Virtual Innovation Challenge

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC), partnering with Beechwood Arts & Innovation, invites all member artists and their colleagues to the 2020 Virtual Innovation Challenge.



The winners of the Virtual Innovation Challenge were announced Monday, July 20.

First Prize: Trace Burroughs for his Virtual Reality Gallery incorporating crowd sourcing software for interactivity and payment facility. This gallery will enable artists to create a virtual exhibit or work and offer it for sale. Visitors can gather in a virtual space, commenting and asking questions of the artist.

Second Prize: Joseph Dermody for his “A Piece of the Puzzle,” a new kind of art experience – a large cohesive painting, created on 55 tiles, each one sold and shipped for $55. All painting purchasers can then connect with each other and comment on their tile on a central website, where they can recreate the original composite painting.

Third prize: Adelka Polak and her Sova Dance and Puppet Theater for “Engaging Children with Puppetry during Challenging Times,” an integrated teaching tool including an online workshop where educators, parents, counselors and teaching artists learn puppeteering skills together, supplemented with one-on-one lessons. The workshop includes how to make puppets quickly for conflict resolution or story recall and participants regroup at the end of the month to share successes, challenges and hopes for the future with this art form.

The judges were: Holly Danger (Danger Gallery); Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito (Beechwood Art & Innovation); Peter van Heerden (The Quick Center); and Cheryl Williams (CAFC Board and CBS News).

All three projects will be included in a live broadcast-interview produced by Beechwood Events in the fall.

Recognizing the challenge of the current crisis of infection and social isolation, and the resultant difficulty of presenting artistic expression, the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County offers this contest as an incentive for artists, musicians and performers, working in all media, to create new forms and formats – innovative, interactive online programs (exhibits, talks, lectures, classes, dance/theater/music experiences) that can generate income and provide possible new forms for sustainability.

Submitted work will be judged, and awarded points, on its ability to:

  • be innovative in its presentation, clearly showing the use of art and digital formats in a new way;
  • be interactive – engaging its audience in ways that includes feedback and interactivity with its audience; and 
  • incorporate an ability to generate income for the artist(s).

Artists may develop and submit their work using any digital platform that has a URL.

Applicants must be a current member of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. Non-members may join the CAFC before submitting an application. Collaborations are encouraged; only the applicant need be a CAFC member.

We are offering prizes of $2,000, $1250 and $750 for the top three submissions as judged by a jury of practitioners in the field. Jurors are: Holly Danger (Danger Gallery); Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito (Beechwood Art & Innovation); Peter van Heerden (The Quick Center); and Cheryl Williams (CAFC Board and CBS News).

The winning works will be shown on a special presentation of Beechwood’s interactive virtual The WE Events.

Submit to by deadline of July 6:

  • Name and email address of submitting artist(s) 
  • Names of any collaborators
  • URL of performance/presentation.
  • A brief statement (150 words or less) of how the project is innovative, interactive and can generate income.

This program is made possible through the generous support of an anonymous benefactor.


Celebrating passion for the arts and dedication to education