Susan Robb’s “Wild Times” Explores Wildness as a Geographic Ideal and a State of Mind

Susan Robb, Wild Times

On April 17, Susan Robb (2013 Emerging Fields) will embark on a five-month adventure from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. This marks the culmination of her Creative Capital-supported project, Wild Times, which merges new media, social engagement and a 2,650-mile hike to explore wildness as a geographic ideal and a state of mind. I connected with Susan to learn more about this project and her preparations for the trek.

Jenny Gill: Wild Times centers around the importance of untouched wilderness and the notion of “wildness” as an antidote to the stress and structure of modern life. You live in a major city (Seattle). Do you struggle to stay connected to the wild in your day-to-day life?

Susan Robb: The “wild” I’m most interested in is the internal space, the interior dialogue, the autonomous sense of self. In the same way that geographic wild spaces are endangered, I believe the internal, personal ones are endangered as well. A person can feel the struggle and stress of modern life regardless of whether they live in a city or not. Continue reading

Photo Gallery: Southern Exposure Workshop, Supported by Tequila Herradura

Creative Capital workshop participants learn about Strategic Planning and Fundraising

Creative Capital workshop participants learn about strategic planning and fundraising

On January 26th, our Professional Development Program leaders traveled to San Francisco to teach a workshop on Strategic Planning & Funding Your Work at Southern Exposure. The workshop was part of a series generously underwritten by Tequila Herradura.

We always hope that our workshops propel our artists forward in their careers, so we were thrilled when participant Rhonda Holberton told us, “This was by far the most transformative day I’ve experienced. I will leave today with such a different perspective on my practice and goals. It’s like looking up and realizing there is a sky.” Our thanks to Tequila Herradura, Southern Exposure and our wonderful workshop leaders for making these kinds of experiences possible for artists nationwide! Continue reading

Video: Mario Ybarra Jr. at the Creative Time Summit & the ReMODEL 2 Sculpture Symposium

Mario Ybarra, Jr. presents at the 2013 Creative Time Summit.

Creative Capital Artist Mario Ybarra, Jr. (2008 Visual Arts) had a banner year in 2013. He was a featured speaker at the 2013 Creative Time Summit, had a solo show at Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles, and his Creative Capital project, Curry Corndog Stand, premiered at the San Jose Museum of Art as part of a major exhibition, Around the Table: food, creativity, community. He had an acclaimed installation as a part of ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid and a residency with a solo exhibition at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. He moved his art collective, Slanguage, to a bigger space to accommodate more artists. Ybarra received praise over the past year from New York Times Magazine blog, The Los Angeles Times,, Art in AmericaArtInfo and Flashart.

Congrats on all that you’ve accomplished, Mario! We can’t wait to hear what 2014 holds in store for you. Continue reading

Jesse Sugarmann’s “We Build Excitement” Commemorates the Rise and Fall of the American Auto Industry

Jesse Sugarmann, Production still, "We Build Excitement (Pontiac, MI)," digital video, 2013

Jesse Sugarmann, Production still, “We Build Excitement (Pontiac, MI),” digital video, 2013

Jesse Sugarmann (2012 Film/Video) premieres his Creative Capital-supported project, We Build Excitement, with a solo exhibition at Southern Exposure, opening April 4, 2014. The exhibition presents a series of performances and videos examining the evolution of the American auto industry as a parallel to shifting American identity.

Two years ago, Sugarmann began opening unsanctioned Pontiac dealerships in decommissioned car dealership locations across the U.S. He activates these shuttered businesses as sites of celebration, honoring both the American auto-worker and our fraught, intimate relationships to cars themselves. Assembling temporary modernist monuments with Pontiac cars, Sugarmann gives form to the precarious nature of the auto industry. In video works, he documents laid-off assembly line workers and car accident victims recreating the movements of their former jobs and crashes, respectively. Their deadpan choreography forms a moving homage to the mundane and the traumatic moments in both the birth and death of the automobile.

I connected with Jesse to learn more about this ongoing body of work.

Jenny Gill: Talk to me about Pontiac. When did you start making work about the auto industry, and what is it about Pontiac specifically that you’re interested in?

Jesse Sugarmann: Cars have been of primary interest to me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in rural Connecticut, far away from pretty much everything. I felt really isolated there, almost trapped. So, as a kid, distance was always this enemy, something between me and what I wanted to get to. And cars, to me, were this obvious antidote to distance. I became fascinated with cars from an early age. And it stuck with me, this idea of cars as freeing objects, purveyors of mobility and autonomy. Continue reading

Arts & Science Council of Charlotte & ArtSi host their first Spanish-language workshop in Charlotte, NC

Ela Troyano teaches a Spanish-language workshop at BetaLocal in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2012

Ela Troyano teaches a Spanish-language workshop at BetaLocal in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2012

We’re so pleased to announce that the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte & ArtSi will be co-hosting their first Spanish-languge Professional Development Workshop in Charlotte, NC, this May. The Arts & Science Council of Charlotte first hosted a Creative Capital workshop in 2007. Since then, participants in Charlotte have referred to the knowledge shared at our workshops as ”well rounded, articulate, truly helpful information,” and we can’t wait to teach more of that useful advice to the Latino community in Charlotte, NC.

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luciana achugar’s “OTRO TEATRO”: In Search of a New Kind of Theater

Photo by Matt Lambros.

Photo by Matt Lambros.

luciana achugar (2013 Performing Arts) presents the New York premiere of her Creative Capital-supported project, OTRO TEATRO, at New York Live Arts, April 2-5, 2014. Placed metaphorically in the ruins of a collapsed theater, OTRO TEATRO is achugar’s current search for another kind of theater; a ritual of becoming; an occasion for communion. OTRO TEATRO, a solo work created and performed by achugar, is a dark rite of passage from destruction to rebuilding. It is a dance that is meant to be felt as it is seen, giving voice to the arcane spirit and desire of our uncivilized bodies.   Continue reading

Affordable Care Act Tips for Artists: Don’t Miss the March 31 Deadline!

VIDEO: “Every Artist Insured: Navigating the Affordable Care Act with Renata Marinaro.” Produced by the CUE Art Foundation, with support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

As the March 31 deadline for enrollment in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act approaches, we wanted to share a few resources for artists who are trying to choose the right plan for them. You can watch the CUE Art Foundation video above, in which Renata Marinaro of the Actors Fund walks you through the process of selecting a plan, or read on for tips from our friends at the Freelancer’s Union.

Check out the plans on
This is where you can shop for health plans that are available through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the health exchange. The website asks for your household income and number of dependents so you can compare plans and find the one that meets your budget and wellness needs. Since you might qualify for lower costs, we encourage you to start your insurance search on the exchange. You can use this online calculator to find out if you’re eligible for tax credits or subsidies. Continue reading

Video: Matt Moore & Sam Van Aken at TEDxManhattan: Changing The Way We Eat

On March 1st, Creative Capital Artists Matt Moore and Sam Van Aken spoke at TEDxManhattan: Changing The Way We Eat. Watch their talks below!

Moore is a fourth generation family farmer, working artist and food activist. Moore farms outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and exhibits his video and installation artwork internationally. Through these practices, he addresses issues of ecological, cultural and economical sustainability and the potential loss of small independent farms. In the video above, he presents his Creative Capital Project The Digital Farm Collective, in which he collects and shares images of the most important daily process of agriculture—the growth of our produce.

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A Page from Our Handbook: Writing a Proposal

Image from Matthew Moore's (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project "Digital Farm Collective"

Time-lapse footage of lettuce growing, from Matthew Moore’s (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project “Digital Farm Collective”

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Proposal Basics
Proposals come in many shapes and sizes: from simple fellowship applications that require a work sample, a brief description and bio, to lengthy project proposals that involve budget spreadsheets, significant writing and other supporting materials. Frequently we are creating proposals for work we have not yet completed. This means we have to find ways to make a panelist or program officer see what does not yet exist. It’s a big challenge, but a worthy one.

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Ruby Lerner on Adaptive Leadership

Ruby Lerner

Ruby Lerner

Creative Capital’s President and Executive Director Ruby Lerner recently shared her leadership philosophy on the ArtsFwd blog as part of a month-long series of adaptive leadership. You can find the original article here.

How do you seek out perspectives different from your own and let them influence you?

Since Creative Capital was founded to experiment with a model borrowed from a totally different sector—the venture capital world—we began our organizational life by trying to understand, and adapt to, this very different approach to arts funding. This has affected all aspects of our development. I have been mentored by one of the sages of Silicon Valley, William Bowes, right from the beginning, and we now have three venture capitalists on our board, plus others who are conversant with the sector. Additionally, I have sought out business conferences that focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. And I try to read the business magazines that are focused on the [venture capital] sector.

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