Page from our Handbook: Seeking Funding from Individuals

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Individuals donate the vast majority of funds to nonprofit organizations in America, whether it’s regular folks writing a personal check, making a monthly donation via a website, offering free services or supplies, or buying a ticket to a benefit party. Successful fundraisers devote significant time to soliciting such support; they conduct campaigns, produce special events and engage the community.

Whether you’re an individual artist going cc_icons_color-money-smallit alone or you work with a theater company or other artist collective, fundraising from individuals is increasingly important. We know it can be difficult to get started; we want to help you ask yourself the right questions so you can approach donors from the strongest position and feel secure in what you’re offering to contributors. If you’re raising funds for a socially or community engaged project, we encourage you to dig deeper with Stephanie Bleyer’s May 7th webinar, “Producing and Funding Your Community Engagement Campaign.” Read more about Stephanie here.

Getting Ready: Key Questions
As you begin thinking about your campaign, you’ll want to begin researching potential donors and strategies; deciding what donors will get when they give; and preparing to do follow-up, give thanks and keep track of donations long-term. You’ll also want to ask yourself the following questions before you ever ask anyone for anything. You don’t have to answer each one, but read through them all. They are interrelated, and together they should help you develop a strategy that plays to your strengths as a person and as an artist.
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Peggy Ahwesh Goes to Times Square

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Experimental filmmaker and video artist Peggy Ahwesh (2000 Moving Image) was part of Creative Capital’s first class of awardees with her work The Star Eaters, a short film about gambling, risk-taking and failure in one woman’s trip through Atlantic City. Since then, Peggy’s career has not stopped for a minute. Most recently she was commissioned for The Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment with a piece entitled City Thermogram. Using a thermal camera from Princeton’s MIRTHE Lab, Peggy roamed the streets of New York City shooting city views and recording the “glow of the heat generating systems and devices we rely on.” So every night in April from 11:57pm to midnight, Peggy’s piece have taken over the video screens of Times Square. The installation ends on April 30, so if you’re in New York, wander over to Time Square just before midnight!

To celebrate her latest achievement, here are our top five Peggy Ahwesh films, in no particular order, as we take a look back at her career. Continue reading

Maggie Nelson Looks at Love, Gender and Family-Making in “The Argonauts”

The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson (2013 Literature) has made a name for herself as a border-smashing writer of books that straddle poetry and prose, academic writing and cultural reporting, memoir and criticism. Today, Nelson’s Creative Capital-supported project, The Argonauts, is published in wide release by Graywolf Press.

The Argonauts centers on a romance: the story of the author’s relationship with artist Harry Dodge, who is fluidly gendered. Nelson describes the complexities and joys of becoming a stepmother to Harry’s son, as well as her journey to conceive the child who they are now raising together. Writing in the spirit of critics like Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson’s experience serves as a way to explore how iconic thinkers and theorists have tried to untie the vexing knots that limit the way we talk about gender and the domestic institutions of marriage and childbirth. I spoke with Maggie to learn more about the development of The Argonauts.

Jenny Gill: I’m curious how your writing timeline overlapped with and unfolded alongside the life events you write about in the book. When did you start writing The Argonauts, and how did the book and your life change or evolve over that period?

Maggie Nelson: I didn’t set out to write The Argonauts as a book. In late 2010 I wrote a long piece on Eve Sedgwick, which I gave as a talk at CUNY in March 2011, then in early 2012 I wrote a long review of Sedgwick’s posthumous book, The Weather in Proust, for the LA Review of Books. Then my son was born. Later that year I wrote an essay for artist A. L. Steiner’s November 2012 show “Puppies and Babies,” in which I developed some ideas about “sodomitical maternity,” a great phrase set forth by critic Susan Fraiman. All of these pieces were basically me challenging myself to say “yes” to occasional writing, since I usually say “no” (I can be kind of mono-focused on book writing, at the expense of smaller outings). During all this time, I was also writing more diaristically, about my son, my relationship, my thoughts about family, politics, queerness, sex, gender and so on. It wasn’t until fall 2012 when I looked at a lot of this work and thought, maybe this could or should all go together. At which point I started fashioning it into a long essay of sorts. Continue reading

Video Profile: Eric Dyer, Modern Master of the Zoetrope

Remember those zoetropes you had as a kid showing the silhouette of a galloping race horse? Baltimore artist Eric Dyer has developed the concept of this pre-cinema device to stunning results. For his Creative Capital project, Short Ride, he is building a massive tunnel you can walk through with thousands of moving parts. We interviewed Eric during his recent exhibition at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. To learn more about Eric Dyer and Short Ride, click here.

 

From Funders to Family: Five Questions for Stephanie Pereira

Stephanie Pereira

Stephanie leads a workshop on how to use Kickstarter.

Stephanie Pereira is Kickstarter’s Director of Community Education. Trained as an artist, Stephanie spent the first ten years of her career in the nonprofit arts world, before joining Kickstarter in 2011 as the Director of the Art Program. In her current role, Stephanie develops tools and resources for the creative community at-large to be able to realize their creative ideas. 

On Monday, April 27, Stephanie will join Creative Capital in our NYC office for a special live event: “Wine & Webinar: Kickstarter School.” Watch the Kickstarter School webinar on the big screen while enjoying wine, popcorn and an in-person Q&A with Stephanie after the webinar ends. Artists outside of the NYC area can register to watch Kickstarter School, a primer on how to bring Kickstarter Projects to life, from anywhere in the world.

We had a chance to ask Stephanie a few questions about her experience as an artist, curator and funder, as well as get her tips on building a strong creative community.

Hannah Fenlon: Tell me about your transition from art school to Kickstarter. How did your artistic training impact what you’re currently doing?

Stephanie Pereira: While I was in art school I realized two things. First, while I love the creative process and making art, I am not an artist. The other thing that I learned was that I loved organizing events and exhibitions with my friends. I was naturally good at it, and it gave me great satisfaction to bring more creative ideas to the world. By the time I graduated, my artistic practice had even drifted into event production, with installation work that was designed to interrogate the traditional gallery-going experience and transform space through engagement. It’s been well over a decade since I attended art school but the education I got there has stuck with me. The lens through which I look at the world is endlessly creative, project oriented, iterative and (I hope) generous. Because my school had a strong emphasis on critical theory, I am also not content to make work in my professional life that is lazy or represents the status quo.
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Emily Johnson’s SHORE Celebrates the Places Where Landscapes and Bodies Meet and Merge

Emily Johnson/Catalyst (2013 Performing Arts) is bringing the expansive installation SHORE to New York this month, with gatherings and events throughout the city (April 19-26) and performances at New York Live Arts (April 23-25). SHORE expands beyond the theater to celebrate the places where we meet and merge—land and water; performer and audience; art and community; past, present, and future.

Throughout her work, Johnson asks: How can performance uniquely connect us to our land, our lives and each other? A native of Alaska who is based in Minneapolis, Johnson has spent the past four months working with community partners to plan this locally-specific version of SHORE in New York City, or as the Native Americans called it, Lenapehoking (“land of the Lenape”). She describes the events planned for SHORE in Lenapehoking: “SHORE moves, over the course of a week, from the dunes in the Rockaways, to the East River estuary, onto and into New York Harbor, over Minetta Creek, to the banks and buoyancy of Newtown Creek. We’ll listen to stories, we’ll work together, we’ll share food and this performance, taking care of what we need to care for. We’ll walk and bike and canoe and celebrate.” Continue reading

On Public Art & Going “Feral” : Five Questions for Lynn Basa

Lynn Basa is a full-time artist living in Chicago. Her practice is focused on painting and public art. Formerly an instructor in the Sculpture department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is currently attending graduate school at SAIC in its new Low-Residency MFA program. Lynn is also the author of of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions (2008). 

On April 20, Lynn leads her first Creative Capital Professional Development Program webinar, Demystifying Public Art, which will cover all aspects of researching and applying for public art commissions for visual artists. We had the chance to talk with Lynn about her current work, misconceptions surrounding public art, and her thoughts on NYC’s recently drafted bill that would allow New Yorkers to have a greater say in the city’s public art selection.

Hannah Fenlon: Tell me what you’re working on.

Lynn Basa: I just wrapped up some large public art commissions for Salt Lake City and Portland, OR and have moved on to suspended sculptures and mosaic for an 11-story atrium in a skyscraper in Chicago. I also just won a commission for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to do a terrazzo floor in a new science building. I’ve got a bunch of painting commissions lined up for the rest of the year, too. In grad school right now I’m working on some sculptural paintings that feel like a breakthrough for me. I’m quite distracted by them. Continue reading

Not “Just” Artists: Five Questions for Susan K. Schear

Susan Koblin Schear is an arts consultant and founder of ARTISIN, LLC, which offers comprehensive, process-oriented and holistically-based planning and business development, management and implementation services to the arts and cultural sector. After years in the corporate sector, Susan has the unique ability to “translate” business / entrepreneurial skills and practices for artists in order for them to understand and feel comfortable with business ownership and responsibilities.

Susan’s upcoming Creative Capital webinar, Values-Based Goal Setting, explores how your values and guiding principles impact your art practice, and provides a framework for establishing attainable goals that reflect these principles. We checked in with Susan to learn a little more about her corporate experience, her artistic influences, and more.

Hannah Fenlon: I don’t know about you, but we’re really looking forward to the spring season. What are some of your favorite warm weather arts and culture adventures in NYC (or elsewhere)? Continue reading

In Kerry Tribe’s Artworks, Forgetting Leads to Creating

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Aphasia is a little known disorder that, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1 million people suffer from in the United States. The disorder does not affect a person’s intelligence, but rather, causes difficulties in speaking, listening, reading and writing—though the symptoms are largely unique to the individual. Kerry Tribe (2012 Visual Arts) has spent her career examining notions of memory and subjectivity through art works, and was naturally drawn to aphasic community as a way of continuing her practice. After receiving support from Creative Capital, Kerry spent time with and interviewed three individuals who struggled with aphasia and turned their story into a powerful video and installation. This series of works, called The Loste Note, will debut at 356 Mission in Los Angeles April 10.  We spoke to Kerry about her upcoming exhibition.

Alex Teplitzky: Can you describe the manifestation of the project a little more in depth?

Kerry Tribe: The Loste Note includes a number of works that have been percolating since I received a grant from Creative Capital in 2012 to make a body of work about a communication disorder called aphasia that makes it difficult for people to understand or produce language in its many forms.

The central work in the exhibition is a three-channel video installation called The Aphasia Poetry Club. It is roughly half an hour long and plays across a massive wall constructed to bifurcate the 10,000 square foot warehouse-turned-gallery. Much of the film was shot at 356 Mission, and the space makes a series of increasingly surreal and spatially confusing appearances over the course of the film.

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Photo Gallery: Strategic Planning & Funding Your Work in Chicago

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Choreographer and workshop leader Andrew Simonet leads the group in a session on Funding Your Work.

“[The workshop] was some of the most beneficial hours I’ve spent on my art practice in a long time! I feel like this is the beginning of something expansive.”
—Ahavani Mullen, Workshop Participant,
3Arts Strategic Planning & Funding Your Work, 2015

On March 28th, 34 Chicago artists got direct access to Creative Capital Professional Development Program workshop leaders Colleen Keegan, Beverly McIver and Andrew Simonet during a one-day workshop, generously underwritten by Tequila Herradura and hosted by 3Arts. The workshop focused on two primary areas—Strategic Planning and Funding Your Work—as well as addressing a number of micro-topics within each area, including: creating a business plan, valuing your time, revenue streams, time management, grants & fundraising, and communications.

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