Founded in 1999, Creative Capital Foundation uplifts underinvested, risk-taking artists with unrestricted project grants, professional development, and community-building services to advance freedom of expression and foster sustainable careers. Known as the “gold standard in artist support,” Creative Capital Awards are made via a democratic, national open call process.


Creative Capital has fundraised and awarded $55 million in grants and services to 955 artists to create 780 innovative new works in the visual arts, performing arts, film, technology, literature, and multidisciplinary and socially engaged forms. More than 75 percent of Creative Capital Awardees in recent years identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or artists of color, LGBTQIA+, women, and artists with disabilities. In addition, Creative Capital serves more than 250,000 artists each year based in regional communities with in-person and online educational programs and artist resources. Creative Capital raises every dollar for its awards and programs for artists. 

Creative Capital pioneered a transformative grantmaking model that marries direct funding to individual artists with long-term, wraparound support through professional development services, industry connections, peer mentorship, and community-building. The Creative Capital philanthropic model has impacted not just artists, but the arts ecosystem as a whole—inspiring countless other nonprofits and individuals to invest in the careers of artists in a holistic way.

The Creative Capital Award is recognized for funding boundary-pushing artists working across an array of disciplines, and for identifying and supporting talent at catalytic moments in artists’ lives. Creative Capital Awardees have gone on to build thriving practices, start their own businesses, acquire gallery spaces and real estate, and give back to local communities and to Creative Capital in meaningful ways. Our Awardees have received prestigious honors and other accolades, including: 160 Guggenheim Fellowships, 20 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, and 3 Academy Awards and 15 nominations. 


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.


Creative Capital believes in:

  • Advocating for freedom of expression
  • Challenging formal, social, and political conventions
  • Fostering 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.

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