This May is Ruby Lerner’s final month as Executive Director of Creative Capital. How fitting that, this month, she also received honorary degrees and delivered the commencement addresses at two major art school graduations: first at Maine College of Art (MECA), and then at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). As Ruby “graduates” from Creative Capital, we wanted to share some of her advice to the MECA and MICA undergrads with artists in our community. Continue reading
Official trailer for “Approaching the Unknown”
On June 3, Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s Creative Capital-supported film, Approaching the Unknown, will be released theatrically in ten cities (see list at bottom of post), and available on-demand. The story follows Captain William D. Stanaforth (played by Mark Strong), an astronaut on a one-way solo mission: taking humanity’s first steps toward colonizing Mars. Although the entire world is watching him, he is completely alone in a dark and distant sea of stars. Stanaforth rockets bravely through space facing insurmountable odds, but as the journey takes a toll on his life-sustaining systems, he is forced to make impossible choices that threaten his sanity, mission and very existence.
Approaching the Unknown received the Creative Capital award in 2012. I connected with Mark to learn more about the evolution of this ambitious project and struggles encountered along the way.
Jenny Gill: Approaching the Unknown is (obviously) a work of fiction, but you mentioned in your presentation at the 2013 Creative Capital Artist Retreat that there are elements of your personal life experience and desires in the story. Can you talk about the balance between the personal and the imagined in your writing?
Mark Elijah Rosenberg: No, it’s not fiction—we really sent a man alone on a one-way mission in space! Or at least, that would’ve been easier and quicker.
Approaching the Unknown is about an astronaut on a journey to set up a colony on Mars. He knows he’s never coming back to Earth, and he’ll be alone for a while, but within a few years he’ll be joined by dozens then hundreds of other people. There are some lines of voice over that never made it into the film where Stanaforth, the astronaut, relates his experience to that of his grandfather, immigrating to America, and his ship being just like a boat sailing across the Atlantic. But is that the comforting story we tell ourselves so we can do something adventurous, or is it naive and hubristic to think any worthwhile adventure in life can ever be a cakewalk? That’s the line Stanaforth is walking, and it’s a line anyone with ambition has to balance upon. What’s brave and what’s stupid? To do anything amazing, you do need experience and knowledge and confidence. But at a certain point, you also need to push yourself into the new, the unknown, the frightening. Continue reading
VIDEO: Jen Bervin’s Silk Poems
Visual artist and writer Jen Bervin’s Creative Capital-supported project, Silk Poems, premieres this month in the exhibition Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The exhibition includes works by twenty-one international artists that solicit pure wonder, “a liminal state of being poised between knowing and not knowing, and defined by an experience of something truly new.”
Jen’s project and trajectory over the past few years offers a wonderful case study of how Creative Capital supports innovative artists. As an interdisciplinary visual artist and author of nine books, Jen applied to Creative Capital’s 2012 grant round in the Literature category. Her proposal for the Silk Poems merged poetry, textiles and science: she wanted to write a microscopic poem in the form of a silk biosensor.
Bervin was directly inspired by Fiorenzo Omenetto’s cutting-edge research with liquefied silk at Tufts University’s Bioengineering Department’s Silk Lab. Remarkably, the human immune system accepts silk on surfaces as sensitive as the brain.
Suzy Delvalle Comes to Creative Capital after Holding Leadership Roles at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling and El Museo Del Barrio
Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital’s Founder and Current President and Executive Director, is Stepping Down after 17 Years Leading the Organization
NEW YORK, NY – May 10, 2016 – Pioneering artist support and professional development organization Creative Capital has named Susan Delvalle as its new President and Executive Director. Delvalle will succeed Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital’s founder and current President and Executive Director, who announced in 2015 her intention to step down from the role after seventeen years at the helm of the organization.
Only the second President and Executive Director in Creative Capital’s history, Delvalle comes to the organization with a strong background in the arts, fundraising, and institution-building. Delvalle most recently served as Director of the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, overseeing the opening of a new museum in New York City. She previously served as Director of External Affairs and Development at El Museo Del Barrio, where she dramatically increased the museum’s budget and attendance over her eleven-year tenure. Continue reading
We are pleased to announce the launch of Creative Capital’s On Our Radar site for 2016, featuring nearly 300 artists’ projects from across the country!
In our ongoing efforts to find innovative ways to support artists, we created On Our Radar, a searchable database featuring noteworthy Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts projects that advanced to the second or third round in last year’s highly competitive award selection process. Although the featured projects were not ultimately funded by Creative Capital, we feel they are projects to watch and we invite you to explore them. Continue reading
This month, Janine Antoni (2012 Visual Arts) premieres her Creative Capital-supported project, Ally, at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (opening April 21). Ally is an exhibition of art and dance conceived and performed by Antoni in collaboration with choreographer Stephen Petronio and movement artist Anna Halprin. Taking the form of performances, installation environments, videos and sculptures, Ally will occupy four floors of the museum for three months, with weekly live performances. A book will follow, edited by the British writer and performance scholar Adrian Heathfield.
Antoni writes, “I conceived of this project more than six years ago as a kind of retrospective of my art making, told through dance. It has evolved into a truly collaborative creation that allows us to find a way to continue making new work while looking back.”
Ally is comprised of four projects: Rope Dance, an improvised performance instigated by Halprin, who presented a rope to Antoni and Petronio to be used as a tool to connect their bodies and draw lines through space; Swallow, a complex installation based on a performance by Antoni and Petronio, who connected from the gut using a 10-foot strip of woven cloth; The Courtesan and the Crone, a dance of seduction originally created and performed by Halprin in 1999, reimagined here in a different gender and generational context as a solo performance by Petronio; and Paper Dance, an improvised performance by Antoni with rolls of brown paper in an environment that refers to both Antoni and Halprin’s artistic histories.
I connected with Janine to learn more about the development of Ally and her deeply collaborative process.
Jenny Gill: The works in Ally all sound incredibly complex and layered, but Paper Dance strikes me as particularly rich. Not only is it a weekly performance, but it is performed within a “set” of crated artworks from your artistic history. With each performance, you unpack and repack different artworks, so over the course of the 14 weeks of the show, a mini-retrospective of your past work emerges. Can you talk more about the role of these artworks in the performance and the exhibition?
Janine Antoni: When I first conceived of my project for Creative Capital, I wanted to make a retrospective of my work in dance. For me, it was a way to look back with the intention of moving forward. It was Anna Halprin’s idea to take a section of her work Parades and Changes (1965) as a score for me to do as a solo—she presented me with the rolls of paper she originally used to create that piece.
In the process of improvising movement with the paper, I started to notice how images from my past artworks were presenting themselves to me. It became clear that the lessons learned in the making and the conceptual concerns of my work have etched themselves into my psyche. In Paper Dance, there is a beautiful symmetry as both Anna and I are reconfiguring our pasts. Continue reading
We were thrilled to read this wonderful, in-depth article about Creative Capital and our impact on artists in Seattle, written by Jen Graves for The Stranger. A short excerpt follows; read the full article here.
Last week, in an attempt to contact the Bellingham artist Christian Vargas about winning a 2016 Creative Capital Award, I googled him, left a congratulatory voice mail, and shortly got a phone call back.
“I’m not the right Christian Vargas,” said this Christian Vargas. “I wish I was!… That award—it’s life-changing, from what I hear.”
This Vargas #2 happens to also be an artist. Along with the rest of his graduate school class in Tennessee, he’s all but got the Creative Capital application pulled up in his browser waiting for the day after he graduates.
Creative Capital is such a big deal in the world of art that it even affects the lives of artists who don’t get it.
This grant-making organization, based in New York but serving artists nationally, was created in 1999 to counter the economic loss to artists when the National Endowment for the Arts killed the majority of its individual artist grants.
But Creative Capital is also a repudiation of the entire Reagan-era anti-social-services doctrine, and the condescending criticism in the 1990s from the Jesse Helms faction, who made the recipients of NEA grants sound like disgusting, freeloading children.
Creative Capital is a twofold initiative, then. It locates talented, deserving artists to support, and it recognizes that support consists of more than just money. The “more than” includes what can be thought of as ambition instruction, or giving artists the tools to think of themselves as something other than hopeless losers with a knack for making things—you know, full-fledged, contributing adults in a culture that regularly infantilizes those not wearing suits and making six figures.
And in Seattle, where money, attention, and the permission to be ambitious have always been scarce or viewed with skepticism, Creative Capital has made even bigger waves.
Case in point: “It wasn’t just a major turning point in my artistic life to get that call,” Paul Rucker, Creative Capital Class of 2012, told me. “It was a major turning point in my life.” …
Read the full article here.
In the summer of 2015, Creative Capital, in conjunction with Ann Markusen (Markusen Economic Research) and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting), launched a survey of artists who received awards from 2000 to 2013 to explore the impact of its support on the artists’ creative work and professional success. The following is an Executive Summary of the survey results, written by Ms. Markuson and Ms. Nicodemus; a full PDF of the survey report is also available for download.
Creative Capital awardees overwhelmingly report that receiving the award and access to services have increased their overall visibility and their relative position within their artistic fields. Artists who received awards in earlier years were more likely to report highly significant visibility gains (63%) compared with those in the last three award rounds (41%), suggesting that award benefits may be cumulative over time. Lower rates for recent award years may also reflect the impact of the Great Recession (2008-2012) that fell particularly hard on artists.
The first U.S. survey of the work of Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere (2009 Emerging Fields) opens this week at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania, with an opening reception on February 3 from 6:30-9:00pm. The exhibition, organized by Associate Curator Kate Kraczon, includes the premiere of their Creative Capital-supported project, Memory of a Time Twice Lived (2015), along with seven other projects and installations.
Memory of Time Twice Lived is a journey through musical tempo, cinematic time and the excavation of an image. The film builds a field of relations tying together 20th-century mythic heroes, the collection of the Wagner Free Institute of Science, the Mexican luchador El Santo and the accordion as a nomadic instrument. Shot on location in Philadelphia and Mexico, the film references Chris Marker’s science fiction piece La Jetée (1962), features a concert arranged for film, and an accordionist performing throughout Philadelphia. The roots of the film go back to Nevarez and Tevere’s years-long research on the history of the accordion, an instrument they see as a poetic representation of how music and people move through space.
I connected with Angel and Valerie to learn more about the new film and the exhibition in Philadelphia.
Jenny Gill: In this project, you use the accordion as a metaphor or focal point to look at cultural and musical migration. When did you first become interested in the accordion and begin to view it in that way?
Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere: The accordion, an instrument associated with numerous immigrant histories and musical forms, was also part of each of our own individual family histories. Having the shared yet varied experience between us provoked further discussions and interest in critically engaging the accordion’s history in relation to industrialization, labor movements, periods of nationalism, folklore, and its current production within post-Fordist globalizing trends. Continue reading
Creative Capital has announced its 2016 awardees, funding 46 projects selected from a nationwide pool of 2,500 proposals. The artistic disciplines being funded this year are: Literature, Performing Arts and Emerging Fields. Drawing on venture-capital principles, Creative Capital seeks out artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching, then surrounds those artists with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers.
The 2016 Creative Capital awardees are an incredible group of creative thinkers, representing 63 artists at all stages of their careers with an age range of 28 to 65 years old. More than half are women; and more than half identify as people of color. Each funded project will receive up to $50,000 in direct funding and additional resources and advisory services—such as financial consulting and communications support—valued at $45,000, making the organization’s total 2016 investment more than $4,370,000. Continue reading