Applying to Creative Capital? What you need to know

A still from 2013 Performing Arts Awardee Kyle Abraham's "Pavement." Photo by Carrie Schneider.

A still from 2013 Performing Arts Awardee Kyle Abraham’s “Pavement.” Photo by Carrie Schneider.

Today, we begin accepting applications for Creative Capital’s Awards in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts, due Monday, March 2 at 4pm EST. We’d like to take a moment to tell you about ourselves and the award, and to answer some of our most frequently asked questions.

What distinguishes Creative Capital from more traditional funders?
Now in our second decade, Creative Capital continues to consider itself the premiere provider of risk capital in the arts—taking chances on projects that are singularly bold, innovative and genre-stretching. We want to support the latest thinking in the field: ideas of scope and ambition expressed through audacious combinations of form and content; varied projects that engage or even create new technologies; and works that take traditional approaches into new territories, teaching us something new about the world and ourselves. We often provide early support for projects that initially have challenges receiving funding from other sources.
We see ourselves as a permanent laboratory pursuing the most effective ways to support individual artists, with a process that attempts to mirror the same imaginative spirit that we value in our artists.
What are we funding right now?
In 2015 we are accepting applications for Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts. Here are some general guidelines for each field:
Emerging Fields may include architecture/design, digital arts, gaming, interdisciplinary, new genres and sound art.
Literature may include fiction, genre-defying literary work, nonfiction and poetry.
Performing Arts may include dance, dance-theater, experimental music performance, interdisciplinary, multimedia performance, music-theater, non-traditional opera, performance art, puppetry, spoken word and theater. The focus is on the live performing arts.

How does the application process work?
Our selection process includes three steps: inquiry, application and panel review. We work with arts professionals from across the country in a concerted effort to select a roster of projects reflecting a nation of work. We strive to support diversity in all its forms—gender, race/ethnicity, geographic distribution, art forms and creative process, age, and experience. We also pride ourselves on a final roster that often features artists discovered and rediscovered. Click here to read more details on the process itself.

What kinds of work/artist does Creative Capital support?
Creative Capital funds artist projects in all discipline. No matter what genre or discipline, the most competitive projects take risks and articulate an original vision. For general information about our awards and to download our full Award Guidelines, see Our Award Program. You can learn about previously funded projects in our Artist Projects showcase. Please note that we are actively interested in many kinds of projects that may or may not be represented there.

What kind of projects does Creative Capital NOT support?
This is not an ideal award for artists just beginning their creative practice, thus our requirement for five years experience in your field. In addition, we do not fund documentation or cataloguing of past work, nor do we fund projects whose main purpose is promotional or educational.

How does Creative Capital find the work it supports?
Creative Capital identifies prospective applicants in three main ways:

  • Open call for Letters of Inquiry
  • Recommendations by artists and arts professionals
  • Active solicitation by the Creative Capital staff

All submissions are reviewed using the same evaluation process. See Selection Process for more details.

Who is eligible for a Creative Capital award?
An artist must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident
  •  At least 25 years old
  •  A working artist with at least five years of professional experience

An artist cannot be:

  • An institution (If you are an artist who is a principal in a 501(c)(3) organization, you should apply as an individual artist. If you are selected for funding, the award may be made payable to you through your organization.)
  • A full-time student in a degree-granting program or its equivalent
  • A current employee, consultant, board member or major funder of Creative Capital, or an immediate family member of such a person
  • An active or alumni artist of Creative Capital
  • An applicant or collaborator on more than one proposed project

Does Creative Capital fund collaborative projects?
We accept proposals for collaborative projects and work by collectives. Please choose one collaborator or collective member to serve as the main contact for the project. Each collaborative team may have up to five members in total and each of their names, roles and bios should be included in the project proposal. Each and all collaborators must meet the above eligibility requirements. Creative Capital defines “collaborator” or “collective member” as someone who is considered to be a co-owner of the project and generative part of the team, not someone who provides services on a “work for hire” basis. Please note that each artist/collaborator can apply with only one project in any single award year.
Collaborative projects fall within one of two categories:

  • Ongoing Team or Collective Collaborations: Two to five people who have an established history of collaboration, sometimes organized under a group name, all of whom are committed to the completion of the proposed project.
  • One-Time Collaborations: A working arrangement between two to five people who have agreed to stay in partnership while completing the proposed project.

Please note that one-time collaborators will need to make a very strong case regarding their commitment to work together for the entire three- to seven-year length of the award in order to be competitive. If granted an award, all parties in the collaboration will be required to sign a letter of agreement stating their intention to finish the project together.
Requirements for submission are the same for either type of collaboration.

How many awards does Creative Capital make in each funding year, and in what amounts?
In each of our funding years, Creative Capital will support approximately 46 projects at initial levels of $10,000 each. Including follow-up monetary support, a project may receive as much as $50,000 in direct financial support during the life cycle of the award, with the average amount closer to $35,000. This is in addition to advisory and professional services with an average value of $45,000, bringing the potential support per project up to $95,000.

How may artists benefit from your application process even if they don’t get an award?
We have attempted to design a system that serves artists at every step.

  • The questions on the inquiry form and application are tailored to be artist-centered.
  • At least two arts professionals learn about your work at each stage, and for those proposals advanced to the panel stage, eight to ten arts professionals will have been exposed to your work by the end of the process.
  • In Spring of 2016, our On Our Radar site will include artist and project information for applicants who advance to the application phase of the process. On Our Radar is a searchable database open to others in the field—curators, programmers, artists, potential resource providers—who may want to support the work. This information will be shared only with the applicants’ permission.
  • Upon request, we offer a summary of the panel discussion regarding the proposed project to artists who make it to the panel stage but do not ultimately receive an award.

Still have questions?
Attend an in-person or online Info Session or contact our Artist Services department at awards [at] creative-capital [dot] org.
Good luck, everyone! Remember to submit your online application before Monday, March 2, 2015, at 4pm EST.

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