Fail Better – October 2017 newsletter

Dear Friends:

This month’s Thriving Artist Podcast is full of advice to artists on the right ways to work and engage with museums: Seth Hopkins breaks down how “we can make the market bigger so that more artists can make a living” and Catherine Futter shares what artists do right in their careers—as well as how one artist sabotaged their chance for a museum exhibit. Mistakes happen, and this month at CHF, we’ve been talking about failing better—that failure is inevitable, and the way to make it useful is to learn from it.

Man and the Bird Group by Belgin Yucelen

While both Seth and Catherine drive home the importance of relationships in the art world, first-time CHF contributor Antje-Britt Mählmann shares the sentiment in her essay How to Network and Gain Visibility: “networking is our ethical duty,” she writes. In that vein, artists continue to connect and organize, with new Artist Federation provisional chapters formed by artists in North Carolina, California, Colorado, Washington and Idaho,and Italy. In addition to organizing, our CHF Business Accelerator Fellows are showing their work in exhibitions throughout the country. Finally, the Second Annual Art Business Summit is scheduled for April 6-7 in Santa Fe, New Mexico—get your early bird tickets here.

-The CHF Team

Want to contribute to CHF? Donatepitch a story, or tell us who you want to hear in an upcoming podcast episode.

What’s New On The Learning Portal

CHF engages with several museum experts this month, first in this interview with Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs at Nelson-Atkins Museum, and more recently in the podcast episode featuring Seth Hopkins, Executive Director at the Booth Museum of Western Art. We learn about the interplay between museums, artists, and collectors, and explore an exhibit development from inception to completion. Catherine explains why an exhibit can take years to develop and drives home how vital exposure and networking are to landing an exhibition. Seth tells listeners about the museum’s mission to promote living artists, and the ways collectors make buying decisions. Explore the podcast archive, listen to a few shows, and let us know what you learn in the comments.

Antje-Britt Mählmann shares her view in the essay How to Network and Gain Visibility. A curator at Emden Museum in Germany, Antje breaks down how artists and curators begin working together. She writes: “One of my art history professors used to say ‘networking is our ethical duty,’ implying that this was the most constructive thing for us to do as future art historians and curators. If this is true for those specializing in art history, it must be equally true for artists.” Read the essay here.

Browse all interviews and opinion pieces on the Learning Portal, and check out the podcast library on our website

Get Your Business Firing On All Cylinders

Working artists, it’s time to take your business further! The Clark Hulings Foundation for Visual Artists and Arts Business Institute will host this two-day business development seminar. See the schedule, the roster of speakers and interactive workshops on the summit landing page. This is a chance to get an in-person deep dive into the business side of your career practice as a visual artist. Register and book a personalized consultation appointment here.

The Artist Federation, an artist-organized, CHF-sponsored network for artists is off and running, with provisional chapters being formed by artists around the US and Italy. CHF facilitates national/global coordination between chapters, and artists are networking with other artists to get their local/regional chapters off the ground. If you’re a working artist, register (it’s free) at, and if you’re interested in forming a chapter, shout-out in the Forum, or email CHF at

How to Sell More Art

Sell More Art

Sign up (free) for an introductory course for professional artists: Sales Strategies for Growth.

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Jennifer Orbom
With a background in health sciences, Jennifer Orbom has done operations work for political and health organizations, and conducted research in Nicaragua and Hawaii. Returning to academia in 2011, she earned her Master's degree in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Leuven in Belgium. An avid photographer, she grew up in an artists' community and enjoys learning about the business side of the art industry through her work with CHF. She now splits her time between Belgium and the United States.

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