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.”
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 →
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 hell.com 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 hell.com 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 →
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.
¡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.
“No one is coming to save you. You are enough,” Ela Troyano assured her audience of eager and talented Latino artists with one of the favorite maxims of longtime Creative Capital consultant Colleen Keegan. “I googled every one of you. The amount of talent in the room is incredible.”
Ela led Taller Profesional de Desarollo Para Artistasalongside her friend and fellow Creative Capital grantee Chemi Rosado-Seijo at Creative Capital on Monday June 22. The workshop includes lectures on Strategic Planning and creating a Business Plan; breakout groups on Verbal Communications and Art Business Management; and an interactive exercise on Targeted Marketing—all geared to Spanish-speaking artists who often work in different countries and cultures.
Making New Friends at Taller Profesional de Desarollo Para Artistas
In our “Artist to Artist” series, we invite two Creative Capital artists whose art practices rhyme in some illuminating ways. Recently, we got the eteam (2009 Emerging Fields) duo and Matthew Coolidge from Center for Land Use Interpretation (2009 Emerging Fields) in our offices to talk about the anthropocene, what they’re working on lately, and of course, the implications of a pile of rocks. You can read the full transcript below or listen to the podcast above.Continue reading →
Don’t buy into the myth that getting to make your work is payment enough.Artists have the right to fair compensation for their time. Determine how much you realistically should be paid to successfully execute your idea and negotiate the terms that make it possible. On July 6, Creative Capital will launchEffective Negotiation for Artists, a brand new webinar to help you get to “yes.”
No one is a better advocate for you than yourself. If you don’t ask for what you deserve, no one is going to hand it to you. Creative Capital consultant and PDP leader, Andrew Simonet put together 5 quick tips to help you prepare the negotiation process for your next project.
I am thrilled to share Creative Capital’s 15th Anniversary Publication, celebrating our long-term dedication to supporting artists in all disciplines across the country. We asked 15 people from our community—grantees, board members, supporters, consultants and other friends—to share their Creative Capital stories with us. I hope you will enjoy hearing what Creative Capital has meant to them.
Click the icon in the bottom right corner of the black bar to view full-screen, or download the publication here.
In creating this publication, it became clear very quickly just how many people have contributed to Creative Capital’s success over the years. Our community is really what makes Creative Capital unique and we couldn’t do it without you! We will be expanding on this publication with a series of other CC stories in the coming months. Click here to share your story, and you could be featured on our blog!
Independent Producer Meredith Boggia will sit down for a discussion with MAP Fund Program Director Moira Brennan on themes and trends affecting artists working in the performing arts as a part of ourConversations Inside series. Register for the webinar to take part in their conversation on July 9, 7:30-9:00pm ET
Meredith Boggia and Friends in Alaska for a production of Catalyst Dance’s Shore
So, what exactly does a producer do? The short answer: they make things happen. Continue reading →