Creative Capital Honors Ruby Lerner with Homecoming Dance-Themed Benefit
September 15, 2015
New York, NY (September 15, 2015) – On Thursday, October 15, pioneering artist service organization Creative Capital will host a benefit celebration honoring Founding Director Ruby Lerner in her last full year with the organization. The event, which takes place at the Manny Cantor Center in New York’s Lower East Side from 7-10pm, will include performances by Corey Dargel and Headlong Dance Theater, editions by Simone Leigh and Wu Tsang and a special project by Ali Momeni—all artists who have been supported by Creative Capital’s awards program. Tickets, which start at $300, are available here.
“As we began planning the 2015 Benefit, it was a natural choice to honor Ruby this year, as all of us in the Creative Capital community are so indebted to her incredible vision, energy and leadership,” said Paige West, the Benefit Event Chair and a member of Creative Capital’s Board of Directors. “Ruby has always wanted to have a Homecoming Dance that brought our artists and friends together from across the country. How perfectly fitting that we are bringing the idea to life this year, and in her honor!”
In June of this year, Ms. Lerner announced her plan to retire from the organization in 2016, after nearly 18 years. In an open letter to the Creative Capital community, Lerner wrote, “Creative Capital is in an exceedingly strong place programmatically and financially, and I feel that the time is right for me to pass the organization on to its next leader. I could not be prouder of what our growing staff, our dedicated board and I have built, and the incredible things our artists have accomplished.”
Lyda Kuth, Creative Capital’s Board Chair, echoed Ms. West’s praise of Ms. Lerner’s exceptional vision and stewardship, stating, “Ruby's strong leadership and generous spirit have defined Creative Capital from the start. As a champion for creative expression and holistic artist support, she has fundamentally changed the contemporary arts landscape in America, inspiring countless other arts leaders and individual creators.” Kuth and the Board of Directors are currently working with Phillips Oppenheim on the executive search for the organization’s next Director, who is expected to join the organization in early 2016.
About Creative Capital
In 1999, in response to the National Endowment for the Arts' termination of grant programs for individual artists, Creative Capital was launched under the dynamic leadership of Ruby Lerner at the invitation of the Andy Warhol Foundation. Embodying a fierce commitment to freedom of expression, Creative Capital embarked on a mission to reinvent cultural philanthropy and to support innovative artists pursuing adventurous projects in all disciplines. Its pioneering system of supporting artists is inspired by venture capital principles and includes building a long-term relationship with an artist and project, providing funding at strategic moments, and surrounding artists with critical resources, counsel and advisory services.
Under Ms. Lerner’s leadership, Creative Capital has grown from an initial staff of four to employ 28 full-time staff members, with an operating budget of $4 million, supported by dedicated institutional and private funders. Creative Capital has become a model in the field, and now oversees three affiliated grantmaking programs: The MAP Fund, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Program and the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. Since 1999, Creative Capital’s awards program has committed more than $35 million in financial and advisory support to 465 projects representing 579 artists, including Kyle Abraham, Janine Antoni, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Theaster Gates, Vijay Iyer, Young Jean Lee, Meredith Monk, Lorraine O’Grady, Laura Poitras, Rebecca Solnit and The Yes Men. Creative Capital has reached nearly 10,000 additional artists in more than 550 communities through its career-development workshops and webinars. For more information, visit www.creative-capital.org.
Ruby Lerner’s Biography
Prior to joining Creative Capital, Ruby Lerner served as the executive director of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) and as publisher of the highly regarded Independent Film and Video Monthly. Having worked regionally in both the performing arts and independent media fields, she served as the executive director of Alternate ROOTS, a coalition of Southeastern performing artists, and IMAGE Film/Video Center, both based in Atlanta. In the late 1970s, she was the audience development director at the Manhattan Theatre Club, one of New York's foremost nonprofit theaters.
A native of North Carolina, Lerner worked in the state's visiting artist program following graduate work in theater at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her undergraduate degree is in comparative religion from Goucher College, where she has served on the Committee of Visitors. During nearly thirty years in the arts, she has written and lectured extensively on arts issues; served on many boards, steering committees, and grantmaking panels; and has consulted with hundreds of arts organizations on audience development and related areas of arts management.
In her nearly 40 years in the arts, Ms. Lerner has written and lectured extensively, including at Harvard Business School (in conjunction with a Harvard Business School case study on Creative Capital) and for the University of North Carolina’s Entrepreneurship Program. She regularly presents on arts issues at conferences and summits, including the Grantmakers for the Arts conference, the National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture, IdeaFestival in Louisville and the Independent Sector National Conference. Lerner was a 30th Anniversary ArtTable Honoree (2011) and recipient of the John L. Haber Award from the University of North Carolina (2009), the Catalyst Award from the National Association of Artists Organizations (2007), the BAXten Award from the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (2007), a Creative Leadership Award from the Alliance of Artists Communities (2005), the Artist Advocate Award from the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations (2003) and a Special Citation from Artists Space for her support of individual artists (2003).
Ms. Lerner currently serves on national advisory boards for the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA; the Shapiro Center at the Art Institute of Chicago; the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, NC; the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC; the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts in Winston Salem, NC; The University of Kentucky Art Museum; and SPACE Gallery in Portland, ME. To learn more about Ms. Lerner’s career and personal history, read an interview from the Winter 2015 GIA Reader.