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School of Music


  • SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge
  • SAVVY Chamber Comp

The SAVVY Experience

SAVVY is an immersive, weeklong professional development workshop designed to help artists and organizations achieve greater success.


SAVVY is not about passively observing lectures but rather learning through doing. Thanks in part to our rigorous curriculum, team achievements are truly staggering, and attendees emerge empowered as the best versions of themselves. If this much personal growth and tangible achievement can occur in just one week, imagine what might be accomplished in a year!


Before You Arrive

Prior to SAVVY, participants have just one thing to prepare: a one-minute "elevator pitch" describing an entrepreneurial arts business.

Anything arts-related is fair game as long as it is a new venture and has potential to generate income while offering value to society. The ideal proposal is innovative, intriguing, and something that excites you.

If you've never pitched before, worry not. About a month before SAVVY you will receive a packet with preparation strategies.

Opening Night: May 19

SAVVY kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with an opening reception. A multidisciplinary Innovation Showcase follows, featuring finalists from the 2018 International SAVVY Chamber Competition.

Ignition Day: May 20

Our first day begins with a number of interactive games and activities that teach lessons on big thinking and collaboration, offering success strategies for challenges to come.

During The Perfect Pitch, attendees have 60-seconds each to share their arts-business ideas.

The Dinner Soiree promotes community building, as participants learn more about proposals while enjoying delicious South Carolina cuisine. By meal's end, we vote on favorite concepts.

The nine top vote winners are deemed founders, and these proposals represent the starting point for teams.

Design Days:  May 21-23

Founders re-pitch, and then hire a “CEO” and other "employees" from an array of backgrounds, each charged with specific responsibilities. (SAVVY boasts a 100% employment rate!)

Each day, several hours of TeamTime allow groups to build their projects from the ground up, tackling crucial challenges like concept design, marketing, finance and strategic planning. Collectively working to solve problems is where much deep
learning occurs.

Additional learning opportunities:

  • Overtures - Keynote presentations by our world class Thought Leaders.
  • Business Schools - Interactive classes where assignments are explained, strategized and critiqued.
  • Consultations - Individual teams coached by SAVVY faculty.
  • Daily Danzes - Participatory sessions using a variety of artforms (music, dance, theatre, visual art, etc.) to teach lessons on personal, professional, and organizational success.
  • Expert Expo - Meet with industry experts to examine a variety of invaluable career, business and life topics.

Prep Day: May 24

Teams prepare a pitch and exhibit to represent their business. In addition to training sessions, they are paired with a pitch coach and design consultant.

Reveal Day: May 25

During the SAVVY Reveal, teams pitch projects and share exhibits. Think "Shark Tank" meets the arts. This public event is live-streamed, so you may share the experience with friends, family, and colleagues back home.

Over lunch, audience members (including remote viewers!) vote on their favorite venture, while participants network with VIP leaders from the arts, entrepreneurship and economic development realms. Judges offer feedback and prizes during an Awards Ceremony.

Afternoon activities focus on reflection and next steps. Laughter and tears typically accompany our bittersweet closing rituals.

While SAVVY officially concludes at 6:00 p.m., please join us for the Savilly Ever After Party.

Bonus Day: May 26

SAVVY-U, our optional bonus day, provides a concrete framework for applying SAVVY lessons directly to your career or organization over the 12-months that follow. Click here to learn more.