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is really tragic, as they not only provided substantial financial support annually to working artists, which has not been replaced by the private sector, but they took a leadership role in articulating the issues.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.
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.
Lentiucular Wall, from performance by 2013 grantee Complex Movements. Photo by Vanessa Miller.
We are thrilled to announce that Creative Capital is featured in today’s Wall Street Journal! The fantastic article, “Where Good Ideas Go to Live,” written by Steve Dollar, highlights a few our amazing 2013 grantees and offers insight into what makes our approach to working with artists so unique. If you’re a subscriber, you can read the full text on the WSJ’s website), and we’ve included an excerpt below:
When the downtown nonprofit Creative Capital announced on Thursday the recipients of its 2013 grants—$4.1 million to be divided among 46 projects in sums of up to $50,000, plus advisory services—the list highlighted many proposals that defy convention.
“You Are It”, by Williamsburg choreographer Arturo Vidich and machinist Daniel Wendlek, proposes a performance, inspired by the schoolyard game Tag, for 3,000 dancers and a human-powered hybrid electric airplane, staged on an abandoned runaway in Long Island.
St. Louis, Mo., artist Juan William Chávez’s “Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary” aims to transform the wooded site of a former housing project into a space for community beekeeping. Continue reading
Today, Creative Capital announced our 2013 project grants in the categories of Emerging Fields, Literature and the Performing Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects by 66 artists hailing from 17 states and Puerto Rico. The 2013 grantees were selected through an open-call, three-phase application process from a pool of more than 2,700 applicants. Creative Capital’s investment in each project includes up to $50,000 in direct financial support (disbursed at key points over the life of each project), plus more than $40,000 in advisory services, making our total 2013 investment more than $4,140,000.
Traditionally, Creative Capital’s Emerging Fields projects have centered on pushing the boundaries of technology. This year technology is embedded in most of the 17 funded projects, but is not the subject of the work. Instead, many are issue-focused, dealing with the environment, food, immigration, incarceration and urbanism, among others. Specifics include: a media artist who will build projectors from discarded e-waste; a public performance event planned and executed with a community in San Juan, Puerto Rico; a series of immersive dining experiences set in future worlds; and a multimedia exploration of state-sponsored human rights atrocities. Continue reading
PearlDamour, How to Build a Forest performance installation at The Kitchen in New York, 2011
PearlDamour, the Obie-award winning collaborative team of Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour, creates performance projects both inside and outside traditional theater spaces. This week, they are presenting their performative installation, How To Build A Forest, at Duke University’s Paige Auditorium (October 19-21). This truly unique project, created in collaboration with visual artist and costume designer Shawn Hall, is a durational interdisciplinary work—part visual art installation and part theater performance—in which an elaborate forest is built and dismantled over an eight-hour period. The work was inspired by the loss of 100 trees at D’Amour’s family home in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, and subsequently informed by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
PearlDamour received their Creative Capital grant in Performing Arts for How to Build A Forest in 2009, and the life of their project provides a wonderful case study in how Creative Capital supports artists pursuing ambitious projects with a combination of financial and advisory support.
As with all our grantees, PearlDamour was selected through our open-call, three-phrase application process. Nearly 100 arts professionals from across the country serve as readers, evaluators and panelists who review the applications and help to determine the projects that are awarded Creative Capital grants.
Remarkably, Creative Capital’s grantmaking process created an opportunity for PearlDamour to develop their project before they even received a grant. Continue reading
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 over 2,700 Letters of Inquiry for grants in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts. In January 2013, we’ll announce the 46 funded projects in our next class of grantees. Yes, it really does take almost a year to determine the projects that will receive Creative Capital grants!
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 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 19 Recommenders in different parts of the country who suggested artists and artist organizations in their geographic region to notify about the grant deadline. Continue reading
We’ve reached the point in our grantmaking process where applicants in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts who have advanced to the second round are asked to submit work samples. We thought this would be an appropriate moment to offer some tips for artists on providing quality work samples, a crucial element in any competitive application process. While these tips may have a bias towards Creative Capital’s process, they are hardly exclusive to us, and we hope these pointers will be useful to all artists!
- Don’t forget that your entire application—words and pictures—is an exercise in persuasion. Your job at this stage is to show the evaluators that: 1) You have a terrific and innovative idea; 2) You have the chops to pull off that idea; 3) The evaluator would be remiss to not join in on your extraordinary creative journey.
- Pick your work samples very carefully. They should build a bridge between what you’ve done before and what you propose to do now. Do not assume that the evaluators will make that connection, however. Instead, make sure you tell them!
- The strongest work samples capture your singular sensibility and areas of exploration. Continue reading
As we begin accepting online Letters of Inquiry for grants in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts, we thought we’d offer some research and application tips for grant seekers. These are universal pointers, not necessarily specific to our own grant application. So whether you plan to apply for a Creative Capital grant or not, we wish you luck out there!
Don’t wait until the last minute. It is not worth the stress of having no time for reflection or revision.
Do your research. When considering a potential funder, take a look at their previously funded projects. Can you picture yourself in that community of ideas and creative expression? What is the range of diversities represented (career level and trajectory, sub-disciplines, subject matter, etc.)? Has there been a shift in the kinds of work or artists supported? Do all this while bearing in mind that the past is not necessarily an indicator of the future, though it does offer important clues.
Read the guidelines and application instructions. The guidelines are your cheat sheet extraordinaire. The granting organization always tells you what’s most important to them through their guidelines so pay attention and look for key words such as “emerging,” “innovation” and so on. Continue reading