Ruby Lerner

Ruby Lerner Portrait

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 17 years of leadership, Creative Capital designed a comprehensive support system for artists that combined money with advisory support. It committed more than $40 million in financial and advisory support to 511 projects representing 642 artists. This commitment helped grantees leverage nearly $100 million in additional support.

Currently, Ruby is working as an Advisor to the Arts Program at the Open Society Foundations, assisting in the design and implementation of the new international Soros Arts Fellowship. She is also the Arts Advisor to Civic Hall in New York. In 2017, she was the inaugural Senior Policy Advisor to the Herberger Institute at Arizona State University and Innovator-in-Residence at CalArts. Ruby currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Eyebeam and Light Industry, and serves on many Advisory Boards, including New INC at the New Museum, The Feminist Institute, SPACE at Ryder Farm, The Visual Arts Program of the Chautauqua Institute, the Ackland Art Museum and Arts Everywhere at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Kenan Institute at NC School of the Arts, The Center for Arts Activism, and at Creative Capital, among many others.

Prior to Creative Capital, Ruby 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.

In her more than 40 years in the arts, Ruby has written and lectured extensively, including at Harvard Business School (in conjunction with a Harvard Business School case study on Creative Capital) and for the University of North Carolina’s Entrepreneurship Program. She gave the 2016 Purchase College Jandon Business of the Arts Keynote, and has spoken at numerous schools across the nation, including CalArts, RISD, Columbia, Oberlin, The School of the Arts Institute-Chicago, Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, Syracuse University and Arizona State University.

Ruby Lerner was a 30th Anniversary ArtTable Honoree (2011). She is recipient of the Art in General Visionary Award (2016), the John L. Haber Award from the University of North Carolina (2009), the Catalyst Award from the National Association of Artists Organizations (2007), the BAXten Award from the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (2007), a Creative Leadership Award from the Alliance of Artists Communities (2005), the Artist Advocate Award from the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations (2003) and a Special Citation from Artists Space for her support of individual artists (2003). She received Honorary Degrees from both the Maine College of Art and Maryland Institute in 2016 and from Moore College of Art in 2020.

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