SEA Conference features four keynotes, workshops by successful artists

Jan 24, 2014

North Central College’s 14th annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference Feb. 21-22 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.

Activities include keynote presentations, artist-led sessions, panel discussions, one-on-one mentoring sessions, round table discussions and workshops. Also, there are performances, a juried college art competition, $1,000 Artistic Business Plan Pitch Competition and opportunities for educators to share best practices.

The 2014 SEA Conference will be held at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville Hotel, 3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle, starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, and ending at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. The registration fee for students is $99 for the full conference or $55 for one day, and scholarships are available. For nonstudents the fee is $199 for the full conference or $105 for one day. Late fees apply for registrations after Feb. 7. For more information and to register visit or contact Amy Rogers, SEA director, at 630-637-5468 or

This year’s SEA Conference will feature four keynote speakers. Chicago art advocate Paul Klein will deliver a keynote address “Why and How You Can Succeed in the Art World” at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. Klein teaches online courses and presents webinars with acknowledged art world experts to empower visual artists. He writes and distributes ArtLetter, writes for Huffington Post, serves as a SupporTED Mentor for TED fellows and operated the Klein Art Works gallery in Chicago for 30 years. 

Comedian Adam Grabowski will present the keynote address “Productive Procrastination” at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. The winner of the 2012 Fastest Rising Star award, Grabowski made history in 2013 by becoming the youngest comedian ever to win Comic of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine. A professional comedian, he’s performed at 240 colleges in 33 states during his career.  

Seth Braun will deliver the Saturday morning keynote address 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. From high school dropout to private school fine arts training with a full scholarship, Braun talks about real success and provides coaching, training and consulting services for people who want to develop their full personal and professional potential. His latest book is “Indestructible Success.”   

John J. Thompson will present the Saturday luncheon keynote “The New Brass Ring: Redefining and Identifying Success in the New Creative Economy” at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. Thompson founded True Tunes, ground zero for the emerging underground of faith-fueled modern music, launching its magazine, mail-order company and venue. A music critic and feature writer for many publications, he’s creative director at Capitol CMG Publishing. 

Visit for a full list of the many other artists and entrepreneurs who will host roundtable sessions and panel discussions and conduct workshops.

SEA is sponsored by The Coleman Foundation, North Central College, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Charitable Foundation. Additional sponsors include Guident Business Solutions, Russell Law, Blick Art Materials, Quality Logo Products, Ed Hoy’s International, Beloit College, Millikin University, University of St. Francis, Ace Metal, Osio-Brown Editions, and the George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Illinois State University. SEA partners include the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and the Chicago Artists Coalition.