Ruby Lerner Discusses Arts Funding on Barry’s Blog

Ruby Lerner (left) with Creative Capital Board Member Paige West and Christopher Cooper

Ruby Lerner (left) with Creative Capital Board Member Paige West and Christopher Cooper

Creative Capital’s President & Executive Director Ruby Lerner was recently interviewed by Barry Hessenius of Barry’s Blog about arts funding in the U.S. Barry’s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). You can find the original article here

Barry: Creative Capital was launched in response to the NEA’s movement away from individual artist support as a result of the culture wars of the 1990’s.  Why hasn’t the Endowment reinstated its artist support and what would you like to see them do now?

Ruby:  I think you would have to ask the NEA that question.  I suspect it is because it was the individual artists’ grants that got them into “trouble,” and certainly things now are even more polarized, so I don’t think we will see any movement toward reinstating awards to individuals.  This is really tragic, as they not only provided substantial financial support annually to working artists, which has not been replaced by the private sector, but they took a leadership role in articulating the issues.  There is no private funder that has the authority or standing to do that.  In the absence of direct financial support, they can certainly make a commitment to the infrastructure of organizations that directly support artists.  This would include service organizations at the national, state and local level, and that tier of presenting and exhibiting organizations that stay very close to artists, especially to their local artists.  They exist in many mid-sized and larger communities.  Continue reading

Artist to Artist: Cory Arcangel and Julia Christensen on Media Fluidity and Obsolescence

Cory Arcangel & Julia Christensen

Cory Arcangel & Julia Christensen

As part of our “Artist to Artist” interview series, Cory Arcangel (2006 Emerging Fields) and Julia Christensen (2013 Emerging Fields) connected over the phone to discuss DIY projectors, technological obsolescence, source code, and other issues related to their media-based practices. The following is an edited excerpt from their conversation. You can listen online to the full podcast, or subscribe through iTunes.

Julia: Hello! Great to talk to you, Cory! So you’re in Norway right now?

Cory: Yes, I’m in Stavanger, Norway… Are you in Oberlin?

Julia: Yes, I’m in Oberlin, Ohio. It’s winter term here, which is this wonderful break Oberlin gives, so I’m in the studio 9-5 right now, which is really good.

Cory: And what are you working on?

Julia: Well, primarily I’m working this project that is being supported by Creative Capital.

Cory: Aaaahh. At that point they should throw in a Creative Capital audio watermark. CREATIVE CAPITAL. And an airhorn. (Laughs) Cool.

Julia: Sound effects every time we say Creative Capital! (Laughs)

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Photo Gallery: Tequila Herradura Sponsors Spanish-Language Workshop with Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Taller Participants with workshop leaders Ela Troyano and Angela Reginato

Participants with workshop leaders Ela Troyano and Angela Reginato

On February 8, Creative Capital hosted a Spanish-Language Workshop in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs as our partner and with the generous support of Tequila Herradura. In our Core Curriculum for Spanish-speaking artists, we focus on strategic planning for artists of all disciplines as well as the basics of budgeting, promotion and verbal communications.

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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

Cristina Ibarra’s “Las Marthas” Documents a Colonial Debutante Ball in Laredo, TX

A debutante emerges in Las Marthas (photo by Craig Marsden)

A debutante emerges in “Las Marthas” (photo by Craig Marsden)

Cristina Ibarra (2005 Film/Video) premieres her Creative Capital-supported documentary, Las Marthas, in San Antonio’s CineFestival with a screening at Guadalupe Theater on Tuesday, February 25 at 9:00pm. The film is the winner of the festival’s Special Jury Award. Las Marthas had its broadcast premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens on February 17 and is available to stream online through PBS Video until March 19. Other upcoming festival screenings include San Diego Latino Film Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival and Ambulante California. Continue reading

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

Artist to Artist: Queen GodIs Interviews Tracie Morris about Poetry, Performance and East New York

Tracie Morris (left) and Queen GodIs (right)

Tracie Morris (left) and Queen GodIs (right)

As part of our “Artist to Artist” interview series, Queen GodIs (2013 Performing Arts) and Tracie Morris (2000 Performing Arts) met up at the Brooklyn Museum to discuss commonalities in their work. The following is an excerpt from their conversation. You can listen online to the full podcast, or subscribe through iTunes.

Queen GodIs: This is Queen GodIs, Creative Capital grantee, 2013, with the honor of being with Tracie Morris, a Creative Capital grantee from…

Tracie Morris: The first class of Creative Capital—2000.

Queen: I’m excited. I think there are a lot of parallels that I’m interested in discovering between our work, and some new things. I’m excited to see what she’s up to in this time and figuring out what we’re doing now. I’m going to start with what I call a “check-in.” I think that before you start an interview and start with asking people questions about their business, you want to see what’s on their brain for the day. This check-in is actually inspired by a quote of yours that I heard in an interview that you did with Charles Bernstein. You said: “Our subconscious says things that our consciousness has to catch up to.” I thought that was an awesome statement—a profound statement—and one that rings true in so many ways. So for this check-in, it’s just a quick thought, word-association based on this year in America. So I’m going to throw out some words, and you just give me one or two words—short, simple, off-the-top, first things that come to mind.

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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

Ruby Lerner In Conversation with Cara Ober of Bmoreart

Ruby Lerner

Ruby Lerner

Creative Capital’s President and Founding Director Ruby Lerner spoke with Cara Ober, Editor in Chief at Bmoreart, last month. Find the original post published on January 29, 2014, here.

While most Baltimore artists are now familiar with The Rubys, the new artist grants designed to “support the region’s gems” with up to ten thousand dollars per project, few are aware of the origins of the grant’s name, or that they have a namesake. Although GBCA could have chosen any number of precious gems with which to christen these grants, the Rubys were decisively named for a champion in contemporary arts funding: Ruby Lerner, the President and Founding Director of Creative Capital.

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Photo Gallery: LA Confidential Cocktail Party in Honor of Creative Capital

Connie Yang, Kathryn Andrews, and Ruby Lerner

Connie Yang, Kathryn Andrews and Ruby Lerner

On February 5, LA Confidential Magazine hosted a party in honor of Creative Capital at Dirty Laundry. We were thrilled to have so many awardees, friends and supporters there to celebrate our Southern California community. Many thanks to LA Confidential for hosting, to Pernod-Ricard for supplying incredible drinks, to Ammo Cafe for delicious bites, and to Houston Hospitality / Dirty Laundry for the amazing space! All images, Reza Allah-Bakhshi for LA Confidential.

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