Jenny Gill

About Jenny Gill

Jenny Gill is Director of Communications at Creative Capital and editor of The Lab. Prior to joining Creative Capital in 2010, she produced educational programs and digital content for the American Craft Council. She has worked at numerous commercial and nonprofit galleries, including as Gallery Director at the University of the South (Sewanee, TN), Gallery Manager at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. (New York) and Assistant Curator at Vanderbilt University’s Fine Arts Gallery (Nashville, TN). She also worked as a letterpress designer/printer at the historic Hatch Show Print, studied at the International Workshop for Ceramic Art in Tokoname, Japan, and was an artist assistant for Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire. Jenny holds a BA in art and art history from Vanderbilt University, where she was awarded the Hamblet Award for studio art, and an MA from Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design and Culture.

Eric Dyer and Matthew Porterfield Among Inaugural Recipients of Rubys Grants for Baltimore Artists

Eric Dyer and Matthew Porterfield

Eric Dyer and Matthew Porterfield

On April 22, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) announced the 13 artists selected for the inaugural Rubys Artist Project Grants. Awards from $2,000 to $10,000 were made to support artists that reflect a diversity of talent and creativity for projects including immersive theater, interactive media experiences, documentary film and musical composition. We were thrilled to see two Creative Capital Artists among the roster: Eric Dyer and Matthew Porterfield, both 2012 Film/Video awardees.

With a vision and initial funding provided by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Rubys Artist Projects Grant program was established by GBCA in 2013 to support the region’s gems—the local creative community of performing, visual, media and literary artists. The Rubys were inspired in part by Creative Capital’s own Ruby Lerner, and the name pays homage to Ruby as a visionary leader in the realm of arts funding. We could not be more proud of this tribute and the fact that the Rubys grant program is already benefiting Creative Capital artists!

The next round of Rubys grants focuses on the Visual Arts and Literary Arts and opens for applications on May 1, 2014. Details on the application process as well as downloadable grant guidelines are available at http://baltimoreculture.org/programs/rubys.

The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Program: What Have We Learned?

Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Foundation Program Director for the Arts, and Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital's President & Founding Director

Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital’s President & Founding Director

Ruby Lerner: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Ben! A bit of background, before we get started: In 2011, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation asked Creative Capital to partner with them to launch and oversee the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Program (DDPAA), which announced its third class of awardees yesterday. I know that we’re both so excited to begin working with this extraordinary roster of artists. We talked about the birth of DDPAA in an interview for this blog back in April 2012, so we thought it would be interesting to do a “Part Two” now about what has been learned over the past few years working together to bring the program to life. We had a similar discussion on a session at last year’s Grantmakers in the Arts conference in Philadelphia.

Thinking back on the initial vision for the DDPAA program, what do you think the biggest changes have been (if any) to adapt the program to the needs of the artists? Continue reading

Laura Poitras Wins Pulitzer Prize and Polk Award for NSA Reporting

Laura Poitras. Photo by Sean Gallup for Home Front Communications.

Laura Poitras. Photo by Sean Gallup for Home Front Communications.

Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (2008 Film/Video) has been honored with two major journalism awards for her reporting on National Security Association surveillance programs that whistle-blower Edward Snowden brought to light. The Washington Post and The Guardian each received the Pulitzer Prize for public service for “the revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency,” as reported by Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Barton Gellman and Ewan MacAskill. In the same week, the group of reporters also received the prestigious Polk Award for national security reporting.

In January 2013, Poitras was contacted by an anonymous source saying that he had sensitive documents related to NSA surveillance that he wanted to bring to light. In the months that followed, Poitras emailed with the source through an encrypted connection, eventually bringing Guardian reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill into the correspondence. In May 2013, Poitras, Greenwald and MacAskill flew to Hong Kong to meet the source, who turned out to be former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In early June, the reporters broke his story simultaneously in The Washington Post and The Guardian and released a video interview with Snowden, shot by Poitras, on YouTube. Continue reading

Susan Robb’s “Wild Times” Explores Wildness as a Geographic Ideal and a State of Mind

Susan Robb, Wild Times

On April 17, Susan Robb (2013 Emerging Fields) will embark on a five-month adventure from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. This marks the culmination of her Creative Capital-supported project, Wild Times, which merges new media, social engagement and a 2,650-mile hike to explore wildness as a geographic ideal and a state of mind. I connected with Susan to learn more about this project and her preparations for the trek.

Jenny Gill: Wild Times centers around the importance of untouched wilderness and the notion of “wildness” as an antidote to the stress and structure of modern life. You live in a major city (Seattle). Do you struggle to stay connected to the wild in your day-to-day life?

Susan Robb: The “wild” I’m most interested in is the internal space, the interior dialogue, the autonomous sense of self. In the same way that geographic wild spaces are endangered, I believe the internal, personal ones are endangered as well. A person can feel the struggle and stress of modern life regardless of whether they live in a city or not. Continue reading

Seven Creative Capital Artists Receive 2014 Guggenheim Fellowships

2014 Guggenheim Fellows LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deke Weaver, Naeem Mohaiemen, Stacey Steers

2014 Guggenheim Fellows LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deke Weaver, Naeem Mohaiemen, Stacey Steers

We were thrilled to see seven Creative Capital Artists among the 2014 class of Guggenheim Fellows! Congratulations to the following:

Patty Chang, awarded in Fine Arts
Nancy Davidson, awarded in Fine Arts
Chris Doyle, awarded in Film-Video
LaToya Ruby Frazier, awarded in Photography
Naeem Mohaieman, awarded in Film-Video
Stacey Steers, awarded in Film-Video
Deke Weaver, awarded in Drama & Performance Art

Read more about these artists and the full roster of 2014 Guggenheim Fellows here.

Bernadette Mayer Receives the 2014 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America

Bernadette Mayer

Bernadette Mayer

Bernadette Mayer (2009 Literature) is the winner of the National Poetry Society’s 2014 Shelley Memorial Award. The judges, Ben Doller and Joan Larkin, wrote the following tribute: “For a generation of poets, Bernadette Mayer has stood as a brilliant example of how to live a life in poetry and how to create a poetry out of life. From her early performance-based work in which she explored the lines between memory, documentary, and presence, to her current work which excavates the DNA of the struggling city in which she lives (Troy, NY), Mayer’s writing has always been fiercely, independently ahead of its time. Feminist and expansive—in multiple directions—Mayer’s voice is one that cuts the wind, leads the charge, and always tells the smooth, hard truth. In a massive body of work that juxtaposes the quotidian with the spectacular, the public with the personal, Mayer has emerged as the chief poet of time in our time. Throughout her still-evolving career, Mayer consistently transcends category, genre, and label, carving open space for new forms of writing, thinking, and being. From her early work as the co-founder and editor of the influential 0 to 9 with Vito Acconci, to her deeply collaborative and creative poetry friendships, to her radical investigations into egalitarian pedagogy, Bernadette Mayer is a poet who has given more than she has taken—she has given proliferation back to poetry, and poetry back to art.”

Mayer received the Creative Capital award in 2009 for her project Helen of Troy, The Faces That Launched A Thousand Ships, a series of poems and photographs featuring women named Helen. Her book, The Helens of Troy, New York, was published by New Directions Press in 2013.

Jesse Sugarmann’s “We Build Excitement” Commemorates the Rise and Fall of the American Auto Industry

Jesse Sugarmann, Production still, "We Build Excitement (Pontiac, MI)," digital video, 2013

Jesse Sugarmann, Production still, “We Build Excitement (Pontiac, MI),” digital video, 2013

Jesse Sugarmann (2012 Film/Video) premieres his Creative Capital-supported project, We Build Excitement, with a solo exhibition at Southern Exposure, opening April 4, 2014. The exhibition presents a series of performances and videos examining the evolution of the American auto industry as a parallel to shifting American identity.

Two years ago, Sugarmann began opening unsanctioned Pontiac dealerships in decommissioned car dealership locations across the U.S. He activates these shuttered businesses as sites of celebration, honoring both the American auto-worker and our fraught, intimate relationships to cars themselves. Assembling temporary modernist monuments with Pontiac cars, Sugarmann gives form to the precarious nature of the auto industry. In video works, he documents laid-off assembly line workers and car accident victims recreating the movements of their former jobs and crashes, respectively. Their deadpan choreography forms a moving homage to the mundane and the traumatic moments in both the birth and death of the automobile.

I connected with Jesse to learn more about this ongoing body of work.

Jenny Gill: Talk to me about Pontiac. When did you start making work about the auto industry, and what is it about Pontiac specifically that you’re interested in?

Jesse Sugarmann: Cars have been of primary interest to me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in rural Connecticut, far away from pretty much everything. I felt really isolated there, almost trapped. So, as a kid, distance was always this enemy, something between me and what I wanted to get to. And cars, to me, were this obvious antidote to distance. I became fascinated with cars from an early age. And it stuck with me, this idea of cars as freeing objects, purveyors of mobility and autonomy. Continue reading

luciana achugar’s “OTRO TEATRO”: In Search of a New Kind of Theater

Photo by Matt Lambros.

Photo by Matt Lambros.

luciana achugar (2013 Performing Arts) presents the New York premiere of her Creative Capital-supported project, OTRO TEATRO, at New York Live Arts, April 2-5, 2014. Placed metaphorically in the ruins of a collapsed theater, OTRO TEATRO is achugar’s current search for another kind of theater; a ritual of becoming; an occasion for communion. OTRO TEATRO, a solo work created and performed by achugar, is a dark rite of passage from destruction to rebuilding. It is a dance that is meant to be felt as it is seen, giving voice to the arcane spirit and desire of our uncivilized bodies.   Continue reading

Affordable Care Act Tips for Artists: Don’t Miss the March 31 Deadline!


VIDEO: “Every Artist Insured: Navigating the Affordable Care Act with Renata Marinaro.” Produced by the CUE Art Foundation, with support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

As the March 31 deadline for enrollment in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act approaches, we wanted to share a few resources for artists who are trying to choose the right plan for them. You can watch the CUE Art Foundation video above, in which Renata Marinaro of the Actors Fund walks you through the process of selecting a plan, or read on for tips from our friends at the Freelancer’s Union.

Check out the plans on HealthCare.gov
This is where you can shop for health plans that are available through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the health exchange. The website asks for your household income and number of dependents so you can compare plans and find the one that meets your budget and wellness needs. Since you might qualify for lower costs, we encourage you to start your insurance search on the exchange. You can use this online calculator to find out if you’re eligible for tax credits or subsidies. Continue reading

Otabenga Jones & Associates Launch “The People’s Plate” in Houston

Otabenga Jones & Associates, "The People's Plate" mural, which utilizes imagery by graphic artist and Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas

Otabenga Jones & Associates, “The People’s Plate” mural, which utilizes imagery by graphic artist and Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas

On February 28, Otabenga Jones & Associates (2008 Visual Arts) premieres The People’s Plate, a collaborative art project and public health program addressing the ongoing crisis of obesity and its related risks. The Collective will unveil a public mural at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston and launch a series of adjacent programs, kicking off a year-long commitment to health education.

Inspired by the Black Panther Free Breakfast for School Children Program, which saw the Panthers cooking and serving breakfast to poor inner city children, The People’s Plate aims to provide at-risk community members with a set of tools that encourage self-sufficiency and empowerment in maintaining their own health through food choices while building community. Programs at Lawndale and other Houston venues will include cooking classes, a foraging workshop, an urban gardening workshop, an instructional cooking video and a line of mass-produced lunchboxes that will be made available to the public. Continue reading