Arts Entrepreneurial Happenings at SMU Meadows

Check out what some of our students in the department of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship are running and developing, here at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts.

Angie Reisch and The Catalyst Art Movement Catalyst Arts Movement

The Catalyst Arts Movement is changing the way the diverse population of Dallas connects and thrives through the power of public art – one mural at a time. Catalyst art movement has a team of three women, representing three universities. Angie Reisch is one of these co-leaders of Catalyst and will be a sophomore this coming academic year. Catalyst has already started making a difference locally through their “Coffee and Creativity” program at the downtown J. Erik Jonsson Central library. The program, which was implemented in March 2014 in partnership with the library’s existing Homeless Engagement Initiative, caters to the library’s homeless customers. “Coffee and Creativity” is aimed at opening up dialogue between library staff, patrons of the library, and the homeless population by using open art classes as a common platform for the diverse groups to connect on. In Summer 2015, Catalyst will be partnering with the creative innovators at Big Thought for the second annual Dallas City of Learning to create conversation among youth all over the city of Dallas and create murals based on what kids think makes Dallas theirs. This is really what Catalyst is all about, says Reisch: “creating social change and connecting people, one project and one voice at a time.”

Sarah Israel and Bridge the GapSarah Israel

Sarah Israel is the President of Bridge the Gap Chamber Players, a nonprofit formed out of Meadows in 2011. Bridge the Gap is currently working on a project called South Dallas Strings, which works with schools and community centers in South Dallas to offer an after school chamber music program. They hope to increase literacy, graduation rates and decrease conduct violations amongst their students as a result of South Dallas Strings. Bridge the gap connects independent music ensembles with the larger community. Click on Sarah’s video to learn more about what she and her Meadows student colleagues are doing.

Sterling Gavinski and The Happy Alright the happy alright

Sterling Gavinski is lead singer in the band The Happy Alright. This arts entrepreneur tours (with his band) regularly. The Happy Alright has received considerable press and has a loyal following. This past Spring (2015), the band embarked on their first major U.S. tour, playing in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, and Texas. Check out Sterling Gavinski and The Happy Alright. You can download the band’s new EP, Esperando, on iTunesAmazon, and Bandcamp or stream it on Spotify. Learn more click HERE.

Two separate students (and their startups) seek to redefine how music is shared, listened to and purchased.

Andrew Burgess and Echo Big Ideas Portraits, Andrew Burgess

According to Burgess, “The music industry’s model is broken because, with streaming websites and illegal downloads, artists can’t make enough money to keep making the music we love. The streaming model is great for listeners because it allows them to listen to music for free, but it’s awful for musicians because they are making little to no return on their songs. Echo solves this by financially incentivizing listeners to purchase and share music, rather than just stream it for free. In our model when you buy a song, and then get a friend to buy it, you make a percentage of the money that your friend spent on that song. The network marketing model continues at a decreasing rate of return for 6 levels of referrals (up to 10 referrals per person per level). Essentially, you can get paid to find and share music if you buy it instead of just listening for free. Our unique referral system, along with artist-specific subscriptions that provide exclusive content, should be enough to get people interested in purchasing music again. We believe that if listeners are able to make money for finding new music, while giving artists more royalties than any other service, we can revitalize a broken music industry.” Learn more about Burgess and Echo (possibly rebranding the company as Tune Tornado) and check out their new website.

Kellam Witherington and Ripple Kellam Witherington

Founder of Ripple, Kellam Witherington, when asked about his startup, he said, “Ripple is, in essence, a local, real-time music billboard and streaming radio service for your community. Based off of the popular location-based, anonymous message board, YikYak, Ripple intends to serve a similar function, but instead of gossip and recycled Reddit jokes, our content will be your community’s favorite songs. Ripple allows its users to anonymously post their favorite songs to a communal billboard that draws its content from the posts of users near to your geo-location. When you post a song (or “drop” a song, to use our lingo), it appears at the top of your communal billboard, and subsequent “re-drops” of the song continuously move it back to the top of the list. If your “drop” gets “re-dropped” by other users in your community, you accumulate amplitude points that identify you as an “influencer” within your community and allow you to “drop” more content, as you have demonstrated an ability to spot popular songs early on. “Drops” cost amplitude points, so make sure you only “drop” content that you think people will like. It’s a little like investing in the songs you love. Post a song that goes absolutely viral, and you could be identified as having the most influential music taste in the area.” Check out the Ripple website here. Also check out Kellam’s recent interview.

These are just a few of the exciting companies and startups that are being run (and developed) by students at Meadows School of the Arts (Department of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship) at SMU

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