North Central College - Naperville, IL

Self Employment in the Arts Conference helps creative students gain a business edge

Print Email Share

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Jan. 26, 2011)—College and high school students, educators and adults who aspire to be self-employed artists will gain valuable information about running their own business Feb. 25-26 when North Central College hosts the 11th annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference.

The SEA Conference provides educational resources to help aspiring artists gain entrepreneurial knowledge and skills needed to establish and maintain careers as independent business owners. The conference features performances, workshops, panel discussions and other activities tailored to actors, filmmakers, musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and other artists.

The 2011 SEA Conference will be held at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville Hotel, 3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle, starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25, and ending at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26. Registration starts at $80 for both days or $40 for one day, and scholarships are available. For more information and to register visit or contact Amy Rogers, SEA director, at 630-637-5468 or

This year, the SEA Conference has four keynote speakers. John Thompson, creative director and music publisher, will speak on Friday at 1 p.m. At the age of 19, Thompson founded True Tunes in Wheaton, Ill., which became ground zero for emerging faith-fueled modern music and eventually led to the launching of an internationally distributed magazine, mail-order company and concert venue. In 2000, Thompson left True Tunes to take the position of marketing coordinator for Thompson built a solid reputation as a music critic and feature writer. In 2007, he became creative director of EMI CMG Music Publishing.

GiGi Rosenberg, author and presentation coach, will speak during the two dinner sessions Friday, Feb. 25. In her keynote presentation, “Don’t Go Solo,” Rosenberg talks about how she harnessed the power of a team to help with every aspect of writing a new book and its ultimate sale to Random House. She will talk about using the power of teams to launch and promote creative projects.

Genevieve Thiers and Dan Ratner present the closing session at 3:10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26. This power couple has launched three companies including OperaModa and They have appeared on “Ellen,” “The View,” NBC’s “Today Show,” CNN, CBS’s “The Early Show,” ABC, Fox and in print publications like Better Homes and Gardens and Woman’s Day. In “Building for Longevity,” the two will talk about what it takes to create and sustain a long-term business in both the Web world and the arts. From finding disruptive models to building a revenue plan to differentiating a brand, Thiers and Ratner will elaborate on their playbook for building businesses and talk about all three of their current companies.

Although the keynote speakers will talk to large groups, the SEA Conference is also putting emphasis on one-on-one sessions with speakers. For 15 minutes, a speaker will look over art works, answer questions, offer advice and talk about life goals as a self-employed artist. Attendees are encouraged to bring samples of their work.

The conference also features a juried art exhibition, film festival, book proposal review, mock auditions and improv. Sessions focus on such topics as marketing, business plans, Web sites and social media. A highlight of the conference is the Business Plan Pitch Competition, which gives selected finalists the opportunity to present a three-minute pitch on their business plan to a panel of judges. Up to three winners will be awarded a $1,000 prize to assist in starting their business. Winners will be announced at the conference.

The SEA Conference is sponsored by John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Charitable Foundation and the Coleman Foundation. Sponsors, donors and partners include North Central College, the Hilton Lisle/Naperville, the Colbeth Family, the Ernst Family, College of DuPage, Columbia College, Millikin University, Finlandia University, Beloit College, Minuteman Press and Blick Art Materials.

Founded in 1861 and celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2011, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. Located in the Historic District of Naperville, Illinois—rated by Money magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live”—North Central College is just 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop. With more than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes. Visit to learn more.