Not only does CHF help artists develop potent sales strategies, but now we are actually selling some of their pieces ourselves. On August 20th, we kicked off our first-ever group show, featuring works by all 12 of our 2018 Art-Business Accelerator Fellows. The opening reception was held at a private residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but the show’s ongoing home is virtual, which means that the art can be viewed and purchased online, on CHF’s Artwork Archive webpage. In addition, we will be adding more pieces created by the current class of Fellows, as well as collections featuring works submitted by all of our Accelerator applicants, by cycle.
One piece in this inaugural exhibition—Autumn Bright, an ink and watercolor by Fellow Paula Ensign—has already been purchased. Since our entire mission is to support artists as they support themselves, all sales from the show are direct between artist and collector, with a full 80% of the proceeds going straight to the artist. “We walk our talk,” says CHF Director Elizabeth Hulings.
Five of our Fellows joined us in Santa Fe for the opening. Two are based in New Mexico (Willy Richardson in Santa Fe, and Juliana Coles in Albuquerque), but the other three traveled from considerably farther afield to be there (Nadia Fairlamb from Hawaii, Bethany Taylor from Washington State, and Aaron Laux from Wisconsin). Together with Hulings and our host, they set up the exhibition, hanging and displaying their art in every room of the house.
Once the prep work was over, the Fellows finally had a chance to talk shop and socialize—a rare opportunity, given the physical distance that usually separates them. “I was surprised at how close we all felt during our first meeting,” says Fairlamb, “but we’ve been working together for nearly two years, so everyone felt like family very quickly. I loved spending time with each of them, separately and together. And being around Elizabeth was inspiring.”
Similarly, geography did not impede a different kind of collaboration between the Hawaii-based Fairlamb and Fellow Blake Conroy, who lives in Maryland. Across the miles, these two artists created a work they named Hapa, a nod to the Hawaiian word for “half,” usually used to refer to a child born to parents from different cultural and racial backgrounds. The finished piece combines the cut-metal artistry that is Conroy’s signature with the beautifully fluid wooden forms that Fairlamb uses in her mirror frames.
Hapa is a work of art that would never have come to be, were it not for CHF, and that makes it a potent symbol. “This show, and really everything we do here at CHF, is about art’s ability to break us out of our pigeonholes, to envision our individual and collective potential, and discover the common denominators we all share,” says Hulings. “It’s an important milestone for us, and we look forward to doing much more of this in the future.”