This year, Creative Capital was honored to be chosen as the charitable beneficiary of Herradura Tequila’s inaugural Barrel Art Program, in which the company challenged 77 artists in eight U.S. cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Austin, Miami and Santa Fe) to transform Tequila Herradura barrels into original works of art. In each city, a jury of local arts professionals and tastemakers chose one winner to receive a $10,000 prize and an invitation to the national competition, held last week during the art fairs in Miami, where the creator of the winning artwork received $100,000—one of the more generous monetary prizes in the contemporary art world.
As part of their commitment to the arts and individual artists, Herradura gave an additional generous contribution to Creative Capital to underwrite Professional Development Program (PDP) workshops and webinars for more than 200 artists in the competition cities. We are thrilled to bring crucial tools for artists in all disciplines to more artists across the country through this partnership. And we’re extremely proud to say that seven of the participating artists are alumni of our Professional Development Program! They are: Micah Stansell of Atlanta; Kim Holleman and Virginia Poundstone of New York; Alexis Caputo, Claudia Calle and Michelle Weinberg of Miami; and Juan Chavez of Chicago. You can see these barrels, along with all of the other participants’, here.
Even more exciting: Kim Holleman was the winner of the New York contest, and Micah Stansell and his wife Whitney Stansell won the Atlanta contest and took home the $100,000 Grand Prize!
Herradura gave the artists in the contest only one instruction: include the oak barrel used to age their tequila. The results are astounding, ranging from a larger-than-life set of golden headphones to an intricately carved architectural sculpture to a delicate rice paper sculpture of a bride and groom trundling atop a barrel.
Micah and Whitney Stansell’s winning entry used the barrel as a container for a stunning zoetrope, a type of early motion-picture device, to pay homage to early cinema. Micah participated in a 2012 Core Workshop with Flux Projects and Push Push Theater in Atlanta. He and his wife Whitney create multimedia projects often dealing with narratives of family and place.
Kim Holleman’s piece, entitled The Casa Herradura Spirit Fountain/El Espíritu Fuente de Casa Herradura, transforms the barrel into a fountain, raining down Herradura Silver Tequila.
Holleman in particular is emphatic about the effect Creative Capital’s workshop had on her. She participated in our 2012 Artists Summer Institute (ASI), an intensive, five-day workshop co-hosted in New York City with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She speaks of the workshop as a tool for navigating her career, writing, “I learned that not only was I on my own boat, but that I needed to be its captain or no matter how beautiful the boat, it would sink, plain and simple… I still feel like I’m riding high on that initial wave of ASI, and since I jumped into the captain’s seat, it’s been ‘ONWARD!’ ever since.” She describes the powerful experience of receiving the New York Herradura Contest Prize side-by-side with PDP Director Alyson Pou as a full-circle moment, enjoying her success alongside “one of the mentors to whom I owe my great strides forward.”
Claudia Calle also speaks of the sense of direction her 2012 Miami workshop provided: “When I went to the seminar, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. The speakers were loving, caring, very professional and compassionate. Immediately I felt that I was in a safe environment. I put myself in a position to learn and be guided.”
Micah Stansell credits his participation in PDP’s workshop with wanting to apply to the Herradura Barrel Art Program in the first place, explaining that, “the workshop’s focus on diversifying outlets for your art and identifying the right opportunities to say ‘yes’ to led me to evaluate and say ‘yes’ to participating in the Herradura Barrel Art Program.” He goes on to describe how the workshop helped him to win the Atlanta contest and Grand Prize, saying, “another element of PDP was also instrumental in our success in the competition: the emphasis on honing the ability to talk about your work. We were given the opportunity to talk to the jurors about our art during the competition and we felt comfortable doing so because of the strategies learned during the workshop and time dedicated to developing those skills since.”
Our ultimate goal in the PDP program at Creative Capital is to equip artists of all disciplines with the tools they need to chart their own careers. The artists in our program are unfailingly creatively talented and accomplished, and we are privileged to help them clarify the administrative sides of their careers. We teach that business, verbal communication and promotional tools are all learned skills that, with some time and effort, anyone can refine. We also believe that by organizing their careers, artists allow more time for their creative practices. In essence, by removing the chaos from the business side of things, the creative side has more space to flourish.
As Michelle Weinberg says of her experience, “the message of the Creative Capital workshops is a healthy affirmation for artists of their own innate ingenuity, giving them permission to define themselves and their careers with freedom.” With Herradura’s generous support, even more artists nationwide will gain that freedom through our workshops and webinars.
We would like to thank Herradura and all of the participating artists for including us in this incredible program. We are honored to partner with a company who shares our commitment to adventurous individual artists, and look forward to growing our community through this partnership.