What Creative Capital Award Evaluators Look for in an Application

Artists in all disciplines may apply for the Creative Capital Award, and the application is free for all. We encourage you to begin your application as soon as possible, so that you are ready to submit once applications open in February—don’t leave it to the last minute!

See the questions

Artists who receive the Creative Capital Award will have access to up to $50,000 in funding to develop their project, plus advisory services valued at $50,000, for a total value of $100,000. We are interested in projects that push the boundaries, as well as artists who are ready to take full advantage of our non-monetary services. Generally, that means that the projects will premiere at least a year and a half after the announcement of the Creative Capital Awards. Read more about the Creative Capital Award.

After the open application period closes at the end of February, we will invite evaluators from all over the country to review the applications we received. We ask evaluators to review projects based on the originality of the proposed idea, the artist’s capacity to make the work, the timeliness of the project, and the artist’s readiness to make use of Creative Capital’s career development services.

In the final stage of the application, we administer an in-person panel review of projects. We asked some of the panelists that just completed that process for the 2019 Creative Capital Award cycle for some tips about what makes a great application.

Watch our live conversation with Creative Capital Awardees, staff, and panelists.

Here is what we ask evaluators to consider when reviewing applications.

Project Idea
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.

Watch our online info session for more information about the application and the Creative Capital Award, and register to view a livestream conversation February 12 between Creative Capital Awardees, Creative Capital staff, and evaluators from our past panel reviews.


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