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.

Sign up for the ArtsUpdate to receive event announcements!


Sabrina Wilensky
Manager of Grants and Programs
Office of the Vice President for the Arts


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!


  • January 8-23: Online team registration
  • January 25, 4:30-5:30pm: Kick-Off Event
    • Hear from arts innovators and receive your prompt
  • January 27: Team check-ins and feedback sessions
  • January 28, 5:30-7:30pm: Presentations and Judging

All events will take place at Roble Arts Gym (Roble Gym, Room 116, 375 Santa Teresa St)

Participant Eligibility

  • Open only to currently enrolled Stanford students
  • Students must register as a team (2-5 students)
    • At least one team member must be a current Stanford undergraduate
  • At least two team members must be available to attend the final presentations and judging

Don't have a team? Come to the kick-off event to join up with another group!

Winning Projects


First Place: NEU

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


Second Place: Projectors

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

Hackathon Judges

OUR MISSION: We believe opera is a uniquely compelling, entertaining and emotionally thrilling art form.  Our mission is to bring together growing audiences to experience opera’s transformative power.

OUR VISION: To crack the code on producing big art in the 21st century.

OUR PERSONALITY: Creative; Bold; Inspiring; Welcoming; Excellent

SF Ballet’s mission is to share our joy of dance with the widest possible audience, both locally and around the world, and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in our School.

We seek to enhance our position as one of the world’s finest dance companies through our vitality, innovation, and diversity, and through our uncompromising commitment to artistic excellence based in the classical ballet tradition.

Stanford Live presents a wide range of the finest performances from around the world fostering a vibrant learning community and providing distinctive experiences through the performing arts. With its home at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford Live is simultaneously a public square, a sanctuary, and a lab, drawing on the breadth and depth of Stanford University to connect performance to the significant issues, ideas, and discoveries of our time.


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


Oct. 27th 12:30-1:30pm, Roble Arts Gym: Info-session and team matching.

Nov. 3rd 4:30-6:30pm, Roble Arts Gym: Kick-Off Event. Hear from arts innovators Gary Yuan Mao of TOTO Express and Dadi Akhavan of numberF and receive your prompt

Nov. 6th 5-7pm, Roble Arts Gym: Presentations

Project Mentors

Gary Mao

TOTO Express  

Gary is the co-founder of TOTO Express, an organization that seeks to redefine the way artisans monetize their work by digitizing the entire value chain. TOTO Express builds tools to allow artisans to take full control of how their art gets used, determine how they get paid, and simplify the movement of goods. But prior to TOTO Express, Gary has built a variety of ventures from food businesses in the US and China to tearing apart old buses in India to create mobile classrooms. There were many failures along the way, but Gary has lived to tell the tale.

Originally from the Silicon Valley in California, Gary is a recent MBA graduate from Stanford University where he was awarded their Social Innovation Fellowship. His current organization has also been honored by various organizations such as Echoing Green and Halcyon Fellowship.

Dadi Akhavan

On a continuous mission to create palpable social impact through digital advancement, Founder & CEO, Dadi Akhavan, is an accomplished entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience at the forefront of innovation. Even before the Internet, Dadi was first to 'digitize' works of art from the world's leading museums, including the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London, through creating a software product called ArtScreens.

Most recently, Dadi was the co-founder and president of E-centives, a pioneer of digital marketing technologies, where he helped lead the company to an IPO, global operations, and several corporate acquisitions. Dadi is an avid collector of contemporary art, and a supporter of numerous arts organizations, galleries and artists internationally. He received his MBA and BA in Economics, both from Georgetown University, and speaks five languages.

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 and Spring 2015: 72 Hour Musical Project


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. Each participating team will showcase their work in front of students a panel of Bay Area theater judges.

Register for 2019 Arts Hackathon