Art Corgi – Web Startup for Custom Works


Art Corgi (Corgi, yes.. the breed of dog) has created a fun and easy to use online platform for requesting custom works from students and emerging artists. You can buy existing works of theirs or collaborate on something new and unique. 

Advertisements Lets You Volunteer to Pay Off Loans! Would a Social Enterprise Model Like This Also Work for Artists?


If you have a student loan (and we’re guessing you do—the researchers at say seven of 10 college students who graduated in 2013 owed money on a student loan, averaging nearly $30,000 in debt each) or would love to help others knock down those payments, you’ll want to know about SponsorChange.

Here’s how it works: Graduates with student loan debt sign up to volunteer at organizations that need manpower. The grads help their community by putting in hours toward that organization’s goals. Then donors who have also signed up at SponsorChange reimburse volunteers by paying down their student loans. So the donors help the nonprofit get free manpower rather than making a traditional donation. The volunteers get help with their student loans—and gain useful work experience along the way.


What would happen if the artists and host-funders adopted this model? Many artists already volunteer their work — what if conservatory/art school loans could be funded the same way?

Patatap by Google


Laptop as an instrument? Learning synesthesia? Thats the hope of Google’s new keyboard symphony program called Patatap.  The interesting experiment here will be to see if colors, letters, and symbols can offer more than reading music can –and might it contribute to perfect pitch? Each letter of the alphabet gets mapped to a unique sound and a playful animation. Holding down a key plays both the sound and the accompanying visual on repeat; smashing several at once layers everything into more complex soundscapes. When you’re getting bored with one set of sounds, you can tap the space bar to pull up a new collection to jam with.  Produced by Google, they make money from this enterprise by selling your preferences and by promoting their own google “chrome” browser within their app, which leads to advertising revenue.  In the future, they’re looking to make a more expansive subscription model of the program which they will make direct revenue from.



Founded by Jesse Dylan (Bob Dylan’s son), Wondros works in service of great ideas — both established and on the rise. WondrosLABS develop and launch ideas that will change culture, taking concepts from scribbles on napkins to apps, products and companies designed to serve the greater good. Basically, its a production company that focuses on branding, multi-media development and commercial/advertising work.  Whats cool about them is that they take really, complex businesses that might take hours to understand and they communicate the companies essence through an artform – whether its music, photography, etc.





Art & Culture at Iceland’s new Reykjavik Harpa Centre

While you may not say that Harpa is a lean venture by any means, it is an art centre that is literally a landmark in and of itself.  Aside from how stunning it is, what struck me about Harpa was their culturally relevant programming and wide ranging experiences they offer their community and visitors from all over the world.  For example, they have a Northern Lights Sailing package from the centre, where artists perform for passengers during the journey. In addition, a guide tells you about the natural phenomenon and the surrounding landscape over hot chocolate and warm cinnamon buns. They also offer warm overalls for all passengers.  The art center is non-profit and largely government funding (like $160 million), but they have immensely creative ways to capture back income.
 A bookstore & florist, a catering service, a danish bistro, an Icelandic fine dining restaurant (seal is on the menu), a nordic design and gift store, and music store with personal recommendations from staff.

Next time you ask yourself, who in the world does this… There is a good chance that Harpa probably does.


PlayWorks is Changing the Recess Concept in Elementary School

Playworks is a social enterprise that seeks to leverage the time schools spend on recess and turn it into fun and active learning. In many cases, the arts are integral in Playworks’ strategy to get everyone included and participating together.

In reality, we know recess can turn even the nicest of kids into little monsters, and behavior problems are particularly acute in poorer school districts. Playworks remakes play time in 318 elementary schools by providing them with a full-time “coach” who organizes games and other structured activities during recess and afterschool programs. The schools pay $25,500 for each coach, many of whom are members of the AmeriCorps federal service program. Nearly 130,000 kids have access to a Playworks coach. 

Managing partnerships and working within the current infrastructure of schools seems to be a huge success factor for this startup social enterprise.