Arts Hackathon

Challenge your creativity and dive into opportunities to imagine new opportunities in the arts--no coding experience required!

Arts Hackathons celebrate interdisciplinary innovation. All students are encouraged to participate regardless of arts and/or technical backgrounds. 

Past challenges have included the 72 Hour Musical Project, interactive tools for the Anderson Collection, and new concepts for consuming and distribution art.

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Sabrina Wilensky 2018


Sabrina Wilensky (she/her)
Director of Program Operations and Project Management
Office of the Vice President for the Arts

Past Events

Winter 2019: Audience Experience


Using technology and new media, transform the audience experience in traditional venues to deepen the overall value of attending live performances at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Emphasis will be on the front of house (FOH) experience--what the audience experiences before and after the show (and, in many cases, during the intermission). Solutions should appeal to new audiences yet not alienate existing audiences.

The winning team of the 2019 Arts Hackathon will receive $750!


Winning Projects


First Place: NEU

Sonia Garcia (Design Impact, '20)
Tulsi Desai (Design Impact, '20)
Levi Lian (Computer Science, '21)
Andy Jiang (LDT, '19)

Who are our parents before our births? I wanted to use painting to meditate on loss concretized as memory.

Second Place: Projectors

Cole Sohn (Computer Science, '22)
Vivian Auduong (Undeclared, '22)

Fall 2017: Rethinking the art world


Imagine a future for the consumption and distribution of art. It could be an arts platform, system, space, event, or more! We are interested in both your big idea, and a feasible plan for the first implementation steps (i.e. what would the first year or first month look like?). Illustrate your pie-in-the-sky and then break it down into a smaller scale pilot program.

The final concepts were presented to a panel of judges from Google TiltBrushTOTO ExpressnumberF, and Kickstarter.

The winning team of this no-coding-needed Arts Hackathon received $500 and mentorship for their project

Spring 2017: Anderson Collection at Stanford University


Using the Anderson Collection at Stanford University (including both temporary and permanent works on display) as inspiration, you are challenged to build a new interactive tool to help a wide variety of visitors dynamically engage with the Anderson. Projects can be web-based or an iOS compatible app and should utilize the Anderson’s current branding and visual identity. Teams are encouraged to explore opportunities for engagement with all facets of the collection—from the artwork on display or in storage to the building and surrounding environment to the museum’s operations (and beyond).

Winning Projects

Team Caught Hackathon Anderson_opening

Team Caught

A museum guide mobile app targeted blending written and audio content.

Daniel Cai ('19), Vivian Xiao ('19), Marianne Dang ('17), Eric Wang ('20), Michael Fang ('17)

Arts Hackathon 2017 Winner


iOS app that encourages critical thinking and direct interaction with art through emotional engagement

Jessica Ouyang ('19) and Thomas Clavelli ('19)

Winter 2017: 72 Hour Musical


Teams of 2-5 students will create the beginnings of a new musical over the course of 72 hours.Each team will create and present one scene, one song, and one dance for an original musical based on the following prompt:

Conceptualize an original musical based on a piece of visual art located on campus. Check out the Stanford Arts locations on the campus arts map as well as the Harmony House, community centers, and dorm murals.

Teams will be assigned a mentor from the winning team of the 2015 72-Hour Musical Project, Gravity - A New(tonian) Musical, who will provide support and guidance throughout the process. Each participating team will showcase their work in front of students a panel of Bay Area theater judges.

The first and second place teams will be able to choose one of the following prizes:

  • A trip to New York City to further develop the musical
  • Tickets to the San Francisco tour of Hamilton


Andy Donald, Associate Artistic Director at the American Conservatory Theater

Gretchen Feyer, Managing Director of Berkeley Playhouse

The Kilbanes, Oakland-based theatrical rock band


72 Hour Musical Winners, 2015: Joel Chapman, Weston Gaylord, Matt Herrero, Jessia Hoffman, and Ken Savage

First Place: Towers

Camilla Franklin (’17)
Jackie Emerson (’17)
Jenna Shapiro (’17)
Nikhil Ramnarayan ('17)

Inspiration: The Moon, the Sun, the Tower (La luna, il sole, la torre) by Arnaldo Pomodoro (1955) at the Cantor Arts Center.

Second Place: Resident Earnest

Clarissa Scranage-Carter (’19)
Anastasio Nikolas Angelopoulos (’20)
Joss Saltzman (’20)
Danielle Stagger (’19)
Claire Robinson (’19)

Inspiration: Three Man Patrol by Deborah Oropallo (1993) at the Anderson Collection.

Spring 2015: 72 Hour Musical


Teams of 2-5 students will create the beginnings of a new musical over the course of 72 hours. The musical must be inspired by one of the following prompts:

  1. Create a prequel or twist on a well-known story
  2. Tell the story of the life and times of a famous historical figure
  3. Explain the life of the subjects or characters in a famous painting or photograph

Each team will create and present one scene, one song, and one dance. The winning project will receive a $5000 grant towards any original theatrical work or workshop to be put on within the next year.


Sarah Curran, Programming Director at Stanford Arts Institute

Michael Friedman, Lyricist and Composer

Chad Jones, Bay Area Theater Critic

Madeleine Oldham, Dramaturg and Director of The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep

Matthew Tiews, Associate Dean for the Advancement of the Arts at Stanford University

Winning Project: Gravity, a New(tonian) Musical

Gravity a New(tonian) Musical at the 2016 TheatreWorks New Works Festival
Gravity a New(tonian) Musical at the 2016 TheatreWorks New Works Festival