University of Vermont

Young Alum Turns Business School Project into Professional Passion

Art on Board hoping to win national contest

Hear Ben Weigher '13 talk about the organization he co-founded, modeled on a class project from his student days at UVM.

What started as an entrepreneurship class project is now a national effort to promote community-centered initiatives focused on positivity and youth involvement within the action sports and arts communities. Art on Board, co-founded by Ben Weigher ’13, is embarking on a national tour with events in New York, Seattle, Denver and Burlington to raise funds for Burton’s CHILL Foundation.

The Art on Board national tour kicks off on Thursday, July 31 at the Paper Box in Brooklyn with a silent auction for custom-designed Burton snowboards, raffle prizes and giveaways, food and drinks, a live DJ set, and live screen printing with the CHILL Foundation. The snowboards on auction have been crafted by select AoB artists, who will also showcase pieces from their personal collections at the event.

Weigher adopted the event format from the “Make a Difference Project” he completed with UVM classmates Tim Andreasen, who remains actively involved in AoB, Todd Kinneston, Michael Massa and Eric Laine in their Entrepreneurial Leadership course created by Pramodita Sharma, Sanders Professor for Family Business. A requirement of the course project was a fundraising strategy, which Weigher has extended beyond the national tour events by reaching out to potential donors and partners, and by participating in national contests like the one sponsored by KIND Snacks. AoB has entered a video in hopes of winning $10,000 in support from KIND Snacks. The video with the most votes by the end of June wins; vote for AoB on KIND Snacks' website.

"We knew we wanted to continue the project after graduation but initially weren't sure how to make it happen," said Weigher, who moved to New York City after graduation. "After making a winter trip to Burlington to get some advice from Professor Sharma, I decided it had to be all or nothing. Six months later, things are really starting to take off."

AoB supports action sports and arts activities for youth because, according to its website, both teach “lessons of persistence, healthy risk-taking, self-esteem, friendly competition, creative expression, and community building” and provide a “phenomenal environment of community, creativity, belonging, friendship and camaraderie.”