About the Award

Rudolph-Amelia

Image from Crossing by Bandaloop

Our pioneering venture philanthropy approach helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices. Creative Capital provides each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at $50,000, for a total commitment of up to $100,000 per project.

This year’s application has now closed. The next application for the Creative Capital Awards opens to artists in all disciplines February, 2021. You can read and prepare for all the questions that we ask.

Sign up for our newsletter to hear about upcoming open application periods, and info sessions about the Creative Capital Award.

Since 1999, we have committed over $48.5 million in project funding and advisory support to 596 projects representing 741 artists.


Our Approach

Creative Capital takes chances on artists by supporting your bold, challenging, and genre-stretching ideas. Over the past 20 years, we have developed a four-part approach that includes support for you, your project, your community, and your audience. Through funding, professional development, individual meetings with close colleagues, and consistent engagement with our staff, we provide you with the resources you will need at strategic moments in your process. These include: consultations with legal, financial, marketing, public relations, and web consultants; an orientation meeting, Artist Retreats and Regional Gatherings; ten meetings with a strategic planning coach; and much more.

We make a commitment to work with you for the time you need to get your project done. Most of the projects we support have a timeline of at least a few years; even if yours is longer, we will stick with you every step of the way.


Disciplines We Support

A dynamic visual project that creates the illusion of movement through a series of photographed frames or the use of computer software.

The use of design for practical constructions including buildings, public spaces, interiors, furniture, clothing, typography, and graphics.

Practices that seek tangible change in social, political, environmental, or economic conditions.

An artwork that uses responsive technology to integrate images into the user’s real-world view.

Work involving living organisms and life processes.

Practices that use humor to consider social norms and challenging topics.

Artwork created by hand with a skillful technique or methodology.

Practices that mobilize community members and reflect their cultural expressions.

A live performance following the movement of one or more bodies.

An artwork capturing movement that is staged and performed for camera.

A graphic interpretation of facts or statistics that presents new ways of understanding information.

A blend of technology and content that is often responsive, and delivered on an electronic device.

Creative nonfiction that uses moving images to question or expand the notion of truth of an actual event, era, or life story.

Visual art that uses line to create an image with dry or digital media.

A practice that directly engages natural ecosystems and processes, often to interrogate relationships between the environment and its inhabitants.

A film project that re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working.

A digital or analog activity with an established set of rules involving skill, chance, or endurance.

A text that uses images to advance its narrative structure.

A project creating the mechanical equipment necessary for conducting an activity, distinguished from the theory or software that make the activity possible.

An artwork comprised of multiple parts that create or alter a physical environment.

Artwork that uses the internet as a medium and distribution platform.

Works of imaginative prose such as novels, story collections, or those cast in hybrid forms.

Prose works that include narrative nonfiction, cultural criticism, essay, memoir, and work cast in hybrid forms.

Artwork that blends multiple interfaces such as video, sound, text, or interactive content.

A live performance created with multiple interfaces such as video, installation, and interactive or immersive elements.

The writing and production of an original song or instrumental music piece.

A live performance of an original score.

A staged performance that expresses ideas and emotions through the integration of theater and vocal performance.

A film that tells uses characters and a plot to tell a story.

An extended dramatic composition in which all parts are sung with instrumental accompaniment and typically include arias, choruses, and recitatives.

A primarily flat object covered with pigmented media or other tactile materials.

A performance that integrates various live and static arts including acting, poetry, music, dance, painting, video, and sculpture.

Images created using lens-based technologies.

Written or spoken literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to engage meaning.

A project in any media that has been planned and executed with the intention of being publicly accessible.

An inanimate figure in movement manipulated by human control.

A work of art that operates in three dimensions.

A genre of participatory art which often focuses on the engagement of individuals, communities, institutions, or a combination of these.

Programs used to direct the operation of a device for storing, processing, transmitting, and displaying data.

Audible work that does not follow the conventions of music or voice recording.

A project that is presented through a live, dramatic performance.

A moving image created independent of cinematic and theatrical conventions and often shown in a visual arts context.

Visual technologies that immerse the user to alter their senses and perceptions.

See all

Spirit of Generosity

Since our founding in 1999, Creative Capital has encouraged a spirit of generosity and mutual aid among artists. Through our retreats, our workshops, and our regional gatherings we have sought to foster creative exchange in the arts community nationwide. The generosity of individual artists, both personal and financial, has always been a critical part of these efforts. Creative Capital Awardees join us in the ongoing work of building and maintaining the thriving cultural commons that supports us all.


Why Apply?

First, our application questions are designed to help you better articulate your project, your goals, and how you would like to position yourself in the field. Many people have told us that the application itself taught them a lot about their project and their life goals. Additionally, our application evaluation process ensures that your work will receive additional exposure. In the first round, two colleagues from your field will read about your project. If you make it to the second round, two more people will read about it. If you make it to the panel review stage, five to seven more people will know about your work. That means that, just by applying, up to ten professional curators, programmers or editors in your field will have been informed about your project.


Timeline

The Creative Capital Award application is a several-month process that happens on an annual basis, and occurs on the following timeline.

February: Open Application
Project proposals will be accepted in a free and open application through the month of February. Along with project title, descriptions, and selection of up to two disciplines, applications include questions about the goals of the project, work samples, and provide a total budget number for the project.

July: Second Round Review
Projects selected to advance to the second round will be notified at this time. Project proposals will be reviewed by a new pool of evaluators in this phase. No additional material will need to be submitted.

October: Panel Review
Projects chosen to advance to panel review will be asked for a project update and will be reviewed for a final panel of evaluators. No additional material will need to be submitted.

November: Decision
Panel meetings will be held in New York City in the fall. Projects will be chosen for support and submitted to the board of directors for final approval. Selected artists will be notified of the decision before the end of the year, and will be invited to attend an orientation in the spring, and the Creative Capital Artist Retreat in the summer.

December: Announcement
A public announcement of the Creative Capital Awards will be made in the winter.


Info Sessions

Before each application round, Creative Capital staff members lead online and in-person information sessions to answer questions about applying for the Creative Capital Award.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the questions asked in the application?

Along with your project title and description, below are some of the questions from the application.:

• Please place your work in context so that we may better evaluate it. What are the main influences upon your work as an artist? How does your past work inform your current project? Please use concrete examples, which may include other artists’ work, art movements, cultural heritage, research/work from outside your field, etc. (150 words)

• How does your project take an original and imaginative approach to content and form? (100 words)

• What kind of impact—artistic, intellectual, communal, civic, social, etc—do you hope your project will have? What strategies will you employ to achieve the desired impact? (100 words)

• Who are the specific audiences/communities that you hope to engage through this project? Please think beyond the broad art community where possible. How are you hoping to reach them? (100 words)

• How might your proposed project act as a catalyst for your artistic and professional growth? In what ways is it a pivotal moment in your practice? (100 words)

• Given Creative Capital’s comprehensive system of support, how would you envision our nonmonetary services and resources helping you realize your goals for this project as well as those for your long term artistic and professional growth? (100 words)

Read a more in-depth look at the application, every question we ask, and why we ask it.

How much is the Creative Capital Award worth?

Including follow-up monetary support, a project may receive as much as $50,000 in direct financial support. The funding is disbursed to artists at key moments of their choosing throughout the lifespan of their project. This is in addition to advisory and professional services with an average value of more than $50,000, bringing the potential support per project up to $100,000.

What type of work does Creative Capital support?

Creative Capital funds artist projects in all disciplines, and many artists work across genres. The most competitive projects take risks and articulate an original vision. You can learn about previously funded projects on our Artist Projects page. Please note that we are actively interested in many kinds of projects that may or may not be represented there.

What type of projects does Creative Capital NOT support?

The Creative Capital Award is not for everyone, and not for every type of project. This is not an ideal award for artists just beginning their creative practice—that is why we have a relatively loose requirement that artists have five years experience in their 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. Finally, the Creative Capital Award is not suitable for curating exhibitions, rather it is designed for individual artists to produce original work.

Who is eligible for a Creative Capital Award?

An artist must be:

• At least 25 years old
• A working artist with at least five years of professional experience
• A U.S. Citizen, permanent legal resident, or an O-1 Visa holder

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. Additionally, we are not able to provide funding to LLC or S Corp organizations.
• A full-time student in a degree-granting program or its equivalent
• A Creative Capital Awardee
• An applicant or collaborator on more than one proposed project

Additionally, writers are NOT eligible to apply for a Creative Capital Award if they are:

  • Applying for an Arts Writers Grant for any project within the same year
  • Or, applying with the same project for which they have previously received an Arts Writers Grant
Does Creative Capital fund collaborative projects?

Yes, we accept proposals for collaborative projects and work by collectives. We ask that you 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. Each artist collaborator can apply with only one project in any single award year.

Artists either collaborate with each other regularly or only on the proposed project. However, one-time collaborators will need to make a very strong case regarding their commitment to work together for the entire three- to five-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.

NOTE: Only those artists named as collaborators when the application is submitted will be eligible to receive the award. Artists will be unable to add members once the award has been granted.

Read More About How We Define Collaborators

Can nonprofit organizations apply for a Creative Capital Award?

No, 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. Additionally, we are not able to provide funding to LLC or S Corp organizations.

Can I apply if I'm student?

No, we do not accept applications from artists enrolled in a full-time degree granting program when submitting an application. Additionally, you cannot be enrolled in a program any time before January 2022 to be eligible for this application cycle of the Creative Capital Award.

How do I benefit from your application process even if I don’t get an award?

We have designed a system that serves artists at every step.

  • The questions on the application are tailored to be artist-centered.
  • At least two arts professionals learn about your work at each stage. Projects that make it to the final panel will have had several arts professionals learn about the work.
  • For those artists who advance to the last stage of our process, shortly after the award announcement artists are eligible to opt in to On Our Radar, a website that we send to our general network, including curators, programmers, artists, potential resource providers 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.
Is there a submission fee?

No, it is free to apply for a Creative Capital Award.

Still have questions?

If you still have questions, contact us at [email protected]. Please make sure to consult available resources before reaching out to us. For your reference, please review our page that has an in-depth look at the application.