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Harvard Business School Debuts Creative Capital Case Study

April 12, 2010



On April 16, more than 900 Harvard Business School students will be introduced to a new case study, Creative Capital: Sustaining the Arts. The study explores Creative Capital’s history and unique system of supporting individual artists and looks ahead to the organization’s second decade. Professors Felda Hardymon, Frank Cespedes and Elisabeth Koll will teach the case in Entrepreneurial Management classes to the entire HBS Class of 2011. The case, which touches on many of Creative Capital’s signature activities—including its unique application process, Professional Development Program and Artist Retreat—was prepared by Professor Hardymon and Teaching Fellow Ann Leamon. HBS was drawn to Creative Capital because of the organization’s unique adaptation of venture capital concepts to the arts. Creative Capital was conceived following the culture wars of the mid-1990s, as dot-com companies were reinventing ways of doing business and venture philanthropy was born. A perfect alignment of cultural and economic conditions allowed Creative Capital to harness venture capital concepts and apply them to the art world at a time when a new system of support for individual artists was most needed. This integrated, multi-faceted and sequential system of support adapts business concepts to suit the fluid trajectory of the creative process, offering both financial and advisory support to help artists realize their projects and build individual capacity to sustain their careers. Creative Capital’s four-part system of support is built upon 1) support for the project over time, through money and counsel; 2) support for the individual artist, through career development workshops and ongoing counsel; 3) support for the artist community through Artist Retreats and ongoing counsel; and 4) public engagement through regular outreach to bring projects to as wide and diverse an audience as possible. Creative Capital: Sustaining the Arts features quotes and insights from Creative Capital President Ruby Lerner and former president of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts Archibald Gillies, as well as board members, grantees, Professional Development Program participants and other members of the Creative Capital family. Lerner will attend all three Entrepreneurial Manager classes on April 16 to help teach the case. “This case study demonstrates how far Creative Capital has come since 1999 and asks students to consider how we can keep moving forward,” says Lerner. “We are proud to share our story with HBS and its students, and I am excited to have the opportunity to hear what the students have to say about our future.” Creative Capital: Sustaining the Arts, will be available for purchase later this year at http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu. Back to Listing