News & Stories

Fall 2012: IdeaFestival, Artist Projects in Process and More

September 19, 2012

What a summer! We are still abuzz from our amazingly successful and inspiring Artist Retreat, held at the end of July at Williams College in Massachusetts. It was incredible to have so many of our artists, friends and supporters join us for this year’s Retreat, and we have already heard that the connections forged are creating new opportunities in our network.

This week, I have the privilege of presenting about Creative Capital with four of our groundbreaking artists at the IdeaFestival in Louisville, KY. You can read more about our presentation below and follow the festival on Twitter at #IF12.

Back in New York, we’re gearing up for the final phase of our 2012 grantmaking process as we work with panelists from around the country to review the finalists for awards in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts. We’ll announce the selected artists in January!

Ruby Lerner

Table of Contents
Creative News: IdeaFestival 2012 + Artist Retreat
Projects in Process: Beatriz da Costa’s The Cost of Life
News from Our Grantees
Mark Your Calendars: Creative Capital Artists, Coast to Coast
Professional Development Program: Real Community Engagement
Arts Writers, Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards and MAP Fund
Contribute to Our Community-Supported Artist Campaign!

 IdeaFestival 2012
This Friday, Ruby Lerner presents “Creative Capital: Art on the Edge” with grantees Liz Cohen, Hasan Elahi, Tahir Hemphill and Sam Van Aken at IdeaFestival in Louisville, KY (September 21, 10:30am, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts). This is our third year presenting on Creative Capital at this convening of global thinkers and innovators, and we’re so excited to be returning with a truly remarkable group of artists. Liz Cohen (2005 Visual Arts) is a photographer and performance artist who is best known for her project Bodywork, in which she transformed an East German Trabant automobile into a Chevy El Camino. Hasan Elahi (2006 Emerging Fields) is an interdisciplinary artist who began the self-surveillance project Tracking Transience in response to being mistakenly listed on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. He presented on Tracking Transience last year at TED Global. Tahir Hemphill (2012 Visual Arts) is a multimedia artist who created The Hip-Hop Word Count, a visualization series of data abstracted from a searchable database of lyrics from over 40,000 Hip Hop songs. Sam Van Aken (2009 Emerging Fields) is an installation and new media artist whose work has most recently taken the form of grafted trees that will bear over 40 different varieties of fruit on a single tree. What a group!

Along with the presentation, these artists, along with SuttonBeresCuller (2008 Visual Arts), will have works featured in a group exhibition organized by artwithoutwalls and the Land of Tomorrow, presented at LOT gallery in Louisville. A new version of SuttonBeresCuller's Trailer Park will also appear in various locations in downtown Louisville, courtesy of artwithoutwalls and LOT.  

2012 Artist Retreat
The Artist Retreat is the centerpiece of our Artist Services for grantees. In July, we convened our most ambitious Retreat to date, bringing together nearly 250 grantees, consultants, board, staff and guests at Williams College for three days of presentations, focus sessions, one-on-one consultations and more. We’re already hearing back from our artists and consultants about the remarkable connections that were forged at the retreat—we’ll keep you posted as these stories develop.

You can read about the Retreat and the artists who presented on Filmmaker Magazine’s blog and Art Fag City, and check out the photos and video interviews on our blog, The Lab.

Beatriz da Costa, The Cost of Life
This summer, Beatriz da Costa (2009 Emerging Fields) was in residence at HIAP in Helsinki, Finland, where she continued work on her Creative Capital-supported project, The Cost of Life, a series addressing the emotional, political and economic costs involved in sustaining life. Da Costa recently completed the first project in the series, a video triptych entitled Dying for the Other, which puts the lives of lab mice used in breast cancer research in dialogue with the artist's cancer treatment and recovery process. Footage was taken over the course of three months in 2011, shortly following da Costa's brain surgery.

The second project component, The Life Garden, is a medicinal anti-cancer demonstration garden consisting of plants, herbs and mushrooms with known anti-cancer properties. Da Costa created and exhibited a small, experimental version of The Life Garden while in residence at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in New York last fall. The project now includes a website providing in-depth references regarding the active ingredients of each plant, as well as growing instructions. Da Costa has also begun production on the final two projects in the Cost of Life series: an installation and cooking workshop entitled The Delicious Apothecary (an outgrowth of The Life Garden) and an Anti-Cancer Survival Kit designed for recently diagnosed patients and their loved ones.

This fall, da Costa will exhibit Dying for the Other in New York at Parsons The New School for Design’s Sheila C. Johnson Design Center in the exhibition Art, Environment, Action!, curated by Radhika Subramaniam (September 28 – December 15). Da Costa and her collaborators will also be in residence at the Center from October 22 – November 2 and will conduct public workshops related to The Delicious Apothecary and The Life Garden

Ten Creative Capital Grantees Featured in 2012 New York Film Festival
We're thrilled to have work by 10 Creative Capital grantees featured in the 50th New York Film Festival (September 28 – October 14), including the premieres of two Creative Capital-supported projects! Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel (2012 Film/Video) will have the U.S. premiere of their experimental documentary Leviathan at the Festival on October 13. Shot in the very waters where Melville’s Pequod gave chase to Moby Dick, Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of man, nature and machine in the commercial fishing industry. Using a dozen cameras—tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker—Castaing-Taylor and Paravel captured jaw-dropping footage of long-haul fishing excursions and wove them into an aesthetic experience that reflects the perspectives of both the fishermen and their catch. In August, Leviathan had its world premiere at Locarno and received a rave review in Indiewire, which praised the film as “masterful” and “breathtaking.” Stay tuned for the theatrical premiere of Leviathan in early 2013!

Michael Robinson (2012 Film/Video) will also premiere the first part of his Creative Capital-supported project, Circle in the Sand, at NYFF on October 5. Set in the near future, during a second American civil war, Circle in the Sand follows a band of exiled political prisoners and their supervising soldiers, living in the ruins of a seaside military fort. Robinson is beginning to develop a second related feature-length narrative, tentatively titled The Road Through the Wall.

Project Premieres Galore!
This summer, we celebrated the Creative Capital premieres of four grantees’ projects! Read more about them on our blog:

Julie Wyman’s STRONG! broadcast premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens (winner of the 2012 Audience Award!)
Cat Mazza’s Knit for Defense in 40 Under 40: Craft Futures at Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery (through February 3)
Mark Shepard’s Sentient City Survival Kit in U.S. Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale (through November 25)
Nancy Davidson’s Dustup at Betty Cuningham Gallery in New York (through October 6)

This summer, Creative Capital artists will mount major presentations of their work on the airwaves and across the country.

Ken Gonzales-Day presents work from Profiled at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (through September 23), LACMA (through October 14) and The Getty Center (through October 14).
Yance Ford’s Strong Island featured in IFP’s Independent Film Week in New York, September 16-20
Matthew Moore presents Lifecycles at Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto, September 29-30
Eric Dyer, Stacey Steers and Chris Sullivan exhibit in Harsh Realities at Rowan University Art Gallery in Glassboro, NJ, through October 6
Taylor Mac presents The Lily's Revenge at A.R.T. in Cambridge, MA, October 12-28
PearlDamour’s How to Build a Forest at Duke University’s Page Auditorium, October 19-21
Robert Karimi's The Cooking Show con Karimi y Comrades premieres at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, October 19 – November 15
Janine Antoni performs with Jill Sigman as part of Celebrate DECADE Gala at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, October 27
Kelly Heaton: The Parallel Series at Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York, through October 27
Erin Cosgrove: In Defense of Ghosts at Angles Gallery in Los Angeles, through October 27
Erika Blumenfeld and Rebecca Solnit in Carbon 13 at Ballroom Marfa, through February 17

Many more Grantee Events can be found on our website!

New Workshop Offering: Real Community Engagement
Our Professional Development Program is gearing up for a busy fall, with more than ten workshops and webinars in the coming months! We’re proud to partner with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville to present one of our newest workshops, Real Community Engagement, on September 29 in Jacksonville, FL. This workshop was designed by PDP staff and long-time Workshop Leader Aaron Landsman specifically for artists working in social and community-based practice. Focusing on issues that arise when artists work with local communities and other stakeholders to create a socially engaged project, Real Community Engagement helps artists gain the tools they need to go out into the world and be more effective agents of change.

In related news, PDP Director Alyson Pou is collaborating with Animating Democracy to organize a panel discussion on the topic of Community Engagement for the annual Grantmakers in the Arts conference (October 16, Miami Beach, FL).

The MAP Fund is currently accepting online Letters of Inquiry for 2013 grants to artists, ensembles, producers and presenters to support new performing arts projects. The submission deadline is October 17. Learn more about how to apply at

In June, the Arts Writers Grant Program received 556 applications for the most recent grant round supporting individual writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art. We look forward to announcing the 2012 grantees in December, and you can browse previous years’ grantees at

This winter, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Panel will meet to determine the 2013 round of Doris Duke Artists. See the new eligibility criteria a

Join Our Community-Supported Artist Campaign!
At this year’s Artist Retreat, we asked the participants to join forces to underwrite one of Creative Capital’s grant awards in the amount of $50,000, through individual contributions at any level. Through the collective generosity of the Retreat attendees, we raised over $100,000—underwriting two grantees as Community-Supported Artists! We are inviting our entire community to be a part of this campaign for our 2012 grantees: Help us create a third CSA award! In return, we’ll offer all our CSA donors the opportunity to vote on which Creative Capital grantee they would like to name as a 2012 Community-Supported Artist. Contribute online today

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