being said, there have been many new online services that have required you to receive an invitation during the early stages. This has been the case with many Google products, including Gmail. In time, Mediuum may be easily available to all.

Or it could just be taking the problems of bricks and mortar establishments to the Internet.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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