Announcing the 2015 Creative Capital Artists: $4,370,000 Awarded to 46 Moving Image and Visual Arts Projects

Creative Capital's 2015 awardees

Creative Capital is pleased to announce its 2015 awardees in the categories of Moving Image and Visual Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects selected from a nationwide pool of more than 3,700 proposals. Drawing on venture-capital principles, Creative Capital seeks out artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching, then surrounds those artists with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers.

The 2015 Creative Capital Artists are an incredible group of creative thinkers, representing 50 artists at all stages of their careers with an age range of 28 to 80 years old. They hail from 13 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada; more than half are women, and more than half identify as non­-European American. Each funded project receives up to $50,000 in direct funding, plus additional resources and advisory services valued at $45,000, making the organization’s total 2015 investment more than $4,370,000.  Continue reading

The Creative Capital Award – Who Helps Us Decide?

 

Today, we announced the 2015 Creative Capital Artists in Moving Image and Visual Arts. We could not be more excited about the 46 new funded projects—an incredibly diverse group hailing from 13 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada. We’ve arrived at this day thanks in huge part to the work of our valued colleagues who help us select each group of Creative Capital Artists. While we worked with more than 100 consultants during the ten-month process, two consultants advised us during the entire award round, reviewing submissions at every stage. I asked Mike Plante (Programmer at the Sundance Film Festival and our Program Consultant for Moving Image) and Dean Daderko (Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and our Program Consultant for Visual Arts) a few questions about what it was like to work with Creative Capital on the process.

Lisa Dent: What motivated you to work with Creative Capital as a Program Consultant for this award round?

Mike PlanteMike Plante: Everyone wants to help artists and filmmakers make a project but it’s difficult to know how to actually do it. Creative Capital has made the blueprint. It’s rare to give filmmakers and artists money with few strings attached, but that is exactly what CC does. To be part of a process that finds amazing artists across the country, discuss their ideas and the path they are on – and to then give them not only financial help but real-world advice about balancing work and life. It’s really a dream project.

Photo by Matthew Rowe, Houston

Dean Daderko: My motivation is pretty simple: I know of no other funding body that is as forward-thinking, as deeply generous, or as profoundly invested in being responsive to artists’ practices as Creative Capital. They fund the projects other organizations wouldn’t even consider! The end game here isn’t a substantial check—their commitment begins well before artists reach this stage, and continues throughout the life of the project, and beyond! Creative Capital understands fundamentally that by working with artists as partners—and by providing not just money, but thought, time and rich reserves of resources and connections—that they can positively and productively shape the future. Their unconventional and deeply responsible approach gives artists an incredible amount of agency, and they’re invited to bring their creative approaches to innovating and developing a game plan that’s uniquely responsive to the goals and concerns of their projects. The success they’ve had with this artist-centric strategy speaks for itself: so many artists will tell you what a dream it is to work with Creative Capital. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the staff are some of the friendliest, most helpful, and well-connected people around either! Ruby Lerner is my hero! Continue reading

Why We Support Adventurous Art: Ruby Lerner & Lisa Dent on Creative Capital’s Award Process

Still from Janine Antoni's "Touch."

Still from Janine Antoni’s “Touch.”

We’re gearing up for a busy winter at Creative Capital, as we prepare to announce our 2015 class of Visual Arts and Moving Image Awardees this Wednesday and to open our application for Emerging Fields, Performing Arts and Literature grants in February. I caught up with Ruby Lerner (Creative Capital’s President and Executive Director) and Lisa Dent (Director of Resources & Award Programs) to reflect on our original mission, the projects that have astonished us over the years and why we continue to support risk-takers.

Maura Guyote: Creative Capital has always been committed to supporting artists with singular visions who dream up ambitious projects and aren’t afraid to take risks. Can you talk about why that mission is important?

Ruby Lerner: In any field, if you don’t have experimenters, you don’t have progress. Think about the medical field. We’d still be using leeches if there hadn’t been experimentation and research. So experimentation is really critical for any field to move forward. It’s imperative. In the arts we see a lot of risk aversion, so there need to be portals where risk is honored and appreciated. Not all risks will succeed but we need people to stand behind the risk takers and that’s a role we’ve created for ourselves. Continue reading

Banker White Uses Film To Combat Disease

This has been a busy year for artist and filmmaker Banker White (2008 Film/Video). On September 8, PBS will air his documentary The Genius of Marian, a portrait of his family’s struggle to deal with his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. As he continues to work on his Creative Capital project, WeOwnTV—which helps young filmmakers in Freetown, Sierra Leone hone their craft—Banker has experienced firsthand a recent outbreak of the Ebola virus. We decided to check in with Banker to get his thoughts on his upcoming documentary, and what’s going on in Sierra Leone.

Alex Teplitzky: The Genius of Marian follows Pam White, your mother, as she begins to write a book about her own mother, Marian. A year after beginning the book, Pam is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and so the film picks up where Pam’s book may not be able to finish. As a filmmaker, do you see yourself as creating almost a prosthetic form of memory which empowers people to remember?

Banker White: Well, when I pressed record for the first time for this project that was absolutely the intention, but it was done for very personal reasons.  My mother’s book project was the point of departure, the deep desire to memorialize someone we love and to connect with the difficult and complex emotions that surround losing them.

I moved back to the Boston area in 2009 with my mother and father to help out just after her official diagnosis, and working on the book was our daily activity. We looked at old pictures, watched old movies, and talked about and relived many memories. I also learned a lot about my mother’s life that I never knew—mostly in the details.  I knew her folks were divorced while she was in high school, but never talked with her at length about it. Right after my mother’s diagnosis she was really paralyzed and depressed by the shame and she never talked about her own dementia, but this daily activity seemed to open her up. Talking with me and doing video diary entries became a kind of confessional for her. The project grew to be more about her own diagnosis and how it was affecting our family.

Continue reading

Artist to Artist: Documentary Filmmakers Marshall Curry & Penny Lane

Penny Lane and Marshall Curry

Penny Lane and Marshall Curry

As part of our “Artist to Artist” interview series, Marshall Curry (2008 Film/Video) and Penny Lane (2012 Film/Video) connected over the phone to talk about their past and current documentary film projects. The following is an edited excerpt from their conversation. You can listen online to the full podcast, or subscribe through iTunes.

Penny: Hello! Where are you calling from, Marshall?

Marshall: My office in Park Slope.

Penny: Oh, you’re in Brooklyn. Neat!

Marshall: Where are you?

Penny: I’m in Waterville, NY, which is about five hours north and west of where you are right now. I moved to central New York this past summer for a teaching job. 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

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

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

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

Please note: this blog entry was written in 2014 and reflects 2014 dates. Please see http://creative-capital.org/apply for the 2015 calendar.

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.

Continue reading

Bill Morrison’s “Decasia” Added to National Film Registry


VIDEO: Trailer for Bill Morrison’s Decasia

We were thrilled to hear that Bill Morrison’s Creative Capital project Decasia was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in December 2013. An 80-minute film created from restored nitrate footage re-photographed onto 35mm, Decasia uses decaying reels from the early days of film to investigate the human desire to transcend the limitations of earthbound existence. The spectacular score for Decasia was composed by Bang On A Can co-founder Michael Gordon.

Morrison received the Creative Capital award for Decasia in 2001 and completed the film in 2002. Decasia has the distinction of being the most contemporary film yet accepted into the Registry, which is restricted to works that are at least 10 years old.

You can read more about Decasia and the other 2013 National Film Registry selections in The Washington Post.