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

A Page from Our Handbook: Writing a Proposal

Image from Matthew Moore's (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project "Digital Farm Collective"

Time-lapse footage of lettuce growing, from Matthew Moore’s (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project “Digital Farm Collective”

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Proposal Basics
Proposals come in many shapes and sizes: from simple fellowship applications that require a work sample, a brief description and bio, to lengthy project proposals that involve budget spreadsheets, significant writing and other supporting materials. Frequently we are creating proposals for work we have not yet completed. This means we have to find ways to make a panelist or program officer see what does not yet exist. It’s a big challenge, but a worthy one.

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Marketing is Storytelling: An Intro to Strategic Marketing for Artists

Critiquing, defying, disowning, and re-contextualizing the popular narrative: multidisciplinary artist Hasan Elahi, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, singer-songwriter Eddie Vedder, and musician Santigold.

Artists critiquing, defying, disowning and re-contextualizing the popular narrative, clockwise from top left: multidisciplinary artist Hasan Elahi, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, singer-songwriter Eddie Vedder, and musician Santigold.

Part One in a series, The Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing: Tools for Artists to Advance Their Careers and Communities.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

In 2012, I gave a presentation on strategic marketing at the Creative Capital Artist Retreat for first-time awardees in Visual Arts and Film/Video. They seemed instinctively wary of the topic, which I understood. Marketing is often used to exercise commercial, cultural or political influence over how we live our lives. The process can also suggest manipulation and illusion, a spectacle of bright lights and electronic billboards dedicated to making something much bigger than it can or should possibly be. The artist generally stands in contrast to this. She may have the same conflicted response to public regard as anyone else, but she is driven by a call that begins privately, often inside a workspace where she won’t be sucked into or sucked dry by what feels like an endless popularity contest.

Singer Eddie Vedder, whose band Pearl Jam was caught in the ’90s media glare on Seattle, addresses the consequences in the song, “Blood.” The lyrics switch from first person to third person as if vampiric forces of promotion have made him into separate people, one of whom he loathes: “Spin me round, roll me over, fuckin’ circus… Paint Ed big, turn Ed into one of his enemies.”

But as artists and as people, we seek validation—from an audience of one or of 100. We also know that, as a practical matter, while we make art in private, we make our careers in public—what some call “the real world”—and doing so requires learning how to talk about ourselves in a self-empowering way.  Continue reading

Creative Capital Awards 2014: Tips for Applying in Moving Image & Visual Arts


Creative Capital is currently accepting applications for awards in Moving Image (formerly Film/Video) and Visual Arts (deadline: February 28). The Creative Capital Award combines up to $50,000 in financial support for an artist’s project with advisory services valued at up to $40,000. In this video, Ruby Lerner (President & Founding Director) and Lisa Dent (Director, Resources & Awards Program) give some insight into our awards program and tips for the application process. For more information and to begin your application, visit creative-capital.org/apply.

The Creative Capital Award: What is the application process like?

2005 Visual Arts Awardee Pablo Helguera recording "Parallel Lives" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

2005 Visual Arts Awardee Pablo Helguera recording “Parallel Lives” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

What does applying to Creative Capital really mean? What do you have to do to make it happen?

Creative Capital is one of the only national nonprofit organizations that offers awards to individual artists through an open application process. This means that anyone can apply, as long as you meet our basic eligibility criteria.  In the past, Creative Capital has received 2,700 to 3,200 Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) in each award round. We work all year with arts professionals throughout the country to review your proposals before announcing the 46 funded projects.

On February 3rd, our application website will open to accept your LOI, with a submission deadline of February 28. The LOI is just a written proposal with no work samples. Once you fill out your contact information, education, professional accomplishments, and the name and email of one reference, you can begin to fill out your project proposal.

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A Page from Our Handbook: Building Relationships With Funders

A still from Mondo' Bizarro's Creative Capital project "Cry You One;" photo by Svetlana Volic with WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

A still from Mondo Bizarro’s Creative Capital project “Cry You One;” photo by Svetlana Volic with WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

The road to success involves more than a single application and a ‘yes’ or ‘no‘ response. With grantmakers and donors of all stripes you’ll need to build relationships, just as you would when working with other partners—venues, galleries or collaborators. Funders and donors talk to each other and change jobs. Similarly, a regular contributor may love your work enough to bring friends and potential contributors to your next show—all you have to do is ask! The great impression you make on one funder may not yield immediate results, but it may help you down the line. Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Intro to Funding for Art Projects

Doheel Lee (2013 Performing Arts), The Mago Project

Doheel Lee (2013 Performing Arts), The Mago Project

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Getting Started: Almost all of your fundraising will be done through partnerships: with venues and presenters, advisory boards, and directly with funders and donors. Creative Capital advocates thorough and clear communications about money betwen funders, venues and artists. The better you articulate what you want, what you do and how much it costs, the better off the entire field will be. Thinking of your funders and donors as partners will help you find more opportunities and will make you easier to work with. You will be ready when a venue says, “We found a commission to apply for your project. We need 250 words and a few images. TODAY!” Conversely, if you find a funding source your partners haven’t reached out to yet, you’ll know how to help them through the necessary steps to bring more funding to your project. Partners will want to work with you again and again because you help them help you.

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Improvised Intentionality: Artists Discuss Engagement and Community Building

Artist Retreat attendees in small group discussion

Artist Retreat attendees in small group discussion

If you’ve been to the Creative Capital Artist Retreat, you know that it’s a nerve center of artistic discourse. This year, I joked that it was impossible to make it from the coffee station in the dining hall back to your table without your coffee getting cold—there were too many brilliant and distracting conversations happening in between to waylay you! As Program Assistant for the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards (an ancillary program of Creative Capital), attending my first retreat this year, it was inspiring to be so continuously surrounded by such dialogue.

Beyond over eighty presentations by the inspiring Creative Capital grantees and the fascinating Sunday Focus Sessions, some of the most special moments of the weekend were the spontaneous ones—the moments when putting a lot of artistically-minded heads in the same general area paid off with some truly memorable impromptu conversations. Continue reading

From Artist to Enterprise: Organizational Structures for Artists

Matthew Moore (2008 Visual Arts) founded the Digital Farm Collective to broaden the understanding of how food grows and preserve growing practices from around the world.

Artist and fourth-generation farmer Matthew Moore (2008 Visual Arts) founded the Digital Farm Collective to broaden the understanding of how food grows and preserve growing practices from around the world.

This week, several Creative Capital artists and staff members are in San Francisco for the annual SOCAP conference, dedicated to “increasing the flow of capital toward social good.” Grantees Matthew Moore (2008 Visual Arts), Jae Rhim Lee (2009 Emerging Fields) and Robert Karimi (2009 Performing Arts) participated in the pre-conference Impact Accelerator program designed to jump-start their work as entrepreneurs, using their art practices to affect social change. On Friday, Mark Bamuthi Joseph (2006 Performing Arts) and Taraneh Hemami (2012 Visual Arts) participate in the panel discussion “Making Work: Artists as Activists, Collaborators and Storytellers.”

The idea of artists structuring their practice as an organization or enterprise was explored in a series of Focus Sessions at the recent Creative Capital Artist Retreat. Organized with independent arts consultant Laura Callanan, the “Artist to Enterprise” series included sessions on creative entrepreneurship, structures for artist-run organizations and the importance of protecting intellectual property.

Callanan led the first session, Artist as Social Entrepreneur, which questioned the definitions of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. While social innovation is often seen as existing in particular areas of the tech, business and social sectors, Callanan argues that artists, too, can be social innovators. Thinking outside these professional boundaries, artists can broaden the limits on social innovation.  Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Your PR Timeline

The online promo page for Rodney Evans’ Creative Capital project, “The Happy Sad,” which premieres this week in New York and Los Angeles.

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Your PR Timeline
As you develop your promotional strategy and the elements of your press kit, it’s important to remember that marketing your event will take more than a few weeks, as most publications have strict deadlines and most people need multiple alerts that your event is happening before they will attend. We recommend beginning this PR journey six to nine months before your event; here are the specific steps you’ll need to take on that journey.

Six months before event:

  1. Make a master list of your targeted media. Research their requirements for submitting event listings or press information and the relevant deadlines, noting their preferred method of submission (example: do they prefer you mail or email your press kit?). Make a calendar noting when each mailing/email should go out leading up to the event.
  2. Produce the materials needed for all your selected media outlets (see contents of Press Kit). Continue reading