America 2016: Evaluating System Breakdowns
As the nation veers into an unprecedented national election, the systemic failures of America are on constant display. This panel invites a range of cultural professionals to discuss how their current projects and thinking are responding to today’s crises of economic, racial, and social justice. How can producing and funding organizations effectively collaborate with artists to induce change?
Participants: Melanie Joseph (Founder & Artistic Producer, The Foundry Theatre), Ruby Lerner (Founding Director, Creative Capital, Retired), and Carl Hancock Rux (Poet, Playwright & Recording Artist).
Moderated by Tom Sellar
Ruby Lerner is the founding Executive Director of Creative Capital, an innovative arts foundation that adapts venture capital concepts to support individual artists. Under her leadership, Creative Capital committed $40 million in financial and advisory support to 511 projects representing 642 artists. She stepped down from the organization in June 2016 to pursue consulting work and independent research.
Prior to Creative Capital, Ruby Lerner served as the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) and as Publisher of the highly regarded Independent Film and Video Monthly. Having worked regionally in both the performing arts and independent media fields, she served as the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a coalition of Southeastern performing artists, and IMAGE Film/Video Center, both based in Atlanta. In the late 1970s, she was the Audience Development Director at the Manhattan Theatre Club, one of New York’s foremost nonprofit theaters.
In May 2016, Lerner was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Maine College of Art. Beginning in January 2017, Lerner will be the inaugural Herberger Institute Policy Fellow at Arizona State University and Senior Advisor to the Patty Disney Center for Life and Work at CalArts.
Melanie Joseph is a theatre maker and founding Artistic Producer of The Foundry Theatre. For her work with The Foundry, Joseph has twice been honored with the Ross Wetzsteon OBIE for “creating cutting edge work and engaging artists in some of the thorniest issues of the world we inhabit.” She is a recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Prize, the Skirball Kennis T.I.M.E. Artist prize, a Lucille Lortel Lortel Award for Artistic Producing, and has twice been awarded the Duke/ Mellon Mentorship grant for mentoring “theatre leaders of tomorrow.” Joseph holds a BA in Literature from the University of Western Ontario and a post-baccalaureate degree in Pre-Medicine from the City University of New York.
Carl Hancock Rux
Carl Hancock Rux is an award winning playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, performer, theater director and recording artist. He is the author of several publications including “Pagan Operetta” (poetry), Asphalt (novel)and the OBIE award winning play Talk; as well as director of the Bessie Schonberg (New York Dance and Performance Awards, informally known as the Bessie Awards) award winning music theater work Stained by Lisa Jones and Alva Rogers. His archives are housed at the Billy Rose Theater Division of theNew York Public Library, the Archives of American Art,Smithsonian Institution as well as the Film and Video/Theater and Dance Library of the California Institute of the Arts. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Doris Duke Awards for New Works, the Doris Duke Charitable Fund, the New York Foundation for the Arts Prize and the Alpert Award in the Arts