In 1999, under the leadership of Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital embarked on a mission to reinvent cultural philanthropy and to support innovative artists pursuing adventurous projects in all disciplines. Creative Capital began as an experiment to see how artists could benefit from the kind of opportunities afforded to entrepreneurs in other sectors. Our pioneering system of supporting artists is inspired by the venture capital principles of building a long-term relationship with a project, providing funding at strategic moments, and surrounding the project with critical resources, counsel and advisory services.
In response to the National Endowment for the Arts' termination of the majority of its grant programs for individual artists, Creative Capital was founded with a fierce commitment to freedom of expression. We aim to support the latest thinking in the field and to provide early support for projects that initially have challenges receiving funding from other sources. Our open application process attracts a range of diverse artistic visions and practices, and our 529 awardees create exceptional projects that challenge cultural and aesthetic conventions and push boundaries in a range of disciplines.
Our artists have premiered their Creative Capital-supported projects at the Sundance Film Festival, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, Site Santa Fe, Art Basel Miami Beach, The Kitchen, the New Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Los Angeles Film Festival and IFC Center; they have presented their work at the Kennedy Center for the Arts, Tate Modern, the Venice Biennale, the Public Theater and on Broadway; and their literary works have been published by Knopf, Henry Holt and Co. and University of California Press, among others.
In 2003, we launched the Professional Development Program to share with a wider community of artists some of the tools and strategies for improved self-sufficiency that we initially developed for our awardees. Creative Capital has since become the leader in professional development for artists and the only national organization that has made a long-term commitment to artists’ professional development.