Creative Capital Celebrates Ten Years and Receives $15 Million Matching Gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
May 12, 2009
TEN YEARS OF ADVENTUROUS ART AND PIONEERING SUPPORT FOR ARTISTS NATIONWIDE
$15 Million Matching Grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Sets the Stage for Second Decade of Support to Individual Artists
NEW YORK, NY (May 12, 2009) – When Creative Capital launched on May 11, 1999, the organization pioneered a unique method of backing the nation’s most intrepid artists through multi-year partnerships, integrating financial support and career development services. This week marks the beginning of its second decade, celebrating the organization’s singular approach and the manifold successes Creative Capital grantees and projects have achieved as a result of these partnerships.
In recognition of Creative Capital’s critical support to contemporary artists, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has awarded the organization a ten-year, $15 million matching grant. Signaling the future potential and capacity of the organization, the grant will help ensure long-term sustainability for the organization; its ability to support innovative and adventurous projects by artists across the country through its core program; the expansion of its innovative program of career development workshops that reaches artists beyond its roster of grantees; and its means to attract new donors.
“Our first decade has seen so much activity and countless stories of profound personal growth experienced by our grantees,” said Ruby Lerner, president of Creative Capital. “Through the generous support of our many funders, we are poised to enter our second decade stronger than ever. We are deeply grateful to The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, for their foresight over a decade ago in taking a leadership role to launch Creative Capital, and for their continued recognition of the impact of the program, especially in this challenging economic climate, which allows us to extend our reach with every new class of grantees.”
Creative Capital was conceived following the culture wars of the mid-1990s, when the dissolution of most of the National Endowment for the Arts’ grant programs for individual artists sounded a call to arms for some of the nation’s boldest funders. Concurrently, dot-com companies and venture philanthropy initiatives were reinventing the world of business and this perfect alignment of cultural and economic conditions produced Creative Capital. It launched as an organization to harness venture capital concepts at use in the business world in order to apply them in the art world, just as a new system of support for individual artists was most needed.
“As the premier artist support organization in the country, Creative Capital fills a needed gap in the fabric of our cultural landscape, and we are delighted to continue our leadership support for this vital program,” added Warhol Foundation president Joel Wachs. “We recognize the critical importance of supporting individual artists, to bring the next generation of artists forward, and to ensure that the institutions and organizations that anchor our communities continue to have the dynamic programming that engages its audiences.”
Called the deus ex machina of the art world, a SWAT team, and a “post-cynical” organization by its grantees, Creative Capital confronts the realities that working artists face in increasingly challenging times by offering career-, community- and confidence-building tools that enhance capacity for creative and professional autonomy. In its ten years, Creative Capital has advanced 324 projects, encompassing 411 artists, through financial support and advisory services, and has reached more than 2,200 additional artists through its Professional Development Program workshops across the country. Since its launch, Creative Capital has committed more than $14 million in financial support and services to its grantees, who have gone on to raise an additional $8 million for their projects.
In recognition of this success, leading organizations from many sectors have turned their attention on Creative Capital’s unique ways of utilizing resources and working with artists. The Harvard Business School and Yale School of Drama’s Theater Management Division are planning case studies on Creative Capital. The organization is also in discussions with major institutions coast to coast for retrospective events and programming.
Support for Individual Artists
“The genius of the Creative Capital model is that it doesn’t try to neaten up an artist’s process but rather values the chaos and has found real ways to help artists channel that creative energy into building strong business infrastructures that will support their work over the long term.” – Lisa Kron, 2000 Performing Arts grantee
Creative Capital artists are a diverse representation of vanguard American creativity, working around the country and across all disciplines. The organization supports projects in Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Innovative Literature, Performing and Visual Arts, providing grants to approximately 40 new projects each grant cycle. Working in three-year cycles, Creative Capital offers grants in Film/Video and Visual Arts in the first year; grants in Emerging Fields, Innovative Literature, and Performing Arts in the second year; and expanded follow-up support for all grantees in the third year.
The grantmaking process begins with an open, national call for letters of inquiry – itself a rarity among major prizes and fellowships, which increasingly favor a closed, application-by-nomination process – and concludes with the selection of approximately 40 projects each cycle. The more than 2,000 inquiries and applications received each cycle are evaluated by three sets of national advisory committees, comprised of nearly 100 arts professionals, presenters, curators, producers and distributors from. The selection is only the beginning for Creative Capital’s grantees, as long-term partnerships, typically three to five years, between Creative Capital and artists follow the fluid trajectory of the creative process, providing funds and strategic support at the junctures when they are most needed. Radically different from traditional philanthropy, which tends to focus on one-year commitments, Creative Capital’s approach is rooted in the belief that cultural projects will prosper if given the proper resources, backing and time to fully evolve.
Board and Donors
“Looking back on the past 10 years, I occasionally think the unthinkable: What if Creative Capital hadn’t been there? Fortunately, for both artists and audiences, Creative Capital has been there. May it long continue!” – Jeffrey Soros, Board Member and Donor
A system as robust and specialized as Creative Capital’s exists because of the courage and dedication of the organization’s distinguished supporters, which include nearly 400 private foundations and individuals. Above all, it is the vision and guiding generosity of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts that has sustained Creative Capital’s activity, from then-Warhol president Archibald Gillies’s conception of the organization in the 1990s to the Foundation’s recently awarded gift. As funding for individual artists has decreased in the light of a new economic day, the Warhol Foundation recognizes such support as more consequential than ever and has renewed its commitment to Creative Capital. Creative Capital’s board of directors is made up of the boldest minds from many fields, including working artists; representatives from academia, the film industry, and the venture capital sector; as well as business entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
Sustaining support for Creative Capital has also been provided by the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The LEF Foundation, The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Theo Westenberger Estate, many of which have supported the organization since its inception in 1999. New commitments from funders like The MetLife Foundation, The Muriel Pollia Foundation and The TOBY Fund have ensured the continued dynamism of the organization and allow Creative Capital to expand its reach.
The Creative Capital System
“The Creative Capital program has been amazing in its ability to transform not only new artists’ work but how they live.” – Valerie Cassel Oliver, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Drawing on venture philanthropy concepts, Creative Capital’s model for working with artists offers both financial and advisory support to help them realize their projects and build individual capacity to sustain their careers. This integrated, multi-faceted and sequential system adapts business concepts to suit the fluid trajectory of the creative process, focusing on four key areas: (1) support for the project over time, through money and counsel; (2) support for the individual artist, through advice and career development workshops; (3) strengthening the community of artists by fostering relationships between artists and arts professionals, through retreats and one-on-one consultations; and (4) public engagement, through regular outreach to help bring the projects to as wide an audience as possible.
Funding is provided to artists at specific benchmark moments for the projects: initial funding to launch the project, support to build internal infrastructure and help stabilize the individual’s practice, follow up support for project production, premiere funding, and funding to help the project continue beyond the premiere through touring, documentation, and other methods of presentation. Along the way, the Creative Capital team meets regularly with the grantees, in one-on-one sessions to set goals and chart progress, in career development workshops to help build their individual capacity, and in stakeholder meetings with presenters, to set the stage for the premieres.
Combined, Creative Capital’s grants and services offer support of up to $75,000 to each project. Advisory services and capacity-building support includes participation in the Creative Capital Professional Development Program, a weekend-long intensive career-building workshop designed to help artists learn to plan, promote and sustain their careers; coaching in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising and public relations by leading consultants from the art and business worlds; legal services for grantees seeking counsel or general guidance; stakeholder meetings between grantees and representatives from the institution premiering their Creative Capital project, facilitated by Creative Capital staff to maximize the opportunity of the project launch; and participation in two Creative Capital Artist Retreats.
Each grantmaking year, Creative Capital hosts an Artist Retreat, a unique gathering that brings together nearly 250 attendees – artists, arts professionals, producers, presenters, and curators – in a forum to share new ideas, experience new projects, and build opportunities for collaborations. During the Retreats, artists present their projects to all attendees and these presentations serve as a backdrop for networking and creative dialogue.
A symbolic coda to Creative Capital’s support of its grantees is artist payback to Creative Capital. When an artist’s Creative Capital project achieves a net profit for the grantee, a small dividend is paid back to the organization to be reinvested into new projects by new grantees. This gesture promotes an ecology of shared responsibility and shared success that is emblematic of Creative Capital’s values. The first artist to bring the program full circle was 2000 Film/Video grantee Barbara Hammer, who provided a payback in 2004 from proceeds of her documentary Resisting Paradise.
Through the Creative Capital system, grantees and projects have flourished. Academy Award nominations (Sam Green, The Weather Underground; Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, Trouble the Water), Broadway runs (Lisa Kron, Well), and routine invitations to participate in the Whitney Biennial, BAM Next Wave Festival, Sundance and Rotterdam Film Festivals, Ars Electronica, and programs hosted by the leading museums of the world are just a glimpse of where Creative Capital partnerships have led. Following their grants, Creative Capital artists have received other prestigious awards including Guggenheim Fellowships (six in 2009 alone), the Alpert Award in the Arts, MacArthur Fellowships, and The Rome Prize; have attended residencies from the McDowell Colony and ArtPace to the San Francisco Exploratorium; have secured teaching positions from Cranbrook to Harvard; and have raised more than an additional $8 million in support of their Creative Capital projects.
Professional Development Program: Career Development for Artists
“Thank you so much for your consideration of the needs of artists; your respect for what we do; your faith in our ability to leverage our success; your patience with our frustration; your creative approach to our support…I am inspired! I am full of rekindled determination to make my dreams manifest….” – Workshop participant artist Cynthia Hopkins
In 2003 Creative Capital launched the Professional Development Program in order to share with a broader community of artists some of the career development tools and strategies that were initially put in place for grantees. True entrepreneurs, artists often work without needed management skills, and the Professional Development Program was designed to help artists better manage the critical business aspects of their artistic practice – such as strategic planning, public relations, marketing, fundraising, and financial and time management skills – so their creativity can thrive. A team of arts consultants and grantees who are trained in the Creative Capital curriculum – developed by artists, for artists – lead all workshops, which are presented in partnership with arts organizations nationwide. Workshops employ lectures, interactive exercises, break-out sessions, and one-on-one consultations to engage participants. Supporting materials (in print and online) help participants take advantage of the lessons learned following the sessions. To date, the Professional Development Program has hosted nearly 100 workshops in 34 communities across the country, working with partners from city and state agencies in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and nearly 30 other communities; arts funders from the Heinz Endowment to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; and arts organizations and educational institutions including the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the California College of the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Poetry Project and Otis College of Art and Design. In all, more than 2,200 artists have participated.
In addition to its own programs, Creative Capital administers two affiliate grants that provide support to artists and writers, respectively, working in the same spirit of rigor and adventure. In 2001, Creative Capital assumed operations of the Multi-Arts Production Fund (MAP Fund), established by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1989, and since 2008 funded in partnership with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, to provide project-specific funding to playwrights, choreographers, directors, composers and performers experimenting in any performance tradition or discipline. In its 20-year history, the MAP Fund has allocated over $17 million to more than 737 projects.
The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant is designed to support writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through project-based grants issued directly to individual authors. It was founded in 2006 in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program issues awards for books, articles, short-form writing, and blogs/new and alternative media projects and aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship. In 2009, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts renewed its support of the Arts Writers Grant Program for an additional five years.
Looking Ahead to the Second Decade
“I see Creative Capital taking great risks by investing in people’s art projects and careers… The money is a huge help, but the services are irreplaceable and completely unique – genuinely and thoroughly transformative.” – Jake Mahaffy, 2005 Film/Video Grantee
In its first decade of work, Creative Capital has prepared a diverse community of artists with the skills and support they need to realize their ambitious visions, and to share these tools with their peers to build a culture of active, independent artists. Taking a cue from its name, in its second decade Creative Capital will identify new models for support for artists beyond grantmaking, further exploring ways for all forms of capital to help artists thrive and continue to contribute to the cultural fabric of their communities and beyond.
Added Ruby Lerner, “The organization’s future holds both promise and challenge in equal measure. We are anchored by the Warhol Foundation’s $15 million matching gift and have confidence in our resources and capacity to meet this dollar-for-dollar match each year. In the words of our Board Chair Catharine Stimpson, Creative Capital is, in 2009, ‘no longer a startup but doesn’t ever want to lose the spirit of being an upstart.’ We are a permanent laboratory for testing both progressive uses of capital in the cultural arena as well as the newest and most innovative visions of artists across the country, and our expanding network of friends and supporters will help propel us into our second decade.”
For more information, please contact:
Sophie Henderson/Kevin McGarry
212-598-9900 × 229/238
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