Making Space for Your Practice: Upcoming Residency Opportunities

Uninterrupted time for art making is precious and too often elusive. A residency can reinvigorate an idling practice or provide essential time to finish a big project. The list below has something for artists of all disciplines with opportunities in international metropolises and remote villages.

An artist-in-residence at Fjúk Arts Centre making a sound recording in a local lake

An artist-in-residence at Fjúk Arts Centre in Iceland making a sound recording in a local lake

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A Page From Our Handbook: Positioning Yourself for Proposal Writing

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 all of our PDP workshops and webinars here. This September, Creative Capital is offering two webinars on applying for grants so we chose a page to get you started on writing proposals. To learn more, sign up for Get Grants – How To Create A Project & Proposal that Gets-To-Yes or Applying for Grants & Residencies, Strategies for Writers.

Trainers, One-channel video, Danielle Dean

Still from Trainers, Danielle Dean, 2014. One-channel video, 8:06 minutes.

Unfortunately, there are not enough traditional funding resources out there to support all the great work being created. For every grant awarded, there are at least one or two other projects a funder would like to support but can’t, and that are just as worthy. The same is true of every artist a gallery signs, every book that gets published and every play or album that gets professionally produced.

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Snapshot: Artists Summer Institute 2015

Artists Summer Institute 2015

Leaving Governor’s Island was difficult this past Sunday as we we wrapped up this year’s session of Artists Summer Institute. Artists Summer Institute is a five-day intensive professional development opportunity for artists created and developed in partnership between Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and Creative Capital.

ASI provides a unique opportunity for artists for to retreat from their daily routines to focus on developing their professional skills and artistic goals. The program combines the best of LMCC’s Basic Finance for Artists and Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program (PDP) to provide a comprehensive range of training, tools, and resources for working artists. The curriculum offers arts-focused professional training in the areas of strategic planning, verbal communications, marketing and promotion, Internet optimization, financial management, and business planning. Continue reading

Ali Momeni Releases a DIY Manual for Urban Projection

"The Gutless Warrior," a participatory projection installation

“The Gutless Warrior,” a participatory projection installation

Ali Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He currently works as an artist and professor at Carnegie Mellon. His work utilizes many technologies to explore the social lives of objects and their embedded performative qualities. As part of his Creative Capital supported project, Center for Urban Intervention Research, Momeni just released A Manual for Urban Projection, so we caught up with him to find out more about it.

Ali Momeni – “Center for Urban Intervention Research” at the 2015 Creative Capital Retreat

Alex Teplitzky: Tell me how you got the idea for Center for Urban Intervention Research, and how it got underway. Are there political elements to the project as the name seems to suggest?

Ali Momeni: The Center for Urban Intervention Research was born out of an increasing number of collaborative, public projects that I initiated and led in the past few years. Starting with my work with MAW, an urban projection collective I founded in Minneapolis in 2008, I have spent several years creating shared experiences in public spaces that leverage new technologies and bring people together. These works (like The Battle of Everyouth, The Gutless Warrior, Statuevision) shared several features: they occur in public spaces, they are cross-generational, conversational and playful, and they use live-cinema and video projection to create an emotional connection between the work and its participants. After years of practice with this medium, I decided that it was time to create an umbrella organization for this part of my practice, a way to create a community around experiential work in public spaces.

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Climbing Up to the Next Level


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DawN Crandell with artist and PDP workshop leader Dread Scott

This post originally appeared on reflectionslifeartistmom, the blog of Artists Summer Institute participant DawN Crandell. Artists Summer Institute kicked off earlier this week and runs through August 9. ASI is a five-day intensive series of workshops, seminars, and presentations featuring curriculum from Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program and LMCC’s content on financials and entrepreneurship for artists.

Wow. My brain is full and my body is exhausted and there is that familiar fear and anxiety based on insecurities of not enough. I’m not enough, I’m not doing enough. I don’t have enough. But today those feelings are being pushed to the background because I am gaining the skills and deeper confidence to climb up to the next level in my career.

For the past two days I’ve been a participant in the Artist Summer Institute presented by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Creative Capital. Along with fifty-four other NYC artists, yesterday I learned about strategic planning and business planning for my career. Today was focused on marketing. I am making so many great connections and am beyond inspired by all the other artists. Continue reading

The 2015 Creative Capital Artist Retreat Begins!

Eric Gottesman and Mariam Ghani during their cohort meetings

Eric Gottesman and Mariam Ghani during their cohort meetings

When Ruby was working with Arch Gillies on founding Creative Capital, Ruby stipulated that she have the ability to run a retreat for each round of artists. She foresaw that this would become the most important part of Creative Capital’s mission.

15 years later, it is clear that Ruby was correct! After every grant round, we bring the new artists and over 200 arts professionals (gallerists, curators, arts writers, and other arts organizers) to a campus outside of New York for a weeklong gathering where they can present their projects, talk about their needs, and learn how to successfully build their art career. This year, we’re at Rensaeller University and the artists will present their projects at the state-of-the-art theater EMPAC.

We call it a Retreat, but it turns out to be anything but. Ruby admitted during the first day, “We’re cheating when we call it a retreat.” Creative Capital artist Titus Kaphar agreed: “I’m going to need a retreat after this retreat. It’s more like a conference.”

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Community Engagement 101

The Yes Men

Launching Succesful Community Engagement Campaigns has define the Career of Creative Capital Grantees the Yes Men

Powerful, disruptive ideas beg to be spread. Successful community engagement depends on setting clear objectives, finding your audience, and activating them. Stephanie Bleyer is a master of the community engagement campaign who runs the firm Six Foot Chipmunk. Stephanie helps artists across disciplines create strategic plans, raise funds, and reach and mobilize new audiences. On July 30, she will lead the webinar Producing & Funding Your Community Engagement Campaign. This webinar is essential for artists projects involving social justice, education, public art, or community building. It takes participants through the entire process of producing your campaign starting with letters of inquiry and grant applications all the way through to measuring impact. Artists can ask themselves these five questions as a foundation for your engagement strategy.

1) What are the social goals of my campaign?
Keep in mind that the social goals of your campaign will likely be different from the goals of your art work or overall practice. Think, “I want my audience to think about how many plastic bags they regularly take from grocery stores and ultimately reduce that amount,” instead of, “I want my project to receive awards and praise from environmental foundations and get written up in ArtForum.” Continue reading

As Video Game Developers Tale of Tales Change Direction, A Look Back on Their Career So Far


In June, video game studio Tale of Tales announced they would stop making video games after lackluster sales of their most recent game, Sunset. The news has widely been distributed throughout the gaming world with sadness–Tale of Tales create moving, poetic video games that are art works in and of themselves. Their Creative Capital project, The Path, for instance, was praised as taking the concept of video games to a new level. We checked in with Tale of Tales to revisit their career so far and to find out whether there was not a positive spin to their announcement after all.

Alex Teplitzky: I read that you met on the internet in 1999.  Meeting people online is more common now, but less so then. What platform did you meet on, and when how did you meet IRL?

Michaël Samyn: We were both members of an online artists collective around the domain. A bunch of us had gathered in a videochat application (quite rare in those days) to see how it could be used for artistic purposes. Auriea was broadcasting blurry black and white webcam images of herself and I was posting pictures of fruits and vegetables (I didn’t have a camera connected to my computer and my modem connection wouldn’t have been up to a stream either). The application had a mode to speak privately and when Auriea and I started talking it was like a stream of poetry, a very rich and sensual exchange. It was only after we stopped that we realized we probably had a sex chat.

The next day I posted a web page on the members-only part of that included a link to a page that didn’t exist. Auriea responded by creating that page, with a new link. And so on. This romantic exchange of images and text became our first collaborative project called Skinonskinonskin. Continue reading

Lessons Learned From a Life in the Arts


Sixteen years ago, when venture capital frenzy was sweeping the country, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and its partners decided that our nation’s boldest, most inventive creative artists would also benefit from many aspects of the venture capital approach, such as providing comprehensive, flexible, and ever-evolving structures of support. They launched Creative Capital and hired Ruby Lerner as its founding executive director to lead what was touted at the time as a major new experiment in supporting individual artists.

Ruby Lerner has spent a lifetime in the arts since her graduate student days acting and producing theater in North Carolina. She went on to work at Manhattan Theatre Club, Alternate ROOTS, Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, and for the past sixteen years at Creative Capital. The GIA Reader asked Ruby to look back on lessons learned during the evolution of Creative Capital and to share her thoughts with independent consultant and fellow Southerner Melanie Beene on funding individual artists and on her life in the arts.

Melanie Beene: For the benefit of newcomers to the field of arts philanthropy, can you sketch out the personal trajectory of your long career in the arts? Where did you start, and what steps did you take to get where you are today?

Ruby Lerner: My interest really started in grad school, running the student-run part of the theater department at UNC Chapel Hill. Then I managed a summer theater in Charlotte, worked at a community college in western North Carolina, and then moved to New York in my late twenties. I studied acting and did a bit of directing, but running the department was actually more rewarding than performance work. Basically, I’m bossy! So for me to be an actress waiting to take direction from somebody is… well, you can imagine how well that sat with my personality. And I was pretty good at running things. I think arts organizations are art projects too. That is certainly how we think about Creative Capital.

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Marketing as Self-Definition

Robert Karimi

¡Viva las Roots! at Intermedia Arts, Robert Karimi, 2011

If marketing leaves you feeling uneasy, reconsider how you approach it. For artists, marketing is an exercise in self-definition, not self-promotion. Your marketing strategy should echo your ideas and intentions. Creative Capital consultant Brian Tate identifies seven principles as a framework to implement and analyze his own strategic marketing plan. This post looks specifically at the elements of the story, the message, the audience and call to action. Brian will discuss using the seven principles in depth on Monday, July 27 in his popular Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing webinar.

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