Arts and Culture

In today’s world, artists not only need to hone their craft — they have to consider all the various factors that go into making a living: marketing, sales, cash flow, even retirement planning.

But those practical concerns aren’t something you learn in art school.

So when the New York-based Creative Capital offers grants to deserving artists, it brings along a full range of support services to help artists to think of themselves as small-business owners.

“It was decided that rather than be just a plain foundation, giving out fellowships, that Creative Capital would be a little more adventurous, that it would adapt approaches from the venture capital world,” said Ruby Lerner, the company’s president and executive director.

Lerner is bringing four artists whose work is supported by Creative Capital to IdeaFestival for a session next month called “Art @ the Edge.” Each of these artists is pushing the envelope in some way: using technology to create their work, commenting on current events or historical wrongs, or looking for a practical way to help those in need.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/224810252″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Kelly Heaton

A graduate of MIT, Heaton is known for using technology in her work; previous projects have included a wall of chattering Furbys and a coat made of “skinned” Tickle Me Elmo dolls. Her current show, “Pollination,” focuses on colony collapse disorder among bees.

“It’s whimsical, it’s serious. It’s a really interesting show,” said Lerner.

Miwa Matreyek

Los-Angeles based Matreyek is a performer who works with animation and video projections. She often creates shadows with her own body against projected animations that she has designed to tell a multimedia story.

“Her work is very lyrical, very poetic,” Lerner said.

Ken Gonzales-Day

Also based in Los Angeles, Gonzales-Day is a photographer who uses the tools of his craft to tell stories about what we can no longer see. His project, “Hang Trees,” is a series of billboards that was installed throughout the Los Angeles area, depicting trees that had been used for lynchings, mostly of Hispanics, in California.

“They’re just stunningly beautiful. They almost glisten — they’re just gorgeous. And then you find out that they were lynching trees,” said Lerner.

Andy Kropa

Another multimedia artist, Kropa’s most recent project is a wearable device, based on an iPhone, to be used by people in the early stages of memory loss.

“It’s a device that can be constantly recording the activities of the person who is wearing it, so that, for instance a caregiver can actually play back what this person has been doing,” Lerner said.

“Art @ the Edge,” featuring Ruby Lerner and all four artists, is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 1 at the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater.

More information is here.

(Featured image: Detail from “The Beekeeper” by Kelly Heaton.)

Tara Anderson is the host and producer of Five Things, a podcast about the objects that tell our stories.