The Making of “Window” by Kerry Skarbakka

Shot 17_Window © 2009

Kerry Skarbakka, “Window,” 2009

As we gear up for Creative Capital’s presentation at the 2014 IdeaFestival in Louisville, we asked one of the presenting artists, Kerry Skarbakka (2005 Visual Arts), to contribute to our blog. He responded with “The Making of Window,” a rare, behind-the-scenes look at how he created the photograph (shown above) of the artist jumping through a window.

In his ongoing series, The Struggle to Right Oneself, Skarbakka photographs himself in extreme situations, and his works explore the physical and psychological effects of the environment on the body. Skarbakka wrote to us, “In 2009, during the height of the recession, I wanted to make an image that reflected the effects of the housing crisis. Because of the sheer difficulty of making this particular shot, Window has always been one of my favorite images.” Continue reading

Louisville Bound: Creative Capital Presents at IdeaFestival and Celebrates 15 Years with 21c Museum Hotel

Left: Sam Van Aken, Blind Spots, 2014. Silver nitrate photograph. Right: Julia Christensen, Burnouts, 2014. Videos, plastic with mirrors, glass lenses, smartphones.

Left: Sam Van Aken, Blind Spots, 2014. Silver nitrate photograph.
Right: Julia Christensen, Burnouts, 2014. Videos, plastic with mirrors, glass lenses, smartphones.

On October 2, Creative Capital Artists Juan William Chávez, Julia Christensen, Robert Karimi and Kerry Skarbakka present with Ruby Lerner at IdeaFestival, a celebration for the intellectually curious that takes place each fall in Louisville, KY. This is the fifth year that Creative Capital has presented a session entitled “Art on the Edge” to introduce the diverse audiences at this international convening to the work of four remarkable artistic innovators. Sam Van Aken, also a Creative Capital awardee, will present a separate session, “Disruptive Thinking and a Hole in the Sky,” on October 3. Both presentations take place at 10:30am EST. You can read profiles of all the artists on the IdeaFestival website and follow the presentations live on Twitter (#IF14).

In conjunction with IdeaFestival, 21c Museum Hotel is presenting 21c Celebrates Creative Capital: A 15th Anniversary Exhibition, featuring the work of 18 Creative Capital awardees including Peggy Ahwesh, Nick Cave, Chris Doyle, Simone Leigh, Eve Sussman, and the five artists presenting in this year’s IdeaFestival. The exhibition, which opens on September 30 and runs through March 2015, includes an installation of Julia Christensen’s Burnouts project, a series of projectors made out of recycled iPhones.  Continue reading

Art at the Edge: Creative Capital Artists at IdeaFestival 2013

Clockwise from top left: Eric Dyer, Elaine Tin Nyo, Paul Rucker, Jesse Sugarmann

Clockwise from top left: Eric Dyer, Elaine Tin Nyo, Paul Rucker, Jesse Sugarmann

On Friday, September 27, Ruby Lerner presents at the IdeaFestival in Louisville with four amazing Creative Capital grantees: Eric Dyer (2012 Film/Video), Paul Rucker (2012 Visual Arts), Jesse Sugarmann (2012 Film/Video) and Elaine Tin Nyo (2013 Emerging Fields). This marks the fourth year that we have been invited to present “Art at the Edge” at this celebration of innovation and intellectual curiosity.

This year’s IdeaFestival artists are a truly interdisciplinary group of makers and thinkers, and we’re thrilled that 21c Museum will exhibit photographic and video work by the Creative Capital artists in conjunction with the Fest.  Continue reading

Videos: Ruby Lerner and Sam Van Aken present at IdeaFestival 2012


Ruby Lerner at IdeaFestival 2012, Louisville, KY


Sam Van Aken at IdeaFestival 2012, Louisville, KY

We’re gearing up for the 2013 IdeaFestival (September 24-27), where Creative Capital’s President & Founding Director, Ruby Lerner, will again present with a group of four amazing artists. We’ll share a preview of their work here soon! In the meantime, enjoy these videos of Ruby and artist Sam Van Aken (2009 Emerging Fields) presenting at the 2012 IdeaFestival.

Video: Liz Cohen on Her “Bodywork” Car Transformation Project

Liz Cohen, Trabantimino
Liz Cohen, Trabantimino

For her Creative Capital-supported project, Bodywork, Liz Cohen (2005 Visual Arts) took two cars—an East German Trabant and a Chevy El Camino—and transformed them over the course of eight years into a hybrid: the Trabantimino. Liz presented this project in the Creative Capital session, Art at the Edge, at the 2012 IdeaFestival in Louisville. Our friends at IdeaFestival recently shared this video of Liz talking about how the ambitious project came to fruition.

As Liz explains in the video, Bodywork is essentially a project about transformation and hybrid identities. She says, “Cars can have so much to do with people’s identities, and national identity. For example, the Trabant and the El Camino both embody the values of the two countries that they come from. I thought that was a nice foil for what could happen to a person who is going from one country to another, or from one job to another job, or is marginalized in any way from the mainstream.” Continue reading

SuttonBeresCuller Bring “Trailer Park” and “Small Moons” to Louisville


SuttonBeresCuller (2008 Visual Arts) recently presented two major projects in Louisville in conjunction with the recent IdeaFestival. The collaborative group installed their nomadic urban oasis, Trailer Park, in front of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and at other sites in downtown Louisville.


The mini-park, built on a car trailer, is complete with live grass turf, a tree and a working fountain powered by a car battery—free and open for anyone to enjoy. Trailer Park was commissioned by artwithoutwallsContinue reading

Creative Capital and IdeaFestival: How We Fell in Love with Louisville


Ruby Lerner presenting at IdeaFestival 2010

On Friday, our Executive Director Ruby Lerner presents “Creative Capital: Art on the Edge” with grantees Liz Cohen, Hasan Elahi, Tahir Hemphill and Sam Van Aken at IdeaFestival in Louisville, KY (September 21, 10:30am, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts). This is our third year presenting on Creative Capital at this convening of global thinkers and innovators, and we’re so excited to be returning with a truly remarkable group of artists. Liz Cohen (2005 Visual Arts) is a photographer and performance artist who is best known for her project Bodywork, in which she transformed an East German Trabant automobile into a Chevy El Camino. Hasan Elahi (2006 Emerging Fields) is an interdisciplinary artist who began the self-surveillance project Tracking Transience in response to being mistakenly listed on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. He presented on Tracking Transience last year at TED Global. Tahir Hemphill (2012 Visual Arts) is a multimedia artist who created The Hip-Hop Word Count, a visualization series of data abstracted from a searchable database of lyrics from over 40,000 Hip Hop songs. Sam Van Aken (2009 Emerging Fields) is an installation and new media artist whose work has most recently taken the form of grafted trees that will bear over 40 different varieties of fruit on a single tree. What a group!

I spoke with Ruby and Alice Gray Stites—Director of artwithoutwalls, Chief Curator and Director of Art Programming at Louisville’s 21c Museum and long-time friend of Creative Capital—about IdeaFestival and Creative Capital’s strong ties with Louisville.  Continue reading

Artists and Organizations, Experimenting Together


Ruby Lerner, Erika Blumenfeld, Mark Shepard and Pamela Z at IdeaFestival. Photo by Bill Wine, Louisville Voice-Tribune.

Welcome to The Lab, Creative Capital’s new blog exploring the creative process! Since artists and arts organizations thrive on experimentation, our blog will delve into the work-in-progress of the artists we support and share the evolution of Creative Capital as a laboratory for artist services.

Part of my job as President of Creative Capital is to spread the word about what we have learned from working with groundbreaking artists over the past 12 years and to share ideas about how we can enable the creative process to flourish.

In September, I had the pleasure of presenting at IdeaFestival in Louisville with an inspiring group of Creative Capital artists: Erika Blumenfeld, Shih-Chieh Huang, Richard Pell, Mark Shepard and Pamela Z. Continue reading

Mark Shepard Leads Serendipitous Walk in Louisville

Mark Shepard (2009 Emerging Fields), one of the five artists who presented with Creative Capital President Ruby Lerner at IdeaFestival in September, led a group of festival-goers on a meandering walk through downtown Louisville using the Serendipitor smart-phone app that he developed. Here’s Mark’s great description of the app: “In the near-future, finding our way from point A to point B will not be the problem. Maintaining consciousness of what happens along the way might be more difficult. Serendipitor is an alternative navigation app for the iPhone that helps you find something by looking for something else. Continue reading