Creative Capital Announces New President & Executive Director

Christine Kuan brings decades of leadership experience across the arts, education, nonprofit, and commercial sectors to role.

(New York, NY – February 24, 2021)  Creative Capital is pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Kuan as its next President and Executive Director. Currently the CEO and Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art – New York, Kuan brings to Creative Capital more than 20 years of experience in arts leadership across the educational, nonprofit, and commercial sectors. The decision follows a national executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG).

“I am honored to join Creative Capital in its mission to support individual artists creating groundbreaking work confronting the most important issues of our time,” said incoming Creative Capital President and Executive Director Christine Kuan. “One of the things that attracts me to Creative Capital is its fierce commitment to risk-taking artists of diverse backgrounds, who make such powerful contributions to our culture. The pandemic and its fallout have been incredibly challenging for artists of all disciplines, and the work Creative Capital does is more important than ever. I look forward to working with the amazing Creative Capital team to help champion and sustain artists and their practices now and for years to come.”

Kuan joins Creative Capital during a period of growth and expansion, including the move to an annual award cycle in 2019. She will be the organization’s third Executive Director, after Suzy Delvalle and Founding Director and President Ruby Lerner. Chief Operating Officer Leslie Singer has served as Interim Executive Director since Delvalle’s departure, and will return to her former position following Kuan’s appointment. Kuan will formally begin her new role on Monday, March 22, 2021.

“We’re always looking for ways to grow and improve our support for artists and artistic communities across the United States. Christine’s experience as an innovator and risk-taker, her wide network and breadth of perspective, will be great assets to the artists we serve,” said Annie Han, Creative Capital Board Co-Chair and 2005 Awardee

“As an artist, educator and entrepreneur, Christine’s passion for making an impact through the arts makes her an ideal leader for Creative Capital at this moment.” said Bill Foulkes, Creative Capital Board Co-Chair.

“Christine’s unique portfolio of skills and accomplishments make her an ideal fit for Creative Capital, and our efforts to help artists not only develop groundbreaking new work, but establish long-term sustainable artistic practices,” said Reginald M. Browne, Creative Capital Board Member, and member of the search committee.

Prior to her role at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Kuan served as Chief Curatorial Officer and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Artsy, in addition to positions at Artstor and Oxford University Press. She has taught at Peking University, Rutgers University, and the University of Iowa, from which she received an MFA in Creative Writing Poetry.

True to the organization’s artist-centric spirit, Creative Capital’s selection committee included four artist awardees: Edgar Arceneaux, Hasan Elahi, Annie Han, and Jae Rhim Lee. Kuan’s selection was the result of a six-month national search process.

“As a multi-hyphenated practitioner herself, Christine truly gets our groundbreaking, ‘out-there’ artists, and is the ideal leader to blaze new, innovative paths for Creative Capital,” said Jae Rhim Lee, Creative Capital Board Member, 2009 Awardee, and search committee member.

“There are great challenges ahead for supporting the arts that were only exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Edgar Arceneaux, Creative Capital Board Member, 2005 Awardee, and search committee member. “Cultural institutions need to be at the forefront, helping us reconcile the past and imagine a better future. Christine brings a unique perspective to the philanthropic world, and we’re elated to work with her.”

Since its founding in 1999, Creative Capital has supported 631 projects representing 783 artists with more than $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.

“We are excited to see where and how Christine will stretch us as an organization and the sector as a whole,” said Creative Capital Board Member and Lambent Foundation Executive Director Michelle Coffey. “With continuing uncertainty and vulnerability brought forward by the global pandemic and intersecting structural inequities, we have a strong belief in Christine’s strategic skill set, visionary practice, and values-based experimentation, especially at this time.”

More information on the most recent Creative Capital Awards, announced in December of last year, is available here. Applications for the 2022 Creative Capital Awards are now open through March 8, 2021 at 4pm ET. More information regarding the process can be found here.

About Christine Kuan
Before joining Creative Capital, Christine Kuan was CEO/Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York. With twenty years of experience in both nonprofit and commercial sectors of the art world, Kuan has expertise in art education, museums, and digital strategy across cultural institutions and the art market. She was formerly Chief Curator and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Artsy, where she oversaw the organization’s museum and institutional partnerships, digital collection strategy, open access policy, educational initiatives, and auctions.

Prior to Artsy, Kuan was Chief Curatorial Officer and Vice President of External Affairs at Artstor, a nonprofit image library founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Art Online/Grove Art Online at Oxford University Press, where she significantly expanded access to scholarly information on women artists and artists of color. Kuan has also worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has taught at the University of Iowa, Peking University, Rutgers University, and Stanford University’s pilot program of Arts Leadership.

Kuan holds an MFA in Creative Writing Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a BA in Art History and English Literature from Rutgers University. Kuan serves on the History of Collecting Advisory Committee at the Frick Collection in New York and the Steering Committee of The Brooklyn Rail.