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
Amie Siegel - Heavy Metal
A multi-element moving image work exploring the intertwined histories of nuclear reactors, uranium minds and Native American land.
Anna Sew Hoy - Psychic Body Grotto
A sculptural installation of bronze "grottos" enlarged from spontaneous gestures in clay.
Gala Porras-Kim - The Mute Object and Ancient Stories of Today
Examines the link between an undesciphered script found on Mesoamerican artifacts and the development of a standardized dictionary for the Zapotec language in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Lorraine O'Grady - MBN - 30 Years Later
The artist's performance persona, Mlle Bourgoise Noire, transforms into a new avatar who protests a money-driven art world to restore the cultural purpose it has lost.
Danielle Dean - Trainers, Part 2
A multi-channel video work, performed and reworked by community members in the Alief neighborhood in Houston, that uses language from Nike commercials and political speeches to investigate how advertising shapes subjects.
Heather Cassils - The Resilience of the 20%: Monument Project
A series of bronze monuments, cast from the artist's attacks on 2000-pound clay blocks and placed at sites where acts of violence towards gender nonconforming people have occurred.
Carolina Caycedo - Be Dammed
An interdisciplinary project investigating the effects that large dams have on natural and social landscapes in several American bio-regions.
A.K. Burns - Negative Space
A multi-channel video installation that presents a surreal narrative of bodies in transition and their relationship to nature, technology, territories and resources.
Travis Wilkerson - Blood Relations
A documentary murder mystery examining the complexities of a racially-charged crime in the filmmaker's own family history.
Dan Schneidkraut - Vore King
A detailed character study of R.P. Whalen, world famous horror host, trash movie guru, carnival sideshow barker, and America's premier purveyor of vorarephilia fetish pornography.
Jon Rubin - The Sitcom
An experimental, transnational sitcom set and shot both in Tehran and Los Angeles, repositioning the conflict and cultural misrepresentation that characterize U.S./Iranian political relations into the absurdist sphere of a domestic comedy.
Jennifer Reeder - As With Knives and Skin
A deadpan glimpse into the lives of both teenagers and adults during the aftermath of a young girl's disappearance in a rural, racially diverse town in Ohio
Carlo Ontal - Kitoko Ya Kolela
A performance piece, series of photo and painting exhibitions, and film drawing on a photojournalist's experience in the Congo.
Jillian Mayer & Lucas Leyva - #PostModem
A multi-platform narrative culminating in a satirical sci-fi pop musical about a girl who frees futuristic Miami from corporate powers with the help of viral videos.
Lily & Honglei - Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China
A multimedia installation that utilizes animation and emerging technologies to visualize the metamorphosis created by urbanization in China.
Velez, Ivan - The Ballad of Wham Kabam!
A series of five interconnected comic books that use the tropes and style of the classic superhero genre to tell the story of America's multicultural history.
Wu Tsang - Duilian
A film project exploring the legacy of historical Chinese poet and revolutionary Qui Jin (1857-1907) through a "queer lens," considering Western and non-Western LGBTQ identity constructions.
Katrin Sigurdardottir - Supra Terram
A large-scale installation in which a cave-like structure intersects a building on two levels and redefines the architecture of the building with its volume.
Carrie Schneider - The Readers
An installation of 50 film-based portraits of influential women authors, activists, critics, artists and poets immersed in the act of reading.
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz - Verano de Mujeres
A feminist ethno-fiction based on the visionary world-view and sensorial experiences of a group of women in R'o Piedras, Puerto Rico.
Jeanine Oleson - A human(e) orchestra
An ever-changing "orchestra" that uses a range of noises, from conventional music to speech acts, to produce compositions around agreed-upon issues or audiences in need of "music."
Brittany Nelson - Alternative Process
A series of large-scale digital prints examining the materials of alternative process photography through the artist's experimentations with raw photo-chemical materials.
Narcissister - Organ Player
A feature-length experimental art film based on, and elaborating on, the artists' acclaimed performance of the same name.
Jon Kessler - The Time Was Now
An immersive sculpture and video installation dealing with the inevitable march of time.
Titus Kaphar - Jerome Project
An interdisciplinary investigation into the criminal justice system through the lens of the common and traditionally African-American name, Jerome.
Eric Gottesman - The Oromaye Project
A series that takes assassinated Ethiopian novelist Baalu Girma's Oromaye as the point of departure for a transnational participatory public photography project.
Mariam Ghani - What we left unfinished
A collaboration with Afghan filmmakers to examine unfinished state-sponsored films during the years of Afghan Communism (1978-1991) as records of fleeting iterations of the Afghan state, and imagine new narratives from the fragments.
Maria Gaspar - Out of Field
A series of outdoor visual and sonic installations on the West Side of Chicago that bring experiences and narratives from Cook County Jail out into the neighborhood that surrounds the detention facility.
Abigail DeVille - The Bronx: History of Now
A series of 100 site-specific sculptural installations constructed from found objects, fragments of histories and community narratives to tell the story of the present moment in the Bronx.
Mike Crane - UHF42
A 90-minute television program filmed entirely within the confines of an independent television station in the West Bank.
Lee Anne Schmitt - So That I May Come Back
A non-traditional documentary based on the case of Mary Bell, who was 11 years old when she was convicted of killing two small boys in England.
Ry Russo-Young - The Family Movie
A narrative feature film based on the true story of the artist's known sperm donor suing her lesbian mothers for visitation and paternity rights when she was nine years old.
Shawn Peters - The Art of Dying Young
A series of short films that "re-memorialize" young men who were previously memorialized with death murals in Brooklyn; the films, which incorporate augmented reality technology, are intended to be accessed and viewed on smart phones at the site of the memorial ritual.
Lorelei Pepi - Vigil
An interactive installation that uses facial tracking technology to encourage viewers to engage with and stand vigil for animated representations of "the Other."
Pat O'Neill - Drift, Wait, Obey
A multi-screen video installation that presents imagery drawn from life and radically restructured using digital technologies.
Nathan Lotfy - Fire
A feature film following fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in the days leading up to his symbolic act of self-immolation, which sparked the Tunisian revolution and the subsequent Arab Spring.
Jeff Malmberg & Chris Shellen - Teatro
A documentary about villagers in a small Italian farming town who preserve their heritage and confront their community issues by turning their lives into a play.
Shola Lynch - Harriet: Live Free or Die Trying
A narrative film about an unlikely but true action heroine Harriet Tubman
Andy Kropa - Hacking Alzheimers
A wearable system that aims to improve the quality of life for people affected by Alzheimer's disease and dementia by using perpetually-recording cameras as an aid to memory.
Klip Collective - Vacant America
A series of videos projections on vacant structures that draw on submitted stories and imagery to uncover physical residues and memories of each forgotten space.
Maryam Keshavarz - The Last Harem
A feature film set in 19th-century Persia that follows a rebellious cross-dressing musician and her romance with the boy-king Nasir.
Lauren Kelley - Holiday Way
A stop-motion animated video series based on fictional narratives set on or around major holidays.
Christopher Harris - Speaking In Tongues
An experimental, hand-processed 16mm film inspired by Ishmael Reed's novel "Mumbo Jumbo."
Cherien Dabis - No End in Sight
An immersive cinematic experience that follows the story of a young Muslim woman taking part in the Egyptian revolution.
Martha Colburn - Western Wilds
A stop-motion film based on popular stories about the American West written by German author Karl May in the 1890s.
Michael Almereyda - The Happy Man's Shirt
A series of linked short films adapted from Medieval Italian folktales, remained in contemporary settings.
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 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.
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
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
VIDEO: More application tips from Ruby Lerner
Here at Creative Capital, our staff and consultants from across the country are preparing to enter the panel stage of our award application process for the visual artists and filmmakers who submitted Letters of Inquiry in February. (Yes, it really does take us nearly a year to select our Awardees!) As they convene, what will our panelists be looking for in an application? What are some common mistakes they see? Keep reading to get the answers from four former panelists: Erin Cosgrove, Los Angeles-based artist and 2008 Film/Video Awardee; Annie Han, Seattle-based artist, 2005 Visual Arts Awardee and Creative Capital Board Member; David Filipi, Curator & Director of Film/Video at Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH; and Irene Hofmann, Phillips Director and Chief Curator at SITE Santa Fe.
Maura Guyote: What qualities are you looking for when you read an application for the first time? What kinds of writing or ideas jump out at you while you’re reviewing an application?
Irene Hofmann: Clarity and directness stand out in applications. A concise summary of your project described up front sets up the entire application with strength. Think of it as your “elevator pitch” right in the first lines of your application. Use those first sentences to grab your reader. Continue reading
2014 MAP Fund Grantee Faye Driscoll’s project “Thank You For Coming”
During the months of August, September and October, the staff of the MAP Fund (administered by Creative Capital) will be on the road, spreading the word about the program’s upcoming 2015 grant cycle. With the support of presenting partners across the country, Program Director Moira Brennan will lead sessions in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami, and Program Associate Lauren Slone will travel to Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Houston. Check here for specific dates and attendance information, and read on for a basic overview of the sessions, frequently asked questions and more.
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
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 attendees, written 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.
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.
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
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.
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.