The 2020 Creative Capital Awards
Creative Capital is pleased to announce the selection of 35 projects by 41 artists for the 2020 Creative Capital Awards. Exemplars of the sort of innovative, powerful, and challenging work that Creative Capital is dedicated to advancing, each award includes $50,000 in project funding, supplemented by an additional $50,000 in career development services, for a total value of $100,000.
“Though these artists come to us from very different backgrounds, work in different fields, and explore a wide range of subjects, they share a dedication to pushing boundaries, both ours and their own,” said Suzy Delvalle, Creative Capital’s President & Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be supporting them and their work, and cannot wait to see these projects grow and mature to fruition.”
The 2020 Creative Capital Awards go to 41 artists working on 35 projects totaling $3.5 million in support.
These 35 projects, by 41 individual artists, were drawn from a pool of more than 4,000 applications and selected by a nine-member, multidisciplinary panel composed of awardees from previous years, expert curators, producers, and other arts professionals. Read more about the selection process.
Drawing from the principles of venture capital to develop innovative work in the cultural sphere, Creative Capital seeks out bold, groundbreaking projects and provides the artists behind them with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers. Since its founding in 1999, Creative Capital has supported 741 artists with nearly $50 million in funding; professional development opportunities; expert consulting; artist retreats and gatherings; and more, with the aim of fostering and developing artistic exchange and a thriving cultural commons across the United States.
Becca Blackwell, Brooklyn, NY
The Body Never Lies
The Body Never Lies is a solo, performance-based theatrical search for a vocabulary beyond language that expresses who we are. Through movement, martial arts, science (a heart monitor), and some fragmented texts in various languages, Becca Blackwell uncovers a new landscape for themselves and the audience to discover identity.
Jibz Cameron, Los Angeles, CA
Sue Slagle, Frederick, MD
Titanic Depression is a multimedia performance with live animation starring Dynasty Handbag, alter ego of artist Jibz Cameron. Using the 1997 film Titanic as a departure point, the work addresses issues of class, gender roles, gratuitous wealth, and the environmental impact of climate change.
Eisa Davis, Brooklyn, NY
The Essentialisn’t troubles expected narratives of the diasporic black feminine and questions the artist’s relationships to performance and captivity. The work utilizes an innovative combination of song, electronic sound, movement, everyday objects, and reanimated modernist figures from the Harlem Renaissance to cultivate a practice of presence and sovereignty.
Mercedes Dorame, Tijuana, Mexico
Eclipsing Shadows—We’aashar Moyookmok
Mercedes Dorame creates an immersive installation addressing contemporary interpretation of Native Tongva ceremony and our relationship to celestial movements, eclipses, and solstices. The installation includes the creation of a semi-enclosed, domed immersive space, recordings of Tongva music, photograms, and cast concrete sculptures.
Marcia Douglas, Boulder, CO
Genuine Herstory: Documythographies
Genuine Herstory: Documythographies is a three-volume, hybrid, and cross-genre writing project culminating with a performance installation. Exploring themes of African diasporic fugitivity and migration, this project layers fiction, poem essays, memoir, visual and material documents, and voicescapes—altering and inscribing, in an effort to excavate and rechart history.
Not an Alternative
Beka Economopoulos, Vashon, WA
Jason Jones, Vashon, WA
Judith LeBlanc, New York, NY
The Natural History Museum Presents: The Supreme Court of Red Natural History
The Natural History Museum is an ongoing art intervention that unleashes the power of museums, motivating them to act not as shrines to a civilization in decline, but as agents of change. This new exhibition assembles a collective of accusers within an authoritative architecture to put natural history on trial.
Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Washington DC
J Mase III, Seattle, WA
The Black Trans Prayer Book: A Performative Documentary
The Black Trans Prayer Book: A Performative Documentary explores the lives, reflections, performances, and spiritual journey of the contributors to the Black Trans Prayer Book—a collaborative text, co-edited by J Mase III & Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, that explores the healing needs of Black trans people.
Tonya Foster, San Francisco, CA
Combining poetry, dialogues, fictive FBI records, and non-fiction prose, Monkey Talk follows a 20th Century artist-philanthropist relationship that is being tracked by government surveillance and a young scholar’s curiosity. Focused on the ways that artistic creations act as monitors and are also monitored, the multi-volume project tracks parallel, contesting conversations around race.
Ebony Noelle Golden, New York, NY
Jubilee 11213 is a multi-generational cultural organizing and community theatre collaboration that advances civic action and creativity practiced at the founding of the Weeksville community.
Randa Jarrar, Los Angeles, CA
Lunch at Guantanamo
Randa Jarrar’s newest book is a semi-satirical, fantastical novel set in 2045 Guantanamo Bay, inspired by and updating “The Penal Colony,” the short story by Franz Kafka. The book envisions a utopic queer future—one that offers its inhabitants peace, liberation, and justice.
Steffani Jemison, Brooklyn, NY
In 1900, The New York Times reported that six “tramps” formed an acrobatic pyramid, cut a hole in the ceiling, and escaped from the Middlesex County Jail in New Jersey. Working with trained and untrained actors, this body of work considers the precarious and resistant figure of the acrobat.
Tyehimba Jess, Brooklyn, NY
Yahdon Israel, Brooklyn, NY
Janice Lowe, Brooklyn, NY
Olio is a live musical production of the Pulitzer-prize winning book of poems of the same title, presenting the lives of African-American creatives from the Civil War to World War I.
Nikyatu Jusu, Gaithersburg, MD
In this narrative feature film, Aisha is an undocumented nanny in New York City caring for the privileged child of an Upper East Side family. As she prepares for the arrival of the child she left behind in her native country, a violent presence invades her reality, jeopardizing the American Dream she has so carefully constructed.
Jesse Krimes, Philadelphia, PA
Mass Incarceration Quilt
The Mass Incarceration Quilt series focuses on rendering visible people and perspectives hidden by the criminal justice system. Using a variety of participatory art practices, the project aims to reframe public narratives that perpetuate mass incarceration, humanizing those whose lives are bound up in the criminal justice system.
Jasmin Mara López, New Orleans, LA
Silent Beauty is a personal documentary about Jasmin López’s family’s history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. The work extends as an audio-visual installation that features the voices of dozens of survivors—adults and older children with parents—that have reached out to the artist to share their stories.
John W. Love Jr, Charlotte, NC
The Cathedral of Messes
The Cathedral of Messes is the scene of a crime: a mystic has assassinated his inner saboteur. Crystalline enshrined shoes and body parts of sculpted black salt float in a sea of video, literature, and performance in an installation dedicated to obliterating a virus known as shame.
Cannupa Hanska Luger, Glorieta, NM
Future Ancestral Technologies
Future Ancestral Technologies is an Indigenous-centered approach to making art objects, video, and performance with the intent to influence global consciousness using creative storytelling to radically reimagine the future. Moving science-fiction theory into practice, this methodology conjures innovative life-based solutions that promote a thriving Indigeneity.
Jarrett Mellenbruch, Roeland Park, KS
The Redwood Preserve is a land art and social enterprise project to restore the ancient Californian redwood forest obliterated by logging in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The nature preserve would revive biodiversity in the region, while its trees combat climate change by pulling large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.
Amitis Motevalli, Los Angeles, CA
Golestan Revisited is a multimedia, internationally-accessible online database created to research, reclaim, and rename roses transplanted to Europe during the Crusades from the South and West Asian and North African region (known as SWANA), to symbolize and commemorate women, girls, and femmes killed—often while captive in the wars against “terror” and/or by reactive Islamist occupations.
Mark Nowak, Canaan, NY
Worker Writers School: Mobile Unit
Worker Writers School: Mobile Unit (WWSMU) expands Mark Nowak’s ongoing, twenty-year project of bringing poetry workshops directly to the working class. Like bookmobiles or food trucks, WWSMU visits laundromats, street corners, restaurants near construction sites, bus stops, and other locations that workers frequent to offer brief, intensive poetry writing classes.
Papel Machete, San Juan, PR
On the Eve of Abolition
Papel Machete proposes a bilingual play in Spanish and English that tells the speculative fiction story of the last prison in the U.S. Using letters from incarcerated people, prison radio shows, puppets, masks, music, and picture storytelling, they present events preceding the final day of the last prison, and the movement which made abolition a reality.
Diane Paragas, New York, NY
The Three Lives of David Wong
Through a mixture of recreation puppetry, archival interviews, and verité, The Three Lives of David Wong documentary film tells the story of an undocumented Chinese immigrant wrongfully convicted of murder, and the group of activists who came to together to rally for his freedom.
Kamau Patton, Chicago, IL
Tel is a platform for performance, study, and contemplation that will question how the nature of memory has changed in relation to the encroachment of cyberspace, telematics, and transmission technologies. The project name refers to the archeological term for a mound formed by the accumulated remains left by communities occupying a site over time. Tel is experienced through a myriad of disciplines: past iterations have been presented as transmissions, walks, conversations, engagement with archives, and a publication series.
jumatatu poe, Philadelphia, PA
terrestrial is a multimedia performance installation with choreography by jumatatu poe that stems from majorette lines that became popular at historically Black universities. Inspired by the hot brown granules in both desert dirt and beach sand, terrestrial is a rigorous imagination of Black humans as earth, epic, and finite.
randy reyes, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Encuentro 33: LINE/AGE | Queer Neuro-Cognitive Architectures Hidden in Plain Site(s)
Encuentro 33 is a multiphase project created in partnership with a core group of Black, Indigenous, First-Generation, Queer, Trans Artists of Color in the Bay Area, nationally, and abroad to develop a series of performances centering ecology, lineage, and ritual through a choreographic lens. These works provide infrastructure for bringing reyes’ vision of opening La Escuela de Corporealidad y Artes Sutiles to fruition.
Rodrigo Reyes, Oakland, CA
Untitled Rodrigo Reyes Documentary
Set in rural California, Director Rodrigo Reyes’ documentary is moving portrait of the unlikely friendship of two Mexican migrants, told within the frame of the dramatic the clash between systemic forces and personal choices that envelop young, incarcerated men of color in America. This film combines a vibrant exploration of the cinematic form with a strikingly intimate portrait of the fault-lines in our society.
Nathan Shafer, Anchorage, AK
Wintermoot incorporates social practice, augmented reality, graphic novels, and digital humanities to form a series of interconnected epic tales of supernatural people from all over Alaska, spanning several generations. As both a mobile app and augmented graphic novel set in an alternate history Alaska, the work tells the stories of characters created in collaboration with other Alaskans, bringing together over 30 languages and cultures.
Tamara Shogaolu, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Queer in a Time of Forced Migration
Queer in a Time of Forced Migration is an animated transmedia series that follows the stories of LGBTQ refugees from Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia across continents and cultures from the 2011 revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa region to the world today.
jackie sumell, New Orleans, LA
The Prisoner’s Apothecary
The Prisoner’s Apothecary is a travelling project and community-driven strategy dedicated to education, harm-reduction, and healing. An extension of the Solitary Gardens, this project grows plant medicine in collaboration with incarcerated individuals and distributes it to affected communities nationally. The Prisoner’s Apothecary facilitates the healing potentiality of people we are systematically taught to condemn.
Jawwaad Taylor, Houston, TX
Start With Self
Start With Self is a sonic stimulation and visual art piece based on scientific research on how certain frequencies stimulate endorphins in the body that lessen pain and relaxes the mind. Jawwaad Taylor’s project is based on his research and experience with sonic healing as a sickle-cell anemia survivor.
Wendy S. Walters, New York, NY
A Dead White: An Argument Against White Paint
A Dead White is a book-length polemic against the use of white paint in both interior and exterior spaces. The argument will wind through a wide selection of works in architecture, manufacturing, art history, and consumer culture, engaging narratives related to its effect in the lived environment.
Stephanie Wang-Breal, Brooklyn, NY
Florence from Ohio
Florence from Ohio is a real-life, genre twisting film about an immigrant Chinese woman, Florence Wang, and her first-generation daughter, Stephanie Wang-Breal. Told through the lens of Florence’s St. John Knitwear suits, mother and daughter collectively reimagine and embrace their generational ideas of motherhood, feminism, racism, and assimilation.
Angela Washko, Pittsburgh, PA
The Uncasted Queen and Her Progeny
The Uncasted Queen and Her Progeny is an experimental, narrative video game about a legendary drag queen in a post-industrial American city and her many years spent auditioning for competition-based reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The game presents an underrepresented perspective on reality TV’s impact on the queer performance community and explores the question: what happens to the people who get left behind when subversive subcultures go mainstream?
Nia Witherspoon, Brooklyn, NY
Priestess of Twerk
Inspired by the “bad bitches” of hip hop, the reproductive justice movement, and the sacred sex workers that graced Egyptian temples, Priestess of Twerk is a black feminist temple of pleasure that presents women, queer, and trans-folks of color with opportunities to re-encounter their sexualities through the lens of the sacred, increasing bodily autonomy, and dispelling toxic masculinity.
Dorian Wood, Los Angeles, CA
See the 2020 Creative Capital Awards. The next application for the Creative Capital Awards opens to artists in all disciplines February 1-29, 2020. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates, and prepare in advance by reading every question we ask on the application.