Orange Alert

Arts Leader Ruby Lerner Kicks Off Syracuse Symposium™ Sept. 10

Lerner to explore role of ‘Networks’ in cultural philanthropy

Sept. 1, 2015, by Rob Enslin

Ruby Lerner
Ruby Lerner
The Syracuse SymposiumTM, 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 (316 Waverly Ave.). Her lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Syracuse University Humanities Center at 315-443-7192 or visit

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.

Syracuse SymposiumTM is organized and presented by the Syracuse University Humanities Center, based in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“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 & 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.”

The Syracuse University Humanities Center, founded in 2008, fosters public engagement in the humanities, and is home to the Syracuse Symposium™, the Central New York Humanities Corridor, the Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship, the Mellon Visiting Collaborator, the HC Mini-Seminar and Symposium Seminar series, the Perpetual Peace Project, and other annual research initiatives, annual fellowships, and public programming.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin