Showing posts with label Elizabeth Hulings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elizabeth Hulings. Show all posts

19 October 2019

Art-Business Conference in Fredericksburg, VA, Nov.7-9, 2019

Photograph by Dawn Whitmore
Artists Speak covered a prior Clark Hulings Fund Art-Business Conference in our region back in January 2019. The conference, meant to give artists the entrepreneurial skills they need to succeed in their art business, returns this November in Fredericksburg, VA in partnership with the University of Mary Washington. Unlike the event held in Rockville last March, this conference is three days long, and the first day, which is free, will be held at the Belmont Estate, once the home and studio of American painter Gari Melchers. Shem Cohen will be leading the discussions of the first day, which will be focused on the dynamics of the current art market and how local communities can reshape them in order to suit their own purposes and structures and thrive. According to Cohen, president of Change Events Inc., the arts make up 3 percent of Virginia's GDP, or 17 billion dollars in revenue annually. The events of Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 will be led by Elizabeth Hulings, director, Carolyn Edlund, sales director, and Daniel DiGriz, education director, on the University of Mary Washington Stafford Campus and will feature interactive sessions and presentations on how artists can hone their business skills to appeal to a wider audience. Tickets are on sale here.

Artists Speak interviewed the organizers of the event as well as one of the local artists supporting them.

Questions for Organizers

Why did you choose the University of Mary Washington as your venue?

The Stafford County Virginia Department of Economic Development and Tourism is a major sponsor of our conference. UMW’s Stafford campus is a venue for adult and continuing education, and thus is a perfect venue for our professional development training. Their continuing studies director expressed great interest in bringing our program to UMW and subsequently shared it with faculty and students in their fine arts and art history departments. Our business training for artists is a good fit for undergrads who are seriously considering an art career, as well as older artists. Our audience ranges from artists who are just entering the market to mid-career artists who have experience and are looking to grow and increase exposure and sales.

How did your January 2019 DC-area conference turn out? Is there anything different about this event than in your previous one?

Our DC conference was well attended and received. We have an enormous amount of support from the arts community in the capital area, from nonprofit partners to educators, and our attendees benefited from that. The Virginia Art-Business Conference will have a similar focus which is grounded in foundational business principles, with specific strategies for visual artists. Our mission is to provide practical and specialized knowledge that supports artists who want to build sustainable small businesses. We know that this training moves the needle for serious artist-entrepreneurs; in fact, we recently released a groundbreaking study that looks at the impact of business education.

This conference has a one-day Thriving Art Exchange taking place at the Belmont Estate on Thursday, November 7th. This is a highly interactive event that addresses the local art ecosystem and a discussion of ways to move the regional art economy forward. It is free to attend and open to artists, arts administrators, gallerists, collectors, economic development and tourism staff, and others who have a stake in the success of the arts in the Rappahannock region. 

Questions for the Dawn Whitmore, participating artist

Why are you participating in this event?

As a professional barnscape photographer, I see and understand the importance of attending events that meet the criteria of growing both my business and business knowledge. The Clark Hulings VA Art Business Conference fits both of these criteria. I have personally sat under Carolyn Edlund’s teaching twice in another setting and the information shared transformed my business outlook. I am looking forward to the information which will be shared at the upcoming November conference. 

What is your role in the conference and why do you support the Clark Hulings Fund?

My role is one of the ‘feet-on-the-ground’ people in the Fredericksburg region. Sue Henderson and I have been sharing the upcoming conference through a radio interview, visiting and discussing the event at both First Friday and Second Friday in our region, and talking to as many galleries in the area. I support the Clark Hulings Fund because of the work and the heart they have for artists and the communities where they live. 

25 January 2019

Art-Business Conference at Artists and Makers in Rockville, March 23-24, 2019

The Clark Hulings Fund (CHF) for Visual Artists is organizing its 5th art-business conference in collaboration with Artists and Makers Studios in Rockville, MD this upcoming March. The two-day conference, aimed at equipping visual artists of all kinds with the skills to market and sell their work in a highly digital marketplace, will be led by the founder of the Clark Hulings foundation, Elizabeth Hulings, as well as Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark and foundation sales director, and finally Daniel DiGriz, the foundation's marketing director, and a corporate writer for Forbes and consultant. There will also be a roundtable discussion with artists Blake Conroy, Donna Lee Nyzio and Kristin LeVier, past participants in CHF's Art-Business Accelerator program, a virtual educational program that consists of "broad strategic workshops and labs delivered by remote technology (a laptop or desktop computer is required!), and provides participants with practical knowledge that’s actionable in the real world, including information about how to develop a business strategy, build a compelling brand narrative, find buyers for their art, negotiate contracts, handle copyrights, communicate more effectively, and manage their finances and taxes."

Participation in the DC-area conference in March (which is currently selling tickets at an Early Bird rate) will teach artists how to compile a cohesive portfolio with a signature style, develop a brand story that goes beyond the artist's bio and resume, multiply revenue streams to increase sales, price for profit and work with galleries, and sell art online, among others.

Artists Speak interviewed Elizabeth Hulings, daughter of artist Clark Hulings and CHF founder, about the event in order to find out who would benefit from participation in this conference and how past efforts at forming the entrepreneur in every artist have fared.

1. What kind of artist would benefit from participation in your conference?

Visual artists of all types and in all mediums would benefit highly from our art-business conferences. Artists who are really looking to improve their business skills would benefit the most from coming to the conference.

2. Have you held this conference before? If so what were the results? If not, where did the idea for it come from and why did you partner with Artists and Makers?

We have held this conference in Santa Fe twice now, in Dallas last fall, and by the time we get to DC, we’ll have held the event in Fort Lauderdale in early February. We’ve seen amazing results. For our Santa Fe event last year, we did some “before and after” surveying and found the following impacts:

20% increase in artist commitment to the business side of their careers
22% increase in artists willing to commit between 25-50% of their time to develop their art business
20% decrease in perceived dependence on gallerists, agents, or sales reps for sales, marketing, and brand management
20% increase in clarity of actions needed to achieve current career objective
54% of artists in post-event 1:1 interviews indicate CHF events provided valuable incentives to take action, set goals, and/or overcome procrastination.

3. You say the art market has changed. Could you elaborate on that? In what ways? What should artists be most aware of?

Technology and the gig economy are creating tremendous opportunities for artists to leverage their natural advantages. With new technology, artists can reach their audience directly, track and share their art virtually, handle business issues more easily themselves, and/or find experienced helpers and supervise them. Another advantage of new technology is that it’s new to all users, so everyone is learning how to manage it. In terms of the gig economy, artists have a strong advantage as it’s already their natural business model, and targeted help is within reach; artists have the ability to barter and share, and most importantly, they are well ahead of the curve working in this style. Honestly, artists were made for this environment! They’re risk-takers, creative, resourceful, and great communicators. The new environment is a fantastic opportunity for artists to blaze their own career paths, unbeholden to the gatekeepers who might have held them back in less connected times.

4. Are there geographical areas in the US where artists are currently more successful? To what would you attribute this difference?

Artists can be successful anywhere - rural, suburban, and urban settings, all over the U.S. and all over the world. The real determinants of success are the following:
1) Are they willing to put in the time on the business side to be successful, and
2) Do they have a community of peers (which can be online) to bounce ideas off of, share successful strategies, etc. Toward this end, we have created our online learning community at, which features expert articles, audio podcasts, how-to videos, full digital courses, and more. This is no isolated experience; learners receive training from a wide array of artists, business professionals, and art-industry experts. And they connect with each other around that learning in a digital community that provides them with comradery, feedback, and support.

5. In your view, what is the best way for artists to develop social networks that extend to non-artists?

Judith Heartsong—who is hosting our D.C. area event at Artists and Makers Studios in Rockville, MD on March 23 and 24—answered this question brilliantly in an interview we did with her that’s at She said, “Social media is critical (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more), but it cannot be an artist or organization’s only focus. An informative and engaging website, positive word of mouth, email invitations, newsletters, blogs, advertising, paper collateral, and more, all have their place in getting visitors in the door. I also think that our warm, friendly, person-to-person interactions encourage a loyal following of friends who bring more friends.”