In “Meet Suzy Delvalle: The Woman Turning Artists’ Visions into Realities as President & Executive Director of Creative Capital in New York City,” Nora Gomez-Strauss (The Fold) examines the professional trajectory of the NYC-based banker-turned-supporter-of-the-arts, who is originally from Curaçao: founder of Creative Capital, Suzy Delvalle. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Gomez-Strauss writes:
If laughter was truly contagious, Suzy Delvalle’s would spread pretty quickly. While some people have a signature hairstyle or fashion flair, Suzy’s trademark is her joyful laughter. And she has plenty to be joyful about. Over the course of her career, she has gone from a start in banking in her native Curaçao to leadership roles at institutions like El Museo del Barrio and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, establishing invaluable institutional momentum creating strong programs and relationships along the way. Currently serving as the President & Executive Director of Creative Capital in New York City, Suzy works toward making artists’ visions into realities. Heading into its 20th year, Creative Capital faces the challenge of functioning as an organization, sans storefront, that focuses on the artistic process rather than product, while hoping to reach a wider audience. However, its focus on process is also what makes it unlike most arts nonprofits; it is uniquely focused on artists’ needs and visions.
With the above in mind, it is no surprise that when Creative Capital was looking for the second director in its history, they looked to Suzy. She lives and breathes creativity and is dedicated to pushing artistic practices to their fullest. Suzy is its accomplished leader – and cheerleader – not only for Creative Capital, but also for women of color working in the field. She gives credit to those who came before her and like the numerous powerful women she names as mentors and examples, Suzy herself is likely to be on a similar list for others.
Creative Capital was founded in the wake of the culture wars of the late ‘90s when the NEA could no longer support individual artists. To address this funding gap, Creative Capital developed a rather disruptive, non-traditional arts philanthropy model, enforced with a fierce commitment to freedom of expression. In the last 19 years, the organization has committed $40 million to 511 projects supporting 642 artists—offering artists not just monetary support, but professional guidance and a network of connections to help them complete their most ambitious visions. Since I joined Creative Capital in 2016, I’ve seen again and again that, while the artists need funding, ultimately, the community and advisory services we offer them prove to be more transformative. [. . .]
I started out in banking back home in Curaçao, but have always been passionate about the arts. I decided to move to New York City, the cultural capital of the world, and make a career move. As someone who made that jump, I have realized that so many opportunities in the art world, especially for people of color, are often only possible thanks to the tireless work of other trailblazers who generously offer mentorship and guidance. I learned so much from the very best role models, like Susana Torruella Leval, Lowery Stokes Sims, Thelma Golden, and so many more brilliant leaders. Our work is never accomplished in a vacuum: we depend on the generosity and insights of others to help us on our way, just as future leaders will depend on us. As Executive Director of Creative Capital, I am keenly aware of the platform I now have and the responsibility to pay it forward. [. . .]