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Announcing the 2015 Creative Capital Artists: $4,370,000 Awarded to 46 Moving Image and Visual Arts Projects

January 7, 2015

Creative Capital is pleased to announce its 2015 awardees in the categories of Moving Image and Visual Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects selected from a nationwide pool of more than 3,700 proposals. Drawing on venture-capital principles, Creative Capital seeks out artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching, then surrounds those artists with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers.

The 2015 Creative Capital Artists are an incredible group of creative thinkers, representing 50 artists at all stages of their careers with an age range of 28 to 80 years old. They hail from 13 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada; more than half are women, and more than half identify as non­-European American. Each funded project receives up to $50,000 in direct funding (disbursed at key points over the life of the project), plus additional resources and advisory services valued at $45,000, making the organization’s total 2015 investment more than $4,370,000.

“We believe it is so critical to sustain a commitment to invention and experimentation, to provocation and beauty,” said Ruby Lerner, Founding President & Executive Director, Creative Capital. “This class of Creative Capital awardees does it all; these artists are engaged with the world, and the immediacy of their projects is breathtaking.”

See below for a full list of 2015 recipients and projects, plus details on the selection process.

Moving Image Awardees & Projects
The funded projects include documentaries, narratives, animation, and interdisciplinary and experimental work. They address a range of timely issues and ideas, including the Arab Spring, America's forgotten spaces, the urbanization of China, Alzheimer's and a sci-fi musical look at corporate power. 

Michael Almereyda (New York, NY)
Funded Project: The Happy Man's Shirt, a series of linked short films adapted from Medieval Italian folktales, reimagined in contemporary settings.

Martha Colburn (Gettysburg, PA)
Funded Project: Western Wilds, a stop-motion film based on popular stories about the American West written by German author Karl May in the 1890s. 

Cherien Dabis (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: No End In Sight, an immersive cinematic experience that follows the story of a young Muslim woman taking part in the Egyptian revolution. 

Christopher Harris (Oviedo, FL)
Funded Project: Speaking in Tongues, an experimental, hand-processed 16mm film inspired by Ishmael Reed's novel Mumbo Jumbo

Lauren Kelley (New York, NY)
Funded Project: Holiday Way, a stop-motion animated video series based on fictional narratives set on or around major holidays. 

Maryam Keshavarz (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: The Last Harem, a feature film set in 19th-century Persia that follows a rebellious cross-dressing musician and her romance with the boy-king Nasir. 

Klip Collective (Josh James and Ricardo Rivera) (Philadelphia, PA)
Funded Project: Vacant America, a series of videos projections on vacant structures that draw on crowd-sourced stories and imagery to uncover physical residues and memories of each forgotten space. 

Andy Kropa (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: Hacking Alzheimer's, a wearable system that aims to improve the quality of life for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by using perpetually-recording cameras as an aid to memory. 

Lily & Honglei (New Haven, CT)
Funded Project: Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China, a multimedia installation that utilizes animation and emerging technologies to visualize the metamorphosis created by urbanization in China. 

Shola Lynch (New York, NY)
Funded Project: Harriet: Live Free or Die Trying, a narrative film about an unlikely but true action heroine: Harriet Tubman. 

Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Teatro, a documentary about villagers in a small Italian farming town who preserve their heritage and confront their community issues by turning their lives into a play. 

Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva (Mayer\Leyva) (Miami, FL)
Funded Project: #PostModem, a multi-platform narrative culminating in a satirical sci-fi pop musical about a girl who frees futuristic Miami from corporate powers with the help of viral videos. 

Lotfy Nathan (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Fire, a feature film following fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in the days leading up to his symbolic act of self-immolation, which sparked the Tunisian revolution and the subsequent Arab Spring.

Pat O'Neill (Pasadena, CA)
Funded Project: Drift, Wait, Obey, a multi-screen video installation that presents imagery drawn from life and radically restructured using digital technologies. 

Carlo Ontal (Jersey City, NJ)
Funded Project: Kitoko Ya Kolela, a performance piece, series of photo and painting exhibitions, and film drawing on a photojournalist’s experience in the Congo. 

Lorelei Pepi (Vancouver, Canada)
Funded Project: Vigil, an interactive installation that uses facial tracking technology to encourage viewers to engage with and stand vigil for animated representations of “the Other.” 

Shawn Peters (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: The Art of Dying Young, a series of short films that “re-memorialize” young men who were previously memorialized with death murals in Brooklyn; the films, which incorporate augmented reality technology, are intended to be accessed and viewed on smart phones at the site of the memorial mural. 

Jennifer Reeder (Hammond, IN)
Funded Project: As With Knives and Skin, a deadpan glimpse into the lives of both teenagers and adults during the aftermath of a young girl’s disappearance in a rural, racially diverse town in Ohio. 

Jon Rubin (Pittsburgh, PA)
Funded Project: The Sitcom, an experimental, transnational sitcom set and shot both in Tehran and Los Angeles, repositioning the conflict and cultural misrepresentation that characterize U.S./Iranian political relations into the absurdist sphere of a domestic comedy. 

Ry Russo-Young (New York, NY)
Funded Project: The Family Movie, a narrative feature film based on the true story of the artist’s known sperm donor suing her lesbian mothers for visitation and paternity rights when she was nine years old. 

Lee Anne Schmitt (Altadena, CA)
Funded Project: So That I May Come Back, a non-traditional documentary based on the case of Mary Bell, who was 11 years old when she was convicted of killing two small boys in England. 

Dan Schneidkraut (Minneapolis, MN)
Funded Project: Vore King, a detailed character study of R.P. Whalen, world famous horror host, trash movie guru, carnival sideshow barker, and America's premier purveyor of vorarephilia fetish pornography. 

Travis Wilkerson (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Blood Relations, a documentary murder mystery examining the complexities of a racially-charged crime in the filmmaker’s own family history.

Visual Arts Awardees & Projects
Artists proposed projects that included new takes on sculpture, portraiture, comics and performance art. Ideas surrounding mass incarceration, gender and sexuality, nuclear waste, ancient languages, and global warming are represented. 

A.K. Burns (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: Negative Space, a multi-channel video installation that presents a surreal narrative of bodies in transition and their relationships to nature, technology, territories and resources. 

Heather Cassils (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: The Resilience of the 20%: Monument Project, a series of bronze monuments, cast from the artist’s attacks on 2000-pound clay blocks and placed at sites where acts of violence towards gender nonconforming people have occurred. 

Carolina Caycedo (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Be Dammed, an interdisciplinary project investigating the effects that large dams have on natural and social landscapes in several American bio-regions. 

Mike Crane (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: UHF42, a 90-minute television program filmed entirely within the confines of an independent television station in the West Bank. 

Danielle Dean (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Trainers, Part 2, a multi-channel video work, performed and reworked by community members in the Alief neighborhood in Houston, that uses language from Nike commercials and political speeches to investigate how advertising shapes subjects. 

Abigail DeVille (Bronx, NY)
Funded Project: The Bronx: History of Now, a series of 100 site-specific sculptural installations constructed from found objects, fragments of histories and community narratives to tell the story of the present moment in the Bronx. 

Maria Gaspar (Chicago, IL)
Funded Project: Out of Field, a series of outdoor visual and sonic installations on the West Side of Chicago that bring experiences and narratives from Cook County Jail out into the neighborhood that surrounds the detention facility. 

Mariam Ghani (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: What we left unfinished, a collaboration with Afghan filmmakers to examine unfinished state-sponsored films during the years of Afghan Communism (1978-1991) as records of fleeting iterations of the Afghan state, and imagine new narratives constructed from the fragments. 

Eric Gottesman (Cambridge, MA)
Funded Project: The Oromaye Project, which takes assassinated Ethiopian novelist Baalu Girma’s Oromaye as the point of departure for a transnational participatory public photography project. 

Titus Kaphar (New Haven, CT)
Funded Project: Jerome Project, an interdisciplinary investigation into the criminal justice system through the lens of the common and traditionally African-American name, Jerome. 

Jon Kessler (New York, NY)
Funded Project: The Time Was Now, an immersive sculpture and video installation dealing with the inevitable march of time.

Narcissister (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: Organ Player, a feature-length experimental art film based on, and elaborating on, the artists’ acclaimed performance piece by the same name. 

Brittany Nelson (Richmond, VA)
Funded Project: Alternative Process, a series of large-scale digital prints examining the materials of alternative process photography through the artist’s experimentations with raw photo-chemical materials. 

Lorraine O'Grady (New York, NY)
Funded Project: MBN – 30 Years Later, in which the artist’s performance persona Mlle Bourgeoise Noire transforms into a new avatar who protests a money-driven art world to restore the cultural purpose it has lost. 

Jeanine Oleson (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: A human(e) orchestra, an ever-changing “orchestra” that uses a range of noises, from conventional music to speech acts, to produce compositions around agreed-upon issues or audiences in need of “music.” 

Gala Porras-Kim (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: The Mute Object and Ancient Stories of Today, which examines the link between an undeciphered script found on Mesoamerican artifacts and the development of a standardized dictionary for the Zapotec language in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Funded Project: Verano de Mujeres (Summer of Women), a feminist ethno-fiction based on the visionary world-view and sensorial experiences of a group of women in R'o Piedras, Puerto Rico. 

Carrie Schneider (Brooklyn, NY)
Funded Project: The Readers, an installation of 50 film-based portraits of influential women authors, activists, critics, artists and poets immersed in the act of reading. 

Anna Sew Hoy (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Psychic Body Grotto, a sculptural installation of bronze “grottos” enlarged from spontaneous gestures in clay. 

Amie Siegel (New York, NY)
Funded Project: Heavy Metal, a multi-element moving image work exploring the intertwined histories of nuclear reactors, uranium mines and Native American land. 

Katrin Sigurdardottir (New York, NY)
Funded Project: Supra Terram, a large-scale installation in which a cave-like structure intersects a building on two levels, redefining the architecture of the building with its volume. 

Wu Tsang (Los Angeles, CA)
Funded Project: Duilian, a film project exploring the legacy of historical Chinese poet and revolutionary Qui Jin (1875–1907) through a “queer lens,” considering Western and non-Western LGBTQ identity constructions. 

Ivan Velez (Bronx, NY)
Funded Project: THE BALLAD OF WHAM KABAM!, a series of five interconnected comic books that use the tropes and style of the classic superhero genre to tell the story of America’s multicultural history.

About the Selection Process
Creative Capital awardees are selected through an intensive, three-phase application process. In February 2014, Creative Capital issued an open call for Letters of Inquiry and received 3,714 applications—its largest pool to date. Working with more than 100 curators, programmers and other arts professionals from around the country, Creative Capital winnowed the thousands of inquiries down to 819 artists who were invited to submit full proposals. 216 of those proposals moved to the panel review stage, where consultants selected the 46 funded projects.

"We are committed to supporting ambitious new work through an open application process, providing a resource for artists who challenge the field but may not be familiar to larger audiences,” said Lisa Dent, Director of Resources & Award Programs, Creative Capital. “Evaluators are asked to look for risk at every stage by selecting ‘wild cards’—projects that may not have received one of their highest scores but stuck with them as exciting or timely. We were thrilled to see that 18 of the 46 funded projects were marked as ‘wild cards’ at some point during the process.”

The panelists for Moving Image were:
Mike Plante, Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA (Lead Consultant)
Justine Barda, President and Founder, Telescope, Seattle, WA
Kevin Everson, Creative Capital Artist; Associate Professor of Art, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Gil Holland, Independent Producer, Louisville, KY
David Koh, Executive, Submarine Entertainment, New York, NY
Penny Lane, Creative Capital Artist; Assistant Professor of Art & Art History, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature Programming, Tribeca Film Institute, New York, NY 

The panelists for Visual Arts were:
Dean Daderko, Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (Lead Consultant)
Liz Cohen, Creative Capital Artist; Head of Photography, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Miki Garcia, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Greg Kucera, Owner, Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA
Lisa Melandri, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Louis, MO
Ruben Ochoa, Creative Capital Artist, Los Angeles, CA
Nat Trotman, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

More Info:
Browse the 2015 Creative Capital Artists
Read more about the selection process
Download the official press release (PDF) 

Press Inquiries:
Contact Jenny Gill, Director of Communications, [email protected], 212-598-9900 ext. 238.



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