Post image for Highlights from the Creative Capital Retreat: Part Three

Within Creative Capital circles, grantees and staff will sometimes describe themselves as a cult. I’ve always took this as a reference to the unified vision of their community—grantees and staff deeply believe in the importance of the organization and don’t hesitate to share that belief with others. If there are naysayers in this community, they are very quiet.

To be fair, I’m not exactly an outside source myself. As an Arts Writer grantee I am a beneficiary of some of that same funding, so perhaps it’s not a surprise when I say there simply isn’t another granting organization like them. I’ve drunk the koolaide, as they say.

The fact is, though, there isn’t. Creative Capital has given a total of $35 million to 465 projects since their founding in 1999. It’s an impressive sum and only a part of their support. They make sure their artists are given the resources to most effectively manage the money they are given. This comes in the form of workshops, their annual retreat, and a vast network of artists willing to support and collaborate with each other.

I love all this, but my favorite aspect of the organization isn’t only what they do, but who they are. In one of her many talks at the retreat this July, Creative Capital President & Executive Director Ruby Lerner spoke of the importance of keeping the organization weird. The short explanation of what this means is simply that she wants them to continue to fund projects that aren’t beholden to the market. (Lerner has announced her retirement, so the succession planning has begun in earnest.) More specifically, though, it means supporting artists who bring a point of view to the table, who aren’t afraid to fail, and who pursue excellence in whatever field they work in. These are the artists who exemplify the creative spirit. Their work must be supported.

In my previous two posts summing up highlights from the Creative Capital retreat, I’ve tried to highlight presentations by artists who I felt exemplified those qualities. (They can be read here and here). In my last post on this year’s retreat, I highlight three more. Here goes.

Post image for If a Tree Falls in the Forest and There’s No New York Art Critic to Review it, No One Cares

I like looking. It’s why I write at Art F City, and why, every summer, I chose to vacation in the wilderness. I don’t want to stop looking, but I need a break from the rest of the job.

Spending a bunch of time on a trail makes that easy. This year, I spent part of my vacation at Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. One of the best qualities of visiting a national park: admission doesn’t come with a press release telling you what to think about your experience and why it’s important to humanity. Nobody expects visitors to theorize their experience in the woods or even reflect on it. The job is just to enjoy it. (Which I did.)

More after the jump.

This week, we return to our NSFW GIF of the Hump Day series with a bang.

Tumblr content usually falls into one of several categories: net art, pop-culture meme GIFs, niche porn, or conspiracy theories. Thankfully, Tumblr user/artist PEEKASSO has merged all of the above into one glorious online practice. Homer Simpson navigating a world of scantily-clad women sent to distract internet users from the Illuminati/CIA’s real agenda? Naturally.

Check out some of our favorite examples, after the jump.

Post image for Updated: City Councilmen Holdup Bill to Save the City’s Artists and Small Businesses

What is it going to take to get city politicians to start doing the right thing? It costs a small fortune to live in this city and when bills are introduced that would help give a leg up to artists, there isn’t enough support to get them off the ground.

Case and point: The Small Business Jobs Survival Act. This is a bill that will help commercial tenants facing displacement from rising rents—including artists’ studios and small businesses—and it currently has only 23 of the 26 votes it needs to pass.

The bill would require commercial landlords to offer ten-year leases to all existing tenants who’ve paid their rent on time. If the two sides can’t agree on terms, they go to arbitration. Currently a landlord doesn’t have to renew a tenant’s lease, can kick the tenant out whenever it suits them, raise their rent exorbitantly, and the tenant has no means of contesting the decision.