Want to Actually Make a Living as an Artist? See Creative Capital

Despite what the New Age books on our shelf seem to suggest, "Living in the now" isn't an entirely healthy mindset. After all, what about next week, or 10, 20, 40 years from now? Then what?

This "live in the moment" credo is engrained in our collective psyche. We see it everywhere, from investors expecting a quick return in the stock market to those of us who demand that raise or promotion (full closure: I'm perfectly content in my current position. Although, since you asked, I guess I wouldn't mind a cube with a window view).

We often see this mindset play out in the field of arts funding. Foundations, quite understandably, cut checks to fund artists who require immediate assistance. Think studio space, equipment, or general operational support. Without this kind of in-the-moment funding, most artists would never get off the ground at all. It's a "necessary good."

But what if there was a foundation that merged the best of both words, providing artists with immediate start-up funding while coupling it with long-term financial assistance? Well, we wouldn't have posed this question if the answer wasn't in the affirmative. The foundation is Creative Capital, and it just awarded $4,370,000 to 46 moving image and visual arts projects.

The dollar amount is certainly impressive. But just wait until you take a closer look at the numbers.  Each artist will receive $50,000 in project funding—which isn't too shabby in its own right—plus a comprehensive suite of career-development services valued at $45,000 per artist. That's a financial commitment of $95,000 per artist. That's huge.

It also represents a seemingly innocuous, but nonetheless important, tweak to Creative Capital's approach. Followers of the foundation understand that the organization is deeply committed to career development. It seeks to create sustainable careers for artists, not just a bunch of exploding supernovas streaking across the art world sky (as cool as that sounds). 

Furthermore, it educates artists about the less-than-glamorous skills that can enable them not only to pay rent but also to set up a comfortable nest egg—things like financial planning, investment basics, and tax strategies.

We recently looked at a Creative Capital initiative that expanded loan funding for the foundation's alumni. What's the key word in that sentence? Yup, alumni. The goodies were only available to artists who ended a relationship with Creative Capital. This new development, however, casts a far wider net by providing advisory service funding to artists who are new to Creative Capital.

To summarize, the class of 2015 awardees not only received $50,000 in project funding, but also $45,000 in advisory services funding. Furthermore, by joining the Creative Capital family, they'll also be qualified for additional alumni loans somewhere down the line.

The only thing that seems to be missing here is a key to the private bathroom. We hear it's amazing.


Creative Capital: Grants for Visual Arts

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