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Photo: Performance still from No More Water / The Fire Next Time by Meshell Ndegeocello. Photo credit: Da Ping Luo, Courtesy Park Avenue Armory.

Mission & Impact

Creative Capital is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fund artists in the creation of groundbreaking new works, to amplify the impact of their work, and to foster sustainable artistic careers. We believe in the power of artists to shape the future of our global communities. Creative Capital Awards are made through a national, open call process and grants are awarded in the visual arts, performing arts, technology, literature, film/moving image, and socially-engaged work across a multitude of forms.

Our Impact

In 1999, Creative Capital pioneered a transformative grant-making model that marries direct funding to individual artists with infrastructure and scaffolding support through professional development services, financial and legal counsel, networking, community-building, and mentorship. The Creative Capital philanthropic model has impacted not just artists, but the arts ecosystem as a whole—inspiring countless other nonprofits investing in the long-term, sustainable careers of artists.

Since our founding Creative Capital has awarded grants to 630 innovative projects conceptualized by more than 775 artists. We are recognized for funding risk-taking artists working across a diverse array of disciplines, and for identifying and supporting talent at catalytic moments in artists’ careers.

Creative Capital Awards have helped to realize hundreds of innovative projects, including: Titus Kaphar, The Jerome Project (painting, 2015), Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (literature, 2013), Simone Leigh, What’s Her Face (sculpture, 2012), LaToya Ruby Frazier, A Monument for Braddock (photography, 2012), Taylor Mac, The Lily’s Revenge (theater, 2009), Laura Poitras, The Oath (film, 2008), Ralph Lemon, The Geography Trilogy/Part 3: Come Home Charley Patton (dance, 2000), Jesse Krimes, Mass Incarceration Quilt Series (socially engaged, 2020)

Creative Capital Awardees have gone on to build thriving practices, build their own businesses, acquire gallery spaces and real estate, and give back to local communities in meaningful ways. More than 75% of our recent awardees are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or artists of color representing a wide range of age groups, artistic disciplines, and regions. Our awardees have received prestigious honors and other accolades, including: 127 Guggenheim Fellowships, 19 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, 3 Academy Awards and 13 nominations, 5 Heinz Awards, and 1 Booker Prize.

Our Model

Through a national, open call application process, Creative Capital works with external experts through multiple rounds of review to select grantees across disciplines to receive the Creative Capital Award. From 2022 to 2024, Creative Capital will award 50 grants of up to $50,000 per project. We provide each project with direct funding throughout key points in a project’s lifecycle, combined with professional services and community building opportunities. We encourage artists who achieve financial success as a result of the support provided by Creative Capital to give back to the organization to enable us to grow our funding for future artists.


Creative Capital believes in:

  • Art that challenges cultural and aesthetic conventions;
  • A spirit of mutual generosity, premised on respect—among artists, audiences, staff, and board alike—seeking to foster a diverse and equitable ecosystem in the arts;
  • Serving artists that represent a diversity of disciplines, education, career levels, abilities, ages, genders, ethnicities, cultures and geographic locations;
  • Advocating against oppressive practices and barriers that limit artists;
  • Developing more sustainable and equitable social, economic, and environmental practices for our organization in our operations and for the artists that we support;
  • Artists, who have the power to push society forward.

Land Acknowledgment

Creative Capital would like to call attention to the complex history of the lands on which we live and work. Our headquarters are situated on the unceded ancestral homelands of the Lenape people, called Lenapehoking, commonly referred to as Manhattan. The Creative Capital website and servers occupy Ohlone, Chochenyo, and Ramaytush land, commonly referred to as South Beach, California, and Tongva land, commonly referred to as Los Angeles.

We commit to responsible stewardship of the land and respect for the First Nations. We also acknowledge the people forcibly taken from their ancestral lands in Africa and enslaved to build the economic infrastructure from which this country now benefits. We furthermore recognize the interconnections between the enduring impacts of colonization, enslavement, and our current climate emergency, which manifest in a myriad of ways including habitat destruction and global dispossession, environmental exploitation in Indigenous communities and in communities of color, and climate refugee crises.

Selected Online Resources

Selected Print Resources

  • From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement by Luke W. Cole and Sheila R. Foster (NYU Press 2001)
  • Power, Justice and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement, edited by David Naguib Pellow and Robert J. Brulle (MIT Press, 2005)
  • Climate Change is Racist by Jeremy Williams (Icon Books 2021)

To recommend resources to add to the lists above, please email: [email protected]