Sarah Potter Offers Up Advice On How To Break Into The Art World

Photographed by Tiffany Nicholson.

We spoke to the curator and art adviser about her business

The following feature appears in the August issue of NYLON.

When Sarah Potter was in art school, she found setting up shows for her friends and selling their work to be more fun than creating her own. After graduating from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, she snagged an internship at a gallery and quickly worked her way up, doing everything from emailing artists and coordinating shipments to dealing with clients directly. She has since started her own art advisory and independent curation business, SP Projects, based in New York. Here, we chat with Potter about the group exhibition she curated for Spring/Break Art Show titled “Season of the Witch,” the artists she’s most excited about, and the ties between art and politics.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I split my time between Manhattan and upstate in the Hudson Valley. I like to always be on the move and doing things. I wake up and check my phone to see if there have been any emergencies overnight. Then I make coffee, start my emails, and often will do some studio visits with artists or visit clients’ homes. Every day is different.

How do you find the artists you work with?
I connect with a lot of artists through Instagram. Sometimes artists I work with will recommend other artists to me, and that’s a wonderful way to find new people. I like working with artists who go crazy if they’re not creating. 

Who are some of your favorite artists that you’re working with now?
Evie Falci, Heather Gabel, and Lala Abaddon. Evie calls her work “aggressively feminine,” and I feel like that applies to Heather’s and Lala’s work as well. I just fully believe in [these women] and stand behind them. I love that they challenge me to think more critically and create strong exhibitions—they push me in the same way that I try to push them. It’s a wonderful balance.

You collect art as well. What makes something worthy of being in your collection?
I like a strong feminine feeling. I love surrealism, magic, and color, so you’ll see those in a lot of things that I collect. I am also interested in the intersection of fine art and craft. 

What advice would you give a young woman who is looking to break into the art world, whether on the creative or business side? 
I would say that you absolutely can do this. Look online, go to museums, go to gallery openings—even if you don’t like something, that’s important because you can start to develop your aesthetic and your point of view. Take on as many opportunities as you can, and create your own opportunities. No one’s going to hand anything to you, so make sure to ask for it. It’s really important to stay flexible, stay current, always be pushing yourself further, and think outside of the box because the art world is changing rapidly.

Potter holding Archaica (2011) by Astral Eyes. Photographed by Tiffany Nicholson

What was it like curating an exhibition for New York’s Spring/Break Art Show?
The theme [this year] was Black Mirror, and I created “Season of the Witch” as a response to the election with the idea of artists being witches. A witch to me is someone whose power comes from within. It’s usually a person on the fringes of society. After the election, I was feeling really alone and like my needs didn’t matter, and many people felt the same way. But we’re a lot more powerful together. 

Art feels intrinsically connected to politics these days. 
Yeah, and I really do think that it’s a rallying cry. People don’t know what to do so they have to get out and create and feel and be heard. From this horrible situation, I feel like we’re going to get a lot of really great art. 

What upcoming project are you most excited about?
I’m bringing “Season of the Witch” to the Seligmann Center, which is Kurt Seligmann’s estate. He was a Surrealist painter who was fascinated by magic. His estate is in Sugar Loaf, New York, and there’s a wonderful presence of energy there. It’s been great working with the center to expand upon this show and have it run for three months—[it was on show at Spring/Break for six days]-—to really delve deeper into the ideas. 

Potter holding (from left to right) Chelone and Silibo (both 2016) by Evie Falci. Photographed by Tiffany Nicholson

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video]



Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.