Suzy Delvalle to Step Down as Head of Creative Capital

Susan (Suzy) Delvalle, who has led Creative Capital through a period of major growth and transformation since assuming the role of president and executive director in 2016, and most recently overseen the organization’s response to the massive challenges imposed on artists by the COVID-19 pandemic, will step down from her position on September 1, 2020. Delvalle will continue to serve in an advisory role for the remainder of the year, working with Creative Capital’s staff and board to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

Delvalle, who succeeded Creative Capital founder Ruby Lerner as the nonprofit’s director, oversaw some of the most dramatic changes in the organization’s two-decade history. Under Delvalle’s leadership, Creative Capital increased its annual operating budget 20 percent by instituting a three-year fundraising cycle, further developed the board with eight new active members while also establishing a National Advisory Council, and expanded services to artists by instituting regular, annual Creative Capital Awards and retreats.

Having seen the organization through its 20th anniversary, Delvalle leaves Creative Capital more prepared than ever to support artists through the unprecedented challenges they face today. The two classes of Creative Capital Awardees she welcomed into the organization’s community of artists are among the most diverse in its history, representing the full breadth of the artistic voices in this country. Creative Capital has always sought out artists whose work is forward-thinking, bold, and innovative, imbued with a conviction that a better future is possible and a vision for how we might realize it. The kind of work, in other words, that will be particularly valuable in times like these.

Delvalle’s leadership over the last four years meant that Creative Capital was well-positioned at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis to respond immediately and meaningfully in support of artists. The organization quickly pivoted to respond to the rapidly evolving situation, accelerating the distribution of Creative Capital Award funding, developing a widely shared database of resources for affected artists (archived by the Library of Congress as an important historical resource), joining a myriad of philanthropic and research efforts, including the newly formed Artist Relief, to address emergency needs and assess the depth of the pandemic’s impact and identify the most effective responses.

In sum, Delvalle leaves Creative Capital on solid footing to weather this crisis, and primed for a new leader to develop the organization’s approach to the long-term ramifications of the pandemic for artists.

“Suzy has been instrumental in securing Creative Capital’s long-term sustainability, developing infrastructure and resources, and catalyzing innovations,” says Creative Capital board co-chair Stephen Reily. “Her work will have a lasting impact on Creative Capital and the artists whose work she’s championed.”

“Creative Capital has been fortunate to have Suzy at its helm,” says Creative Capital board co-chair Colleen Jennings-Roggensack. “She brought with her great ideas about expanding our already considerable role in promoting art, and ensuring that Creative Capital lifts up a diverse array of voices from the full breadth of the United States. We are grateful for her tenure and guidance.”

“I’m immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last four years, and in the last few months, when the coronavirus pandemic has challenged us as never before,” says Delvalle. “I will always admire, and will continue to follow and support, Creative Capital and its artists!”

Delvalle’s departure was originally planned earlier in 2020, but she and the organization’s board agreed to delay the move in order to facilitate the organization’s rapid response to COVID-19. Delvalle will remain with Creative Capital in an advisory role from September through the end of the year, working to ensure a smooth transition.

A nationwide search for the new director is now underway.

Since its founding in 1999, Creative Capital has supported 596 projects representing 741 artists with over $48 million in funding; professional development opportunities; legal, financial, and other 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. The most recent awards were announced in January; the next class will be announced later this year.