MFA Show 2016 | SUArt Galleries

Rob Enslin

The Syracuse Symposium (TM), whose theme this year is “Networks,” gets underway with a presentation by one of the nation’s premier arts leaders.

Ruby Lerner, president and executive director of Manhattan-based Creative Capital, will discuss “Building a Sustainable Practice” on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 6:30 p.m. in Watson Theatre of the Menschel Media Center. Her lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Syracuse University Humanities Center at 315-443-7192 or visit syracusehumanities.org.

The event is sponsored by Light Work, as well as the School of Art and the Department of Transmedia, both in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“Ruby Lerner exemplifies the broad relevance of networks—specifically, their ability to offer new opportunities for collective action, artistic collaboration and alternative ways of thinking,” says Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center and associate professor of women’s and gender studies. “Her innovative work in cultural philanthropy has virtually re-defined the arts funding model.”

Lerner founded Creative Capital in 1999, largely in response to the National Endowment for the Arts' shrinking support for individual arts. Since then, her organization has committed $35 million in financial and advisory support to 465 projects, representing some 580 artists, while its Professional Development Program has reached nearly 10,000 artists in over 400 communities.

Lerner is expected to discuss her signature four-pronged approach to arts funding: support the project, support the individual, build community and engage the public.

“Creative Capital began as an experiment to see how artists could benefit from the kind of opportunities afforded to entrepreneurs in other sectors,” she says. “Our pioneering system of supporting artists is inspired by the venture capital principles of building a long-term relationship with a project, providing funding at strategic moments and surrounding the project with critical resources, counsel and advisory services.”