Sean Elwood

About Sean Elwood

Sean Elwood, Director of Programs & Initiatives at Creative Capital, is the former Curator and Collection Manager of the Seattle Arts Commission, Director of Special Projects at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (New York) and Manager of the Art Residency Program at the Centrum Foundation (Port Townsend, WA). He founded SEEDITIONS Art Publishing Company and co-owned Fuller/Elwood Gallery (Seattle). He currently serves as a member of the board for Triple Canopy (Brooklyn) and on the advisory boards of the Lower East Side Printshop (New York) and The Watts House Project (Los Angeles). Elwood received a Max Beckmann Scholarship at Brooklyn Museum Art School and holds an MA in visual arts from Hunter College. He is an occasional curator, publisher, writer and Sunday painter.

Remembering Beatriz da Costa (1974-2012)

Beatriz da Costa We were devastated to learn that Beatriz da Costa passed away on December 27, 2012, from cancer. An intelligent and innovative artist who became a Creative Capital Emerging Fields grantee in 2009, Beatriz initially gave the entirely misleading impression of being physically slight, even fragile. But any notion of wan delicacy was quickly dispelled the moment she was engaged in conversation…about anything. She was articulate, determined, tough-minded and opinionated, in that she possessed a clearly considered opinion about whatever topic was under discussion.

Our colleague Amanda McDonald Crowley expressed our sentiments exactly when she wrote, “To the very end, Beatriz remained an incredibly strong and determined person, a generous friend, and a courageous and inspired artist.” We loved her energy, her ideas and her wicked, dry sense of humor. We only wish she was allowed more time here to do her work.

In mid December, Beatriz and her collaborators launched the Anti-Cancer Survival Kit,  part of her Creative Capital-supported project, The Cost of Life. Simultaneously practical, playful and pedagogical in its approach, the kit is something that Beatriz would have liked to have access to when she was first diagnosed with cancer. It is a project her collaborators wish to finalize, in her honor, so that others may benefit from the research she has been doing over the last three years. We encourage you to join us in making a pledge to realize the project on their Rockethub site. Continue reading

PearlDamour: A Case Study of How Creative Capital Supports Artists

PearlDamour, How to Build a Forest performance installation at The Kitchen in New York, 2011

PearlDamour, the Obie-award winning collaborative team of Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour, creates performance projects both inside and outside traditional theater spaces. This week, they are presenting their performative installation, How To Build A Forest, at Duke University’s Paige Auditorium (October 19-21). This truly unique project, created in collaboration with visual artist and costume designer Shawn Hall, is a durational interdisciplinary work—part visual art installation and part theater performance—in which an elaborate forest is built and dismantled over an eight-hour period. The work was inspired by the loss of 100 trees at D’Amour’s family home in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, and subsequently informed by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

PearlDamour received their Creative Capital grant in Performing Arts for How to Build A Forest in 2009, and the life of their project provides a wonderful case study in how Creative Capital supports artists pursuing ambitious projects with a combination of financial and advisory support.


As with all our grantees, PearlDamour was selected through our open-call, three-phrase application process. Nearly 100 arts professionals from across the country serve as readers, evaluators and panelists who review the applications and help to determine the projects that are awarded Creative Capital grants.

Remarkably, Creative Capital’s grantmaking process created an  opportunity for PearlDamour to develop their project before they even received a grant. Continue reading

Eve Sussman Creates Special Project, “Elevated Train,” To Benefit Creative Capital

Eve Sussman is a 2008 Visual Arts grantee for her project whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir, a fanciful blend of filmmaking, video and digital technology that follows a central character—an anonymous geophysicist code writer—who is stuck in a futuristic city. Its experimental narrative runs endlessly, driven along by the digital decisions of custom-built algorithmic software that edits the film in real time. It has no beginning, middle or end, never repeats the same editing sequence twice, and has its scenes and voiceovers paired at random by what the filmmakers call “the serendipity of the machine.”

When Eve agreed to create a limited series for Creative Capital’s 2012 Benefit & Auction and said she was thinking of combining some version of a stereoscope with black-and-white photography, we were intrigued and, well, surprised. Continue reading

Grant Info Sessions: Reaching Out to Artists Nationwide

Ruby Lerner presenting a grant info session in Kansas City

Creative Capital’s info sessions are simply gatherings where we can tell artists about what we do and how they can apply for a grant. Because we have one of the few open and competitive artist grant applications in the country, and because our selection process is multi-layered, takes a while, requires a good deal of thought and, yes, effort, we’ve always felt it important to reach out to artists. Not only to spread the word about Creative Capital, but to also offer advice, answer questions and get feedback about our system. We try to do these face-to-face meetings several times a year in different parts of the country.

I recently returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest where I conducted two meetings, one in Seattle at On The Boards, and a second in Portland at PICA’s Washington High School. In December, I’ll do a meeting in Miami, and in February, I’ll barnstorm through Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles and, perhaps, San Diego. Continue reading