Letter from the President: Sustaining Freedom of Expression

“Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.” —
Ai Weiwei

Dear Artists and Friends,

As a poet and daughter of immigrants who fled communism, I joined Creative Capital because of this organization’s awesome, unwavering commitment to artists and freedom of expression. This Earth Month, as we battle for our planet’s future, our libraries, our right to control our bodies, to privacy, drag, African-American history, free speech, and democracy itself, our work at Creative Capital feels more urgent than ever.

Recently, I watched Survival Trilogy by Miriam Simun (2013 Grantee) at the Symbionts: Artists and the Biosphere exhibition at MIT, which depicts workers in China hand-pollinating pear trees because pesticides have killed off all the bees. Like much of the work Creative Capital funds, the film is so eye-opening, so boundary-pushing, it feels transgressive.

It is an honor to be part of a team that supports radical artists who are grappling with the most pressing issues of our time, from climate change to the UN Sustainable Development Goals—such as good health and wellbeing, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, life on land, and more.

In 2023, we are helping to realize 50 new projects, including: Anicka YiTumbling Ecologies, a trilogy of books investigating algae, bacteria, and fungi; Brian HouseMacrophones, infrasound recordings from the climate crisis as it unfolds across the globe; Indira AllegraTEXERE, an art-based mental health app that weaves digital memorial tapestries about people’s losses; and Joe WhittleLandback, essays which will propose that all federal lands be returned to Native American tribes to address climate change, conservation, and reparations.

Since I joined two years ago, Creative Capital has awarded $5 million to 125 artists—more than 80% of whom identify as artists of color, women, nonbinary, and artists with disabilities. Our support structure and care for artists is personalized and deep—from funding a project with Lakota children that is meaningful to Indigenous communities, to helping an artist fighting cancer to file their taxes, to hiring an attorney to save a public art project, and so much more.

Last month, artists submitted 5,000+ project proposals for our 2024 Visual Arts and Film “Wild Futures: Art, Culture, Impact” grant cycle, which demonstrates the tremendous need for funding to create new work. We are also expanding our new, free Creative Capital Curriculum (which has served 4,000+ artists in 50+ countries in its first month) and planning for our Creative Capital Carnival artist gathering this June which will activate bold ideas and strengthen bonds in our community.

Our work to pollinate original voices across the arts ecosystem needs allies like you. We fundraise every dollar we give away to artists. I hope you will consider making a gift, joining as a member, or participating in our events to uplift artists and make their dream projects come to life!

Wishing you growth and renewal this spring,

Christine Kuan
President & Executive Director


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