National nonprofit provides artists with customized business training and support to help them take charge of their careers and make their businesses self-sustaining
Santa Fe, New Mexico – On September 1st, 2018, The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists (CHF) will begin accepting applications for its 2019 Business Accelerator Program, an intensive year-long course of business study for professional working artists. Through this innovative web-based program, currently in its fifth year, the national nonprofit organization is transforming the art industry by providing visual artists with the business training they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and make a complete living through the creation of their art.
A total of 20 Fellows will be selected to receive free tuition for CHF’s 2019 Business Accelerator, which will provide them with customized business training, network-building opportunities, publicity, and one-on-one support to boost their careers and make their art practices self-sustaining. At the end of year one, each Fellow will have established a viable business objective and developed an “investment-grade” business plan for an entrepreneurial project that furthers the objective. A select group of the 2019 Fellows will be chosen to continue on to the program’s second year, during which they will work directly with the Accelerator team to hone their skills, ensure accountability, and capitalize their proposed projects.
With this groundbreaking program, CHF is filling a vacuum that exists in the art industry. Art schools rarely teach business skills, but these are essential if visual artists are to seize lucrative opportunities in a timely manner, and navigate an industry rife with predatory middlemen who foster artists’ dependency by exploiting their insecurities about their business acumen. To thrive economically, artists must fund and operate their businesses, often on a shoestring budget, while creating salable work that still realizes their creative vision.
Visual artists are fully capable of achieving these goals, but they just need access to the right resources and skills. CHF’s comprehensive Business Accelerator Program provides all this and more. Through the program’s monthly workshops, interactive labs, and required assignments, participants obtain practical training that’s actionable in the real world. They learn how to develop a business strategy, hone their brand narrative, be proactive about marketing, find buyers for their art, negotiate contracts, handle copyrights, communicate more effectively, and manage their finances and taxes. Every session is led by a subject-matter expert, and labs include extensive time for Q&A, allowing the Fellows to get feedback on their specific business questions and hear each other’s perspectives.
Fellows also receive free all-inclusive access to CHF’s comprehensive digital learning portal, which delivers business education to artists in formats they already consume—learning videos and tools, expert columns, Q&As with leading figures in the art world, and podcasts that are distributed through iTunes and other syndicated networks.
Although the educational components form the core of the Business Accelerator Program, participants also gain publicity for their work—through CHF’s Thriving Artist™ podcast, social-media accounts, press outreach, and other channels—and, even more importantly, they build a powerful network of allies via their peers in the program. Being a visual artist is often a solitary pursuit, but CHF Accelerator Fellows communicate with each other directly on an ongoing basis through workshop and labs, a closed Facebook group for current and past Fellows, and other one-on-one and small-group interactions.
Beyond training, funding, and personalized support, CHF’s pioneering program also gives artists something that’s more intangible but just as crucial: a new outlook on their businesses, and the confidence that they have both the right and the ability to break out of the boxes in which they’ve been penned. “Those walls exist only to serve the gatekeepers who built them,” says CHF Director Elizabeth Hulings. “We’re here to knock them down so that artists are free to act in their own best interests, individually and collectively.”
September 1 – September 30, 2018. Artists are strongly encouraged to pre-register here, to receive email updates on the application process and deadlines. In addition, pre-registrants will receive free “Colleague”-level access to our digital learning portal.
To be considered for CHF’s Business Accelerator Fellowship, applicants must be professional painters, artists working on paper, and/or sculptors who:
- Employ traditional media (Applicants who use photography, film, and/or video will also be considered, but these may not be the sole media with which they work.)
- Have had their work exhibited and/or published professionally
- Are pursuing specific opportunities or projects for which business support from CHF would make a substantive difference
- Are United States citizens or permanent residents
- Have not previously been awarded a Fellowship or grant from CHF
CHF does not give preference to any particular movement, style, or art-world trend; all painters, sculptors, and artists working on paper are eligible.
The 20 Business Accelerator Fellows will receive:
- Full tuition to CHF’s live 2019 Business Accelerator course, consisting of monthly strategic workshops and labs focused on key issues (e.g., contracts, negotiations, sales, marketing, relationship management, etc.), facilitated by subject-matter experts
- The customized support of CHF’s Business Accelerator team and powerful individual consultations with other experts in the business of art, business growth, and strategy
- Free, all-inclusive access to CHF’s comprehensive digital learning portal
- PR exposure via CHF’s digital media, social/PR channels, and events calendar
- Introductions to industry leaders (e.g., successful artists, gallerists, collectors, curators, etc.), invitations to regional/local events (as available), and referrals to CHF’s stable of vetted professional partners
- Multiple opportunities to collaborate with the other Fellows to advance their careers and shape CHF’s Accelerator for future participants
- Automatic inclusion in The Artist Federation, a self-organized network for professional visual artists
From the main group of 20 Fellows, a select subset will be chosen to move on to year two, during which CHF’s Accelerator team will provide one-on-one support to maximize the impact of what they learned in the first year and help them capitalize their projects.
APPLICATION & SELECTION PROCESS
Artists must apply online. Those who make it past the first round will have their applications considered by CHF’s educational leadership team, which will select 20 Fellows to participate in the program based on the following criteria:
- An artist’s original application
- A demonstrable commitment to actively managing his/her business
CHF’s 2019 Business Accelerator Fellows will be named in November 2018, and the program begins in January 2019.
About The Clark Hulings Fund
The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists (CHF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that champions economic sustainability for working artists. We do this by delivering business education and entrepreneurial learning through our rigorous Business Accelerator, a digital learning portal, in-person education events in local communities, and a federation of artist-formed and artist-led networks of opportunity. All of this work achieves one aim: equip visual artists to thrive as self-sustaining entrepreneurs.