Announcing the 2020 Creative Capital Awards
Creative Capital is pleased to announce the selection of 35 projects for the 2020 Creative Capital Awards. Exemplars of the sort of innovative, powerful, and challenging work that Creative Capital is dedicated to advancing, these awardees will receive up to $50,000 in project funding, supplemented by an additional $50,000 in career development services, for a total value of $100,000. The full list of recipients is below.
These 35 projects, by 41 individual artists, were drawn from a pool of more than 4,000 applications and selected by a nine-member, multidisciplinary panel composed of awardees from previous years, expert curators, producers, and other arts professionals. In a departure from traditional awards panels, Creative Capital’s multi-step review process is not delineated by genre—the nine panelists deliberated together to select the awardees regardless of field.
“Though these artists come to us from very different backgrounds, work in different fields, and explore a wide range of subjects, they share a dedication to pushing boundaries, both ours and their own,” said Suzy Delvalle, Creative Capital’s President & Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be supporting them and their work, and cannot wait to see these projects grow and mature to fruition.”
The projects that earned 2020 Creative Capital Awards are based in 15 different states and territories, from Louisiana to Alaska, Puerto Rico to Pennsylvania. Of the 41 artists, over 76 percent identify as people of color, 54 percent identify as women, and 12 percent as trans or gender nonbinary; two identify as being disabled. They range in age from 27 to 67.
This year’s projects mark the first of a new decade, and the 2oth anniversary of Creative Capital. In planning for the decade to come, Creative Capital recently announced its move to a new fundraising model and the launch of a 20th Anniversary Fund, evidence of the organization’s continued growth and evolution in the service of artists, their work, and their communities. The organization is fortunate to receive dedicated project funding for the visual arts from the Andy Warhol Foundation, performing arts from the Doris Duke Foundation, and racial justice from the Surdna Foundation.
Drawing from the principles of venture capital to develop innovative work in the cultural sphere, Creative Capital seeks out bold, groundbreaking projects and provides the artists behind them with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers. Since its founding in 1999, Creative Capital has supported 741 artists with nearly $50 million in funding; professional development opportunities; expert consulting; artist retreats and gatherings; and more, with the aim of fostering and developing artistic exchange and a thriving cultural commons across the United States.
Applications for the next cycle of Creative Capital Awards will open February 1, 2020. As part of Creative Capital’s move to annual award cycles, beginning in 2020, artists will submit one full application in February with a complete budget and six work samples. This is a shift from previous years, in order to make the application process more efficient. The next group of Creative Capital Awards will be announced in late 2020, and annually at that time thereafter.
Cassils | Creative Capital Awardee; Artist
Ken Chen | Executive Director, Asian American Writers’ Workshop
Gina Duncan | Vice President, Film and Strategic Programming, Brooklyn Academy of Music
Carlos Gutiérrez | Executive Director, Cinema Tropical
Angela Mattox | Performing Arts Curator; Former Artistic Director, PICA
Laleh Mehran | Creative Capital Awardee; Professor of Emergent Digital Practices at University of Denver
Roderick Schrock | Executive Director, Eyebeam
Stacy Switzer | Curator and Executive Director, Fathomers
Tara Aisha Willis | Associate Curator of Performance, MCA Chicago
2020 Creative Capital Awards
The Body Never Lies
Performance Art, Theater
The Body Never Lies is a solo, performance-based theatrical search for a vocabulary beyond language that expresses who we are. Through movement, martial arts, science (a heart monitor), and some fragmented texts in various languages, Becca Blackwell uncovers a new landscape for themselves and the audience to discover identity.
Jibz Cameron & Sue Slagle
Los Angeles, CA & Frederick, MD
Multimedia Performance, Performance Art
Titanic Depression is a multimedia performance with live animation starring Dynasty Handbag, alter ego of artist Jibz Cameron. Using the 1997 film Titanic as a departure point, the work addresses issues of class, gender roles, gratuitous wealth, and the environmental impact of climate change.
Performance Art, Multimedia Performance
The Essentialisn’t troubles expected narratives of the diasporic black feminine and questions the artist’s relationships to performance and captivity. The work utilizes an innovative combination of song, electronic sound, movement, everyday objects, and reanimated modernist figures from the Harlem Renaissance to cultivate a practice of presence and sovereignty.
Eclipsing Shadows—We’aashar Moyookmok
Mercedes Dorame creates an immersive installation addressing contemporary interpretation of Native Tongva ceremony and our relationship to celestial movements, eclipses, and solstices. The installation includes the creation of a semi-enclosed, domed immersive space, recordings of Tongva music, photograms, and cast concrete sculptures.
Genuine Herstory: Documythographies
Literary Fiction, Literary Nonfiction
Genuine Herstory: Documythographies is a three-volume, hybrid, and cross-genre writing project culminating with a performance installation. Exploring themes of African diasporic fugitivity and migration, this project layers fiction, poem essays, memoir, visual and material documents, and voicescapes—altering and inscribing, in an effort to excavate and rechart history.
Beka Economopoulos, Jason Jones & Judith LeBlanc
Vashon, WA; Vashon, WA & New York, NY
The Natural History Museum Presents: The Supreme Court of Red Natural History
Artistic Activism, Cultural Organizing
The Natural History Museum is an ongoing art intervention that unleashes the power of museums, motivating them to act not as shrines to a civilization in decline, but as agents of change. This new exhibition assembles a collective of accusers within an authoritative architecture to put natural history on trial.
Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi & J Mase III
Seattle, WA & Washington, DC
The Black Trans Prayer Book: A Performative Documentary Performance Art, Experimental Film
The Black Trans Prayer Book: A Performative Documentary explores the lives, reflections, performances, and spiritual journey of the contributors to the Black Trans Prayer Book—a collaborative text, co-edited by J Mase III & Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, that explores the healing needs of Black trans people.
San Francisco, CA
Combining poetry, dialogues, fictive FBI records, and non-fiction prose, Monkey Talk follows a 20th Century artist-philanthropist relationship that is being tracked by government surveillance and a young scholar’s curiosity. Focused on the ways that artistic creations act as monitors and are also monitored, the multi-volume project tracks parallel, contesting conversations around race.
Ebony Noelle Golden
New York, NY
Performance Art, Cultural Organizing
Jubilee 11213 is a multi-generational cultural organizing and community theatre collaboration that advances civic action and creativity practiced at the founding of the Weeksville community.
Los Angeles, CA
Lunch At Guantanamo
Randa Jarrar’s newest book is a semi-satirical, fantastical novel set in 2045 Guantanamo Bay, inspired by and updating “The Penal Colony,” the short story by Franz Kafka. The book envisions a utopic queer future—one that offers its inhabitants peace, liberation, and justice.
Video Art, Installation
In 1900, The New York Times reported that six “tramps” formed an acrobatic pyramid, cut a hole in the ceiling, and escaped from the Middlesex County Jail in New Jersey. Working with trained and untrained actors, this body of work considers the precarious and resistant figure of the acrobat.
Tyehimba Jess, Yahdon Israel & Janice A. Lowe
Poetry, Musical Theater
Olio is a live musical production of the Pulitzer-prize winning book of poems of the same title, presenting the lives of African-American creatives from the Civil War to World War I.
Narrative Film, Experimental Film
In this narrative feature film, Aisha is an undocumented nanny in New York City caring for the privileged child of an Upper East Side family. As she prepares for the arrival of the child she left behind in her native country, a violent presence invades her reality, jeopardizing the American Dream she has so carefully constructed.
Mass Incarceration Quilt
Multimedia, Artistic Activism
The Mass Incarceration Quilt series focuses on rendering visible people and perspectives hidden by the criminal justice system. Using a variety of participatory art practices, the project aims to reframe public narratives that perpetuate mass incarceration, humanizing those whose lives are bound up in the criminal justice system.
Jasmin Mara López
New Orleans, LA
Documentary Film, Installation
Silent Beauty is a personal documentary about Jasmin López’s family’s history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. The work extends as an audio visual installation that features the voices of dozens of survivors—adults and older children with parents—that have reached out to the artist to share their stories.
John W. Love, Jr.
The Cathedral of Messes
Installation, Performance Art
The Cathedral of Messes is the scene of a crime: a mystic has assassinated his inner saboteur. Crystalline enshrined shoes and body parts of sculpted black salt float in a sea of video, literature, and performance in an installation dedicated to obliterating a virus known as shame.
Cannupa Hanska Luger
Future Ancestral Technologies
Multimedia Performance, Experimental Film
Future Ancestral Technologies is an Indigenous-centered approach to making art objects, video, and performance with the intent to influence global consciousness using creative storytelling to radically reimagine the future. Moving science-fiction theory into practice, this methodology conjures innovative life-based solutions that promote a thriving Indigeneity.
Roeland Park, KS
Ecological Art, Social Practice
The Redwood Preserve is a land art and social enterprise project to restore the ancient Californian redwood forest obliterated by logging in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The nature preserve would revive biodiversity in the region, while its trees combat climate change by pulling large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.
Los Angeles, CA
Artistic Activism, Data Visualization
Golestan Revisited is a multimedia, internationally-accessible online database created to research, reclaim, and rename roses transplanted to Europe during the Crusades from the South and West Asian and North African region (known as SWANA), to symbolize and commemorate women, girls and femmes killed—often while captive in the wars against “terror” and/or by reactive Islamist occupations.
Worker Writers School: Mobile Unit
Poetry, Social Practice
Worker Writers School: Mobile Unit (WWSMU) expands Mark Nowak’s ongoing, twenty-year project of bringing poetry workshops directly to the working class. Like bookmobiles or food trucks, WWSMU visits laundromats, street corners, restaurants near construction sites, bus stops, and other locations that workers frequent to offer brief, intensive poetry writing classes.
San Juan, PR
On the Eve of Abolition
Papel Machete proposes a bilingual play in Spanish and English that tells the speculative fiction story of the last prison in the U.S. Using letters from incarcerated people, prison radio shows, puppets, masks, music, and picture storytelling, they present events preceding the final day of the last prison, and the movement which made abolition a reality.
New York, NY & Brooklyn, NY
The Three Lives of David Wong
Documentary Film, Puppetry
Through a mixture of recreation puppetry, archival interviews, and verité, The Three Lives of David Wong documentary film tells the story of an undocumented Chinese immigrant wrongfully convicted of murder, and the group of activists who came to together to rally for his freedom.
Tel is a platform for performance, study, and contemplation that will question how the nature of memory has changed in relation to the encroachment of cyberspace, telematics, and transmission technologies. The project name refers to the archeological term for a mound formed by the accumulated remains left by communities occupying a site over time. Tel is experienced through a myriad of disciplines: past iterations have been presented as transmissions, walks, conversations, engagement with archives, and a publication series.
jumatatu m. poe
Dance, Multimedia Performance
terrestrial is a multimedia performance installation with choreography by jumatatu poe that stems from majorette lines that became popular at historically Black universities. Inspired by the hot brown granules in both desert dirt and beach sand, terrestrial is a rigorous imagination of Black humans as earth, epic, and finite.
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Encuentro 33: LINE/AGE | Queer Neuro-Cognitive Architectures Hidden in Plain Site(s)
Dance, Social Practice
Encuentro 33 is a multiphase project created in partnership with a core group of Black, Indigenous, First-Generation, Queer, Trans Artists of Color in the Bay Area, nationally, and abroad to develop a series of performances centering ecology, lineage, and ritual through a choreographic lens. These works provide infrastructure for bringing reyes’ vision of opening La Escuela de Corporealidad y Artes Sutiles to fruition.
Untitled Rodrigo Reyes Documentary
Set in rural California, director Rodrigo Reyes’s documentary is moving portrait of the unlikely friendship of two Mexican migrants, told within the frame of the dramatic the clash between systemic forces and personal choices that envelop young, incarcerated men of color in America. This film combines a vibrant exploration of the cinematic form with a strikingly intimate portrait of the fault-lines in our society.
Multimedia, Social Practice
Wintermoot incorporates social practice, augmented reality, graphic novels, and digital humanities to form a series of interconnected epic tales of supernatural people from all over Alaska, spanning several generations. As both a mobile app and augmented graphic novel set in an alternate history Alaska, the work tells the stories of characters created in collaboration with other Alaskans, bringing together over 30 languages and cultures.
Queer in a Time of Forced Migration
Queer in a Time of Forced Migration is an animated transmedia series that follows the stories of LGBTQ refugees from Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia across continents and cultures from the 2011 revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa region to the world today.
New Orleans, LA
The Prisoner’s Apothecary
Artistic Activism, Social Practice
The Prisoner’s Apothecary is a travelling project and community-driven strategy dedicated to education, harm-reduction, and healing. An extension of the Solitary Gardens, this project grows plant medicine in collaboration with incarcerated individuals and distributes it to affected communities nationally. The Prisoner’s Apothecary facilitates the healing potentiality of people we are systematically taught to condemn.
Start With Self
Sculpture, Musical Performance
Start With Self is a sonic stimulation and visual art piece based on scientific research on how certain frequencies stimulate endorphins in the body that lessen pain and relaxes the mind. Jawwaad Taylor’s project is based on his research and experience with sonic healing as a sickle-cell anemia survivor.
Wendy S. Walters
New York, NY
A Dead White: An Argument Against White Paint
A Dead White is a book-length polemic against the use of white paint in both interior and exterior spaces. The argument will wind through a wide selection of works in architecture, manufacturing, art history, and consumer culture, engaging narratives related to its effect in the lived environment.
Florence from Ohio
Documentary Film, Video Art
Florence from Ohio is a real-life, genre twisting film about an immigrant Chinese woman, Florence Wang, and her first-generation daughter, Stephanie Wang-Breal. Told through the lens of Florence’s St. John Knitwear suits, mother and daughter collectively reimagine and embrace their generational ideas of motherhood, feminism, racism, and assimilation.
The Uncasted Queen and Her Progeny
Games, Digital Media
The Uncasted Queen and Her Progeny is an experimental, narrative video game about a legendary drag queen in a post-industrial American city and her many years spent auditioning for competition-based reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The game presents an underrepresented perspective on reality TV’s impact on the queer performance community and explores the question: what happens to the people who get left behind when subversive subcultures go mainstream?
Priestess of Twerk
Theater, Multimedia Performance
Inspired by the “bad bitches” of hip hop, the reproductive justice movement, and the sacred sex workers that graced Egyptian temples, Priestess of Twerk is a black feminist temple of pleasure that presents women, queer, and trans-folks of color with opportunities to re-encounter their sexualities through the lens of the sacred, increasing bodily autonomy, and dispelling toxic masculinity.
Los Angeles, CA
Musical Performance, Performance Art
For over 30 years, Dorian Wood’s Costa Rican-Nicaraguan grandparents owned a two-story house in South L.A., where they raised three daughters—among them, Wood’s mother. La Hill is a cantata that spans the family’s history from room to room.