PDP Spanish-Language Workshop in Philadelphia: A “taller” at Taller

Photo from a Taller Puertorriqueño event

Photo courtesy of Taller Puertorriqueño

Taller means workshop in Spanish, so it was apropos that Creative Capital hold a Taller profesional de desarollo para artistas at Taller Puertorriqueño (or Taller for short) in April in Philadelphia. Known as “The Cultural Heart of Latino Philadelphia,” Taller is a community-based multidisciplinary arts organization whose work bridges European, African, Caribbean and Latino societies and cultures. They offer programs for youth and adults, operate art galleries featuring Latino/a artists, run the region’s only bilingual bookstore, sponsor musical and theater events and organize a range of engaging cultural art education programs. Currently on exhibition (through July 24) is The Iconography of Meaning which explores contemporary cultural imagery used to convey ideas and thoughts about cultural identity, politics and the immigrant experience.  Continue reading

The Story Chooses Sides: Strategic Marketing for Artists, Part Two

Narratives that hinged on belief, clockwise from top left: Steve Jobs: “Think Different.” Johnnie Cochran: “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.” Barack Obama: “Yes, We Can.” George W. Bush: “The smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

Narratives that hinged on belief, clockwise from top left: Steve Jobs: “Think Different.” Johnnie Cochran: “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.” Barack Obama: “Yes, We Can.” George W. Bush: “The smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

This post is part of Brian Tate’s series, The Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing: Tools for Artists to Advance Their Careers and Communities. Part One was: Marketing Is Storytelling: An Intro to Strategic Marketing for Artists.

“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation—(and) the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.”
– Robert McKee, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

TV ads, Internet ads, movie trailers, electronic billboards, celebrity endorsements, product sampling—they are all applications of marketing, but not the thing itself. Like electricity snaking through wires, marketing can travel via advertising, promotions and public relations, but it is older and greater than those conduits. Marketing is powered by a primal form of energy, the Story, to which it attaches a Call-to-Action. When those elements are expertly combined, their effect is intense. Continue reading

Our Award Selection Process: What Happens Next?

We are so proud of the fact that Creative Capital is one of the only national nonprofit organizations that awards grants to individual artists through an open application process. This means that anyone can apply, as long as you meet our basic eligibility criteria. In February, Creative Capital received more than 3,700 Letters of Inquiry for grants in Visual Arts & Moving Image—our biggest applicant pool to date! The applicants hailed from 49 U.S. states and Puerto Rico (Mississippi artists, we want you!), along with U.S. citizens living in 26 other countries. In January 2015, we’ll announce the 46 funded projects in our next class of awardees. Yes, it really does take almost a year to select the next class of Creative Capital Artists!

Applicants, funders and others in our network often ask us how we go about winnowing thousands of applications down to only 46 funded projects. The short answer: very thoughtfully, and with a lot of help.


Creative Capital actively solicits new applicants through an open call for Letters of Inquiry, using web-based outreach, in-person and online info sessions, and partner organizations to help us spread the word. This year we worked with seven Program Consultants who advised us in our grantmaking process, in addition to 22 colleagues in different parts of the country who suggested artists and artist organizations in their geographic region to notify about the award deadline. 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

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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