North Central’s SEA Conference teaches entrepreneurs the business of arts

Jan 03, 2013

North Central College’s 13th annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference Feb. 22-23 will help aspiring artists learn to become successful entrepreneurs.

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

The 2013 SEA Conference will be held at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville Hotel, 3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle, starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 and ending at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. The registration fee for students is $95 for the full conference or $55 for one day, and scholarships are available. For nonstudents the fee is $190 for the full conference or $100 for one day. Discounts of $15 off the full conference rate and $8 off the single-day rate will be applied if registered by Jan. 31. For more information and to register visit or contact Amy Rogers, SEA director, at 630-637-5468 or

Mike VenyThis year’s SEA Conference will feature three keynote speakers. Drummer and entrepreneur Mike Veny will deliver a keynote address at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Veny is founder of the websites, and, serves on the board of the Fender Music Foundation and is a member of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation’s SupportMusic Coalition.

Composer and performing artist Tom Sharpe will deliver the inspirational keynote address, “Tom Sharpe’s World Music that Rocks!” at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Sharpe is drummer for the Grammy Award-winning group Mannheim Steamroller and for Dennis DeYoung of Styx. As a composer he has earned numerous awards, including winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Artist and educator Greg Forbes Siegman will deliver the keynote address “Connecting Dots” at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. He is the real-life subject of the book, “The Silhouette Man” by Jillip N. Paxson.  Siegman’s primary art collection, “My Sleepless Nights,” features portraits of historical, contemporary and cinematic figures who inspire people to think, act, serve, give and lead. Siegman was honored at Princeton University as one of America’s top social entrepreneurs under 40 and has been featured by media like Art World News and “Good Morning America.”

Greg Forbes SiegmanIn addition to the keynote speakers, the conference will feature numerous other artists and entrepreneurs who will host roundtable sessions, participate in panel discussions and conduct workshops. Visit for a full list of participants. Contact Rogers for details on which speeches and sessions may be video or audio taped by media and which participants may be available for interviews before or during the conference.

The conference also features one-on-one mentoring sessions, a “create room” sponsored by Blick Art Materials, book proposal review, mock auditions and improv. Sessions focus on such topics as marketing, business plans, websites 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. The winner will be awarded a $1,000 prize to assist in starting a business, with additional prizes for runners-up. Winners will be announced at the conference.

SEA is sponsored by The Coleman Foundation and North Central College and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Additional sponsors include Guident Business Solutions, Russell Law, Blick Art Materials, Quality Logo Products, Fisher Creative Group and Artel Arts and Entertainment Group. SEA partners include the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and the Chicago Artists Coalition.