You Applied for a Creative Capital Award—Now What?

So you made the deadline and submitted your Letter of Inquiry before the deadline. Congratulations! What’s going on with your application now?

The administrative process of selecting the projects that will receive a Creative Capital Award takes about a year. In June, we will ask many of the people who submitted their project ideas to submit a fuller application with more work samples, line-item budget, and scope of the project in its finished form. In October, selected projects will move onto the third round, the panel review process. We will announce the new Creative Capital Awardees in January 2019.

As one of the only national Awards of its kind with an open application (meaning free to apply and open to all artists), we understand that the Creative Capital Award is competitive, so we baked value into the application process.

What does that mean?
We have selected evaluators across the country to review every Letter of Inquiry. Two evaluators will review your project in the first round. Projects that move on to the second and third rounds will be reviewed by even more people.

Evaluators run the gamut of arts professionals: curators, programmers, publishers, and other artists. That means that even if you don’t make it to the second round of the application process, your work will be seen by experts and peers in your field and in your area.

How do we select evaluators for your application?

Remember when we asked you to pick one or two disciplines that describe your work and project? Those selections help us get your project in front of the right people.

We also consider region—art can look different depending on where you live and work in the country. Issues are more or less pressing, for instance, and style can change from the west coast to the east coast. We make every effort to ensure that one of the evaluators that sees your project is from your region.

What we’ve instructed the evaluators to look for

When reviewing LOIs, we ask our evaluators to keep the following themes and questions in mind:

What is the artistic strength, vision, originality of the proposed project? This includes demonstrating boundary-pushing, bold, and singular ideas. It’s important for us that artists show that they have a deep engagement to the project and represent it with a clear vision and intended audience. Projects should challenge the status quo and spark new conversations.

Although Creative Capital has funded artists who are working in a discipline that is new to them, we want to make sure that the applicant has the appropriate professional capabilities to execute the project—especially if the impact is ambitious! The Creative Capital Award is not ideal for artists just beginning their creative practices—that’s why we require artists have five years of experience. It’s important that the applicant demonstrates a deep understanding of the professional landscape of their field. They should also have a certain amount of momentum in their career that we can help them build upon.

Beyond looking at the ideas of the artist’s project, we ask evaluators to determine if the applicant is ready to examine their creative and professional approach. Because we offer more than just financial support, we want to know if the applicant could benefit from additional resources of capital and skills building to complete their project.

The resources that Creative Capital offers our Awardees work best over a long period of time. So, if the artist applied with a project that will premiere before September 2019, it is not a strong match. Entering the life of a project at a key moment is important to us, and we’ve found that projects premiering within the first year are less able to take advantage of our resources.


We ask evaluators to determine whether the applicant is ready to utilize all of the resources of the Award including our nonmonetary support. The Creative Capital Award comes with more than just funding; we want to be sure the applicant is at a point in their career where they’re ready to take full advantage of Creative Capital’s funding, counsel, and career development services. This is an integral part of the program and applicants should demonstrate a capacity and interest in being a part of a supportive learning community.

Finally, we’re looking for artists who demonstrate a strong sense of mutual generosity and engagement in a community. Artists who receive Creative Capital Awards stay in our community of supporters long after they’ve premiered their projects, and we expect them to pay forward what they gain from us to future artists. We value artists who are generous toward their peers and professional colleagues.

Do you have more questions? Comment below and we’ll respond. And stay tuned: You’ll be hearing from us soon!

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