Creating Capital for the Creative Class

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“Creative Capital motivates artists to be architects of their own future.Our programmatic blueprint melds financial support with an array of services so that artists can build a solid foundation for success.” –Ruby Lerner

Artists are professionals. Their daily routine may be less rigid than us desk-occupying folk, but their occupation as an artist, takes dedication and a high degree of self worth. Local artist and art critic Cara Ober labored over this issue in a recent piece on Bmore Art:  “Rather than being insulted [when those expect us to work for free],” Ober said. “We need to use these VERY frequent opportunities to explain the tremendous benefits of investing in local art over ‘borrowing’ it and to explain that paying artists for their skills offers numerous and manifold benefits to the local economic ecosystem.”

While this concept will always be troubling as too many Americans fail to see the life-or-death (YES ART IS THAT IMPORTANT) value of art, there are champions for the cause and Ruby Lerner (pictured above) and Creative Capital are at the forefront. Lerner has lead the organization since it’s inception in 1999, helping to support artists who make innovative and adventurous work – which is often socially conscious, crossing platforms and disciplines.

We are lucky enough to have a few  Creative Capital grantees in Baltimore, including current MICA Artist in Residence, Paul Rucker. A talented artist and musician, Rucker combines video components that are often interactive in nature. Rucker is currently exploring the racial inequality of the nation’s prison system. In 2009 he completed a video piece called Proliferation, which was recently used during MICA’s Constitution Day panel featuring former journalist and TV producer/director, David Simon.

Also amongst Creative Capital’s Maryland crop is Matt Porterfield, the independent film director responsible for the brilliant trio of Baltimore films Hamilton, Putty Hill and I Used to Be Darker. The latter, which is out now,  garnered some much-deserved Sundance buzzHere is a list of where you can see it.

For those interested, the Creative Capital grant applications for Film/Video and Visual Arts open up February 3rd, 2014. Head to their website for more info. There are in-person and webinar info sessions throughout November, December, January and February.

We at the Deutsch Foundation continue to support Creative Capital and their desire to provide artists with economic reward for thought provoking work.


Photo courtesy of Philip Montgomery of The Wall Street Journal

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