Our Little Secret – May 2017 newsletter

Dear Friends:

We are five months into our 2017 Business Accelerator, and it just got tough (or tougher, depending on whose opinion you solicit). Our Fellows are now crafting their Investment-Grade Proposals. This is a tough task. To forge a crisp, clear plan, one must distill an idea down to its essence while cramming in as much substance as possible (what, why, when, how) and transmitting the passion that led to the goal (and thus the creation of the plan). This is a recipe for exhaustion, so I’m pleased to report that many of our Fellows are tackling it with aplomb and really getting down to the nitty gritty. Others are still swimming to the surface, but they are making great headway. I am inspired to witness it.

Here’s the truth about planning: no matter what you do, who you are, or what you’re trying to achieve, clarity and determination together are your keys to success. Neither one on its own will get you all the way to your destination. Without the latter, you will give up. Without the former, you will get lost. A solid plan engenders both.

CHF’s Business Accelerator is for visual artists, but these concepts are universal. We’ve been using them ourselves to build this organization. We have clarity, we are determined, and we have a rock solid plan to reach our next set of goals. How quickly we get there depends on you.

Elizabeth Hulings signature



Elizabeth Hulings
Director, The Clark Hulings Foundation

What’s New on The Thriving Artist Podcast

Dean Mitchell
Dean Mitchell

This month’s podcast guests dove deeply into some of our favorite topics: the changing role of galleries, the evolution of the market, and strategies for standing out as an artist. Renowned painter Dean Mitchell described his path to success, including his realization that an unpopular medium could work in his favor. Mary Ann Weems shared knowledge she’s gleaned from more than 30 years in the gallery business, pointing out what artists do right, as well as what many  of them tend to get wrong. Art-business consultant and author Maria Brophy encouraged artists to see themselves as business owners, emphasizing profitability as a top priority.

To learn more about the business of art, check out The Thriving Artist Podcast on our website, Stitcher or iTunes. And to help us reach a wider audience, please rate and review each episode after listening

Dear Working Artists: You’ve Got A Plan—Now Stick With It

A creative career requires more than talent; it has to be accompanied by a strong business plan, but even the most determined individuals will find it daunting to juggle both of these facets at once. In his Letter to a Working Artist, CHF Educational Director Daniel DiGriz provides encouragement for those moments when it’s all too easy to get bogged down or frustrated along the path less taken. While most artists just want to make art, the business side of things can be incredibly satisfying and even (dare we say it?) fun.

And in his Q&A with our Fellows, Daniel doles out a little bit of tough love, as he covers a range of issues, from the value of press clips to the importance of maintaining regular contact with your supporters (e.g., funders, collectors, etc.). It’s about translating attention into investment, over the short and long term.

Read Daniel’s letter and Q&A 

Crucifixion of St Peter by Caravaggio

Avoiding Reality, One Formula at a Time

In the 17th century, artists played it safe,  following the prescriptions of the day, which dictated the avoidance of discomfort and the denial of human imperfections. In her latest Director’s View column, Elizabeth Hulings points to Caravaggio as an example of an artist who eschewed these edicts, with varying degrees of success. Artistically, he was unequaled in his time, but he drove himself so hard that he died at 36. The story of his work and life serves as a cautionary tale, one that argues for  balance between one’s dedication to a creative vision and the commitment to self.

Read Elizabeth’s full column here.


Spotlight On…

Briefly Transcendent by Kristen Brown

CHF Fellow & Event Title: Aaron Laux, Water’s Pathway
Location: Alfons Gallery (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Dates: June 11 – August 6, 2017
Description: An exhibit inspired by water

CHF Fellow & Event Title: Ghost of a Dream, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now
Location: Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, Tennessee)
Dates: May 26 – September 10, 2017
Description: A traveling exhibition of American artists

CHF Fellow & Event Title: Donna Lee Nyzio, Plein Air Painters
Location: Mystic Seaport (Mystic, Connecticut)
Dates: June 19 – June 24, 2017
Description: An art fair featuring pieces by painters who work en plein air

CHF Fellow & Event Title: Kristen Brown, Magical Realism: Allegory, Dreams, & Myth
Location: Arts Benicia (Benicia, California)
Dates: July 3 – July 9, 2017
Description: A group show with artwork on the theme of magical realism

Permanent Installation: Aaron Laux’s work Twins is on permanent display in Essentia Health-Sandstone hospital in Minnesota. Aaron designed the piece for the atrium entryway and employs LED lighting, textured glass mosaic, wood, and bark mosaic.

Good Morning On the Water by Donna Lee Nyzio
Good Morning On the Water by Donna Lee Nyzio

To see all currently active shows featuring members of the CHF family, please visit our events calendar.

Artists Only!: Connect – Develop – Thrive on June 20th

Join Windows to the Divine and CHF for our intensive half-day business-development forum in Denver, Colorado, on June 20, 2017. Designed exclusively for visual artists, this event will show you how to engage and build an audience, increase your marketing reach, and transform the industry by creating a powerful network of peers.

For more information and to register, visit our website.

Want to keep seeing great art in the world?

Help hardworking artists run successful businesses by supporting CHF’s educational programs today.

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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