The CreateWell Fund invests in the belief that art is a critical human need through its award-making initiative to individual BIPoC artists from racially, socially, and economically oppressed communities. We envision a society that values the benefits and power of art so that all people have access to arts education, participation, and production.
Founded in 2016, the CreateWell Fund was the first advocacy and gift-making initiative in the Greater Boston area to support BIPoC artists in their authentic art-making and in the care of their well-being. In its inaugural award program, in 2016, the CreateWell Fund awarded $20,000 in cash gifts to four BIPoC individual artists whose artwork spans a spectrum of mediums and genres and whose health and wellness needs ranged from operation recovery to preventative care. Since then, the CreateWell Fund has awarded over $140K to 18 BIPoC artists in the Boston metro region.
An Intentional Design Model
Funding opportunities available in the U.S. to support the creative practices of individual artists are sparse. Living in a capital-driven society, we are immersed in social and cultural norms that place value on industriousness above our basic existence and wellness; these systems enforce and corroborate beliefs that prioritize the value of profitability over creative and artistic potential, authenticity, risk, and diversity of expression.
Unlike philanthropic foundations, we are not a 501(c)3 with a conventional hierarchical leadership model. CreateWell Fund in its founding and operational design decided to optimize the monetary and human resources dedicated to its artist constituency to better reach and benefit (monetarily) a more inclusive spectrum of underfunded and overlooked practitioners through its gifting model.
award programThe CreateWell Fund Award Program is grounded in the desire to support people, creative processes, and authenticity. Our intention is not only geared towards the final product but also nurturing the growth, learning, and creativity of the people involved. We are invested in resourcing work that our awardees would produce if they did not have to consider commercial viability or funder restrictions.
Each year, CWF has engaged in a process of intentional peer review in partnership with artists and creatives in the Boston Metro area. In 2019, the award program was expanded from a one year program to two years as a means to deepen engagement, commit more time to building relationships, reduce barriers to access for working artists/artists that work, and allow more time to create a sustained wellness practice.
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coL-labThe col-LAB is an extension of the award program which offers micro-awards to a cohort of alumni. col-LAB works to create programming built around seminars and workshops that facilitate a non-hierarchical learning space. It is a space for consideration, relationship building, and reflection. The design of col-LAB is informed by and changes with the goals and interests of its members. Additionally, the group is involved in the continual evolution of the CWF’s programs.
Safety & Crisis FundWe understand that there are varied articulations of safety, economic, social, and health crises that occur year-round. In March 2020, CreateWell established a Safety & Crises Mutual Aid Fund for awardees and alumni who are facing personal crises. This fund was in development before COVID-19, but we prioritized initiating the fund due to the state of emergency the pandemic caused.
The Safety and Crisis Mutual Aid Fund is not a long-term or sustainable solution to the myriad of crises our community regularly faces within our racially, socially, and economically inequitable society, but a vehicle through which we enact our values of care.
co-tending designersThe CreateWell Fund’s programming is shaped by BIPOC artists for BIPOC artists. We, the Co-Tending Designers Collaborative, are united by a desire to organize around community, access, and wellness. The current Co-Tending Designers have come together to focus on engaging in horizontal leadership within the CreateWell community, with the vested interest in changing societal views on the value and purpose of the arts and artists, as well as imagining more equitable and accessible art funding practices.
The Co-Tending Designers Collaborative is a social practice award program for individual creatives whose practices are centered in the desire to organize around community, access, and wellness for BIPoC artists. The award is designed with the intention of enabling Co-Tending Designers with time and attention to center in their individual healing, the care of their needs, and the development of their practice within and outside of the CreateWell Fund community.
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gifts & redistribution modelThe CreateWell Award Program, The Co-Tending Designers Award Program, Safety and Crisis Fund, and col-LAB micro-awards are administered as non-taxable gifts to recipients. The CreateWell award is administered as a gift through the CreateWell Fund, LLC. According to gift tax law, the “donee” (or, in this case, “awardee”) does not have to pay taxes on any amount of gifts. The “donor” (in this case, CreateWell Fund, LLC) is solely responsible for filing any gift tax returns if the gift exceeds the annual exclusion amounts.* The awardee does not have to file a gift tax return nor pay taxes on this gift (aka “award”), no matter the amount of the award.
While The CreateWell Fund gifts award with thoughtful intentionality, all gifts are ultimately up to awardees to use at their own discretion. Our programs provide opportunities to engage in relationship-building, to share about processes and projects, engage in participatory and collaborative processes, participate in events, etc, but the response to these opportunities and invitations have no impact on awardees’ receipt of full awards or general support.
In place of allocating human and fiscal resources toward compliance with the requirements of a 501(c)3 structure and relying on traditional donation pathways, CreateWell Fund focuses on building relationships with donors who are content to redistribute wealth to CreateWell without receiving the benefits of tax deduction.
Please note that this information is provided for awardees’ benefit, however, it does not serve as official tax advice. Please consult a tax expert or read up on the most recent gift tax laws, as tax laws are subject to change every year.
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