Avoiding the Curse of the One-Hit Wonder: Creative Capital's Expanding Loan Fund for Alumni

There are many examples of "one-hit wonders" in pop music, but the term can apply to other fields of art as well. Too often an artist, filmmaker, or writer stuns his or her respective community with a flash of brilliance, only to disappear just as quickly. And one of the biggest reasons for this scenario is a lack of financial support or, more specifically, of personal financial acumen to keep themselves afloat. Now, thanks to a major gift from the estate of photographer Theo Westenberger, Creative Capital is expanding its Loan Fund for Alumni Artists to potentially benefit a much larger pool of alumni. (See Creative Capital: Grants for the Arts.)

This problem, of course, isn't new. Everyone from professional athletes to mega rock stars may wake up one day only to find themselves flat broke. The difference between such professionals and entrepreneurial artists, however, is that athletes and rock stars have relatively easy access to financial planning experts should they seek them out. It's a bit more difficult for independent artists, filmmakers, and writers, especially if they're trying to build a sustainable financial footing for the long-term.

This is why Creative Capital is expanding its program for alumni. (Read Creative Capital Executive Director Ruby Lerner's IP profile.) Here's how it works: Once you receive a grant from Creative Capital, you're part of the family for life (joining its "alumni"). And Creative Capital goes to great lengths to see that its relationships with grantees extend beyond the end date of the grant. For example, since 2011 it has been providing low-interest loans to alumni thanks to funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Here are three specific reasons why this development is good news:

  • While some restrictions on loans had been in place, now Creative Capital's low-interest loans are available to alumni from all disciplines.
  • The loan can be used for projects unrelated to the original Creative Capital grant.
  • The expanded program also offers alumni a financial planning clinic so they can learn important lessons in the areas of cash flow, investing, and tax strategies.

The main qualifier here is that you need to be a Creative Capital alumni. If you are a Creative Capital grantee and have completed your relationship with the organization, we encourage you to contact its Artist Services staff for more information. And if you're not a grantee and are looking for another reason to pursue funding from Creative Capital, you have a very powerful one with its expanding loan fund for alumni.