Creative Capital

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Creative Capital
Cc stacked sq-dashed-blue-square.png
AbbreviationCreative Capital
Founded atNew York City
HeadquartersNew York City
  • New York City
Executive Director
Suzy Delvalle

Creative Capital is a New York City-based national nonprofit that provides awards and advisory services to artists in 34 different disciplines, including visual art, performing arts, moving image and literature. Artists receive the Creative Capital Award through a free open application process in February.


Creative Capital was founded in 1999 with Ruby Lerner as founding director, president and Executive Director. As of May 2016, the Executive Director is Suzy Delvalle.[1]

It was founded in part to offer support to artists affected by the National Endowment for the Arts's (NEA) cuts to funding for individual artists in the 1990s.[2] In its first year, Creative Capital accepted 1,810 applications[3] and announced 75 recipients for the award[4] and launched their first invitation-only Artist Retreat at Skowhegan School of Painting. This in-person meeting of artists and professionals allows an exchange of ideas and as well as spark new connections within the community.[5] A retreat has been held each award year since.

In 2019, Creative Capital celebrated their 20th anniversary,[6] announcing a yearly award and retreat cycle, as well as publishing a series of articles for each award cycle in collaboration with the Los Angeles Review of Books.[7]

Business model and artist services[edit]

On March 24, 2010, the Harvard Business School published a case study of the Creative Capital business model titled "Creative Capital: Sustaining the Arts." In a description of the study, authors G. Felda Hardymon and Ann Leamon wrote about Creative Capital’s use of a venture capital model, investing in their awardees with money as well as advice on managing their careers so that they can continue improving their careers after spending the award.[8] Creative Capital stipulates that awardees whose projects make a profit return a portion of it to the organization. Many Creative Capital Awardees become advisors for new awardees.

Creative Capital's approach centers on the idea that time and advisory services are as important to the creative process as money. As awardees' funded projects develop, Creative Capital staff meet with them to set goals and chart progress. Creative Capital provides funding at benchmark moments for each project, including initial funding, support to build the artist’s personal and professional capacity, follow-up support for project production, funding for the project’s premiere, and support for the project’s expansion after its premiere.[9] Of this type of support, Sheryl Oring, a Creative Capital Awardee, has said, "For mid-career artists like me, Creative Capital can help make the difference between whether we keep making art or give up."[2]

Creative Capital Awards[edit]

The Creative Capital Awards provides selected artists with career advisory services, community support and funding for a project. Artists apply through an open application process and are subjected to three rounds of reviews before finalists are announced.[10]

While the award cycle varied from a year to three years from 2000 to 2019, in 2019 for their 20th anniversary, Creative Capital announced a new yearly award cycle to amplify their mission and make themselves "accessible to artists when they need us most."[11]

Creative Capital Award recipients[edit]

Notable awardees include[edit]

Emerging Fields

Moving Image


Performing Arts

Visual Arts


After each new round of awardees is announced, Creative Capital hosts a retreat for the artists, including the most recently announced awardees, those from the previous round, other awardees as consultants as well as people connected to Creative Capital in various ways who act as consultants, workshop leaders or observers.[12] In various workshops and meetings with consultants, artists are advised on how to plan the next five years of their artistic careers as well their personal lives.[2]

Creative Capital hosts a variety of events for awardees to meet each other and others within the artistic community. Paddy Johnson has written in her arts blog, Art Fag City, "These conferences offer grantees an amazing opportunity to connect with other artists and a wide range of curators, distributors, and artistic directors through mixers, meetings with consultants, and artist presentations. They also ask grantees to return to the conference every couple of years, which keeps them in touch with a constantly expanding network of creative art folk."[13]

Professional Development Programs[edit]

In 2003 Creative Capital founded a professional development program, which offers a series of evening-, one-day- or weekend-length workshops for artists on marketing, strategic planning, self-management, fundraising, and web strategies. In both presenting these workshops in person nationally and broadcasting some online in the form of "webinars," the program shares skills taught to Creative Capital Awardees with other artists across the U.S. The workshops have been described as a “crash course in self-management, strategic planning, fundraising and promotion.”[14]


  1. ^ Barone, Joshua (10 May 2016). "Creative Capital Chooses Susan Delvalle as President and Executive Director". Retrieved 5 March 2018 – via
  2. ^ a b c Murphy, Tim. "Bohemian Boot Camp". Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  3. ^ Dobrzynski, Judith (25 August 1999). "1,810 Artists Seek Grants From a New Foundation". New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  4. ^ "New Fund to Support Emerging Artists Awards 75 Grants Totaling Over $560,000". 27 January 2000. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  5. ^ Candid. "A Spark for Good Art: Creative Capital Doesn't Just Fund Projects, It Builds Careers". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  6. ^ "20th Anniversary". Creative Capital. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  7. ^ Fateman, Johanna. "Art Matters Now — 12 Writers on 20 Years of Art: Johanna Fateman on the Founding of Creative Capital". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  8. ^ Hardymon, G. Felda; Ann Leamon (March 24, 2010). "Creative Capital: Sustaining the Arts". Harvard Business Review: 24. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Our Approach". Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  10. ^ "About the Creative Capital Award". Creative Capital. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  11. ^ Candid. "Creative Capital Shifts to Annual Funding Cycle for Artists". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  12. ^ "Retreat & Gatherings". Creative Capital. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  13. ^ Johnson, Paddy. "Expanding The Creative Capital Network". Art Fag City. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  14. ^ Johnson, Annie (3 June 2011). "Workshop brings 'creative capital'". Nashville Business Journal. Retrieved 10 October 2012.

External links[edit]