Creative Capital Names Susan Delvalle as New President and Executive Director

by Paddy Johnson on May 10, 2016 Newswire

Suzy Delvalle

Full disclosure: I won the Arts Writers Grant in 2008. Creative Capital administers the Arts Writers Grant Program.

Arts funding giant, Creative Capital, has a new President and Executive Director. Following a nationwide search, the Creative Capital board chose Susan Delvalle to succeed Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital’s founder and current President and Executive Director. Delvalle will start June 1st and becoming the organization’s second president in its 18 year history.

This is a big deal. Since the organization’s founding in 1999, Creative Capital has committed 40 million in arts funding and professional support. Now firmly ensconced as an institution, Delvalle enters the organization at the next stage of its growth. It will be her job to guide the organization as it moves forward.

To do this, she brings with her no shortage of career accolades and experience. Most recently she oversaw the opening of the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling in New York, and previously she worked as the Director of External Affairs and Development at El Museo Del Barrio. She was at Del Barrio for over eleven-years.

Arguably more important than her experience, though, may be her effervescent personality, and sharp wit and intelligence. Very few leaders could follow Lerner, whose personality and drive defined the organization for 18 years. Delvalle, a personality of similar force, has been deemed to be one of those few.

And it’s not hard to see why. When asked what her plans were for the first year, Delvalle told AFC she wanted to take enough time to really understand the foundation.  “‘I’m not coming in with my own agenda” she said. “I think it’s something we should all be talking about—everybody from staff, board, donors, the consultants the advisors to more importantly the family of artists that Creative Capital has taken such good care of.”

All that talking and assessing is slated to take about a year and a half. The organization runs on a seven year granting schedule with a scheduled break in 2017. They award grants again in 2018, leaving about a year and a half for Delvalle to get settled in. “It’s a perfect time for us to think about what our next steps should be,” Delvalle told me. “How has the sector changed? How have the needs of our artists changed?”

Delvalle speaks quickly, exuding a kind of energy in a way that is at times, uncannily similar to Lerner.  “I am personally so excited!” Ruby Lerner beamed over the phone when I asked her to tell me about Delvalle. “The board worked really long and hard to get it right and I think they did. This is a person who’s going to carry forward and bring new ideas to the table.”

Devalle, for her part, seemed equally thrilled. “It’s very exciting.” she told me, nearly bursting with energy as she spilled out the words. “Ultimately, everything that Creative Capital does, it’s all about artists and their practice. And when we talk about success, we’re talking about defining success for individual artists and helping them achieve the success. That’s really, for me, why I got into it—working for and with artists.”

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