Mission


Creative Capital is a nonprofit, grantmaking organization with the mission to fund artists in the creation of groundbreaking new work, to amplify the impact of their work, and to foster sustainable artistic careers.

Vision

To champion artistic freedom of expression, to be at the forefront of discovering and fostering the creation of radical art, and to build a wild and wondrous artist-centered community that inspires a global public.


History

In 1999, Creative Capital was established as a nonprofit public charity after the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ended the majority of its grants for individual artists. Archibald L. Gillies, then President of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, believed that fostering artists’ freedom of expression was critical to democracy. At the heart of our organization is a deep commitment to a democratic process of grantmaking that is open call, national, and accessible to individual artists working in the visual arts, performing arts, technology, film/moving image, literature, socially engaged and multidisciplinary forms.

Creative Capital was created with the express purpose of funding the creation of experimental, innovative new projects via direct financial support to individual artists. Ruby Lerner, Founding President & Executive Director, developed a new model for cultural philanthropy that adopted elements of the venture capital ethos, in particular the ways in which entrepreneurs in the tech sector were being holistically supported.

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Impact

Creative Capital pioneered a transformative grantmaking model that marries direct funding to individual artists with infrastructure and scaffolding support through professional development services, advisory services, 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 to invest in the long-term, sustainable careers of artists.

Each year, Creative Capital receives approximately 4,000 artist project applications. To date, Creative Capital has awarded millions in grants and services to 834 artists to create 680 innovative new projects. 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 professional development, educational programs, and workshops have served more than 32,000 artists nationwide.

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 and to Creative Capital in meaningful ways. More than 75% of 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: 138 Guggenheim Fellowships, 19 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, and 3 Academy Awards and 14 nominations.


Values

Creative Capital believes in:

  • Advocating for freedom of expression
  • Art that challenges formal, social, and political conventions
  • A spirit of mutual generosity, seeking to foster a diverse and equitable ecosystem in the arts
  • Developing more sustainable social, economic, and environmental practices

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.

Creative Capital commits to being more sustainable in its operations including: reducing energy consumption, limiting air travel, using recycled paper products, eliminating unnecessary single use plastic, and impact investing.