Working and Succeeding In the Arts

April 30, 2013

Photographed are attending SEA students

By Crystal Vining ’13

Eleven Bradley students attended the 13th annual Self-Employment in the Arts conference, or SEA, in late February to learn how to have a career as both an artist and an entrepreneur after graduation. This two-day conference taught students how to sell their work and be successful in their field, "be they actors, musicians, fine artists, graphic artists, or the people who work across arts industries in public relations, advertising, journalism or organizational communication."

On SEA’s first day, students listened to speakers and panel discussions on issues such as finding clients, starting the first steps to opening a business, building a portfolio and understanding copyright issues for visual artists.

One of the students attending SEA was Crystal Campos, a senior studio art major with a concentration in photography. She said the forum was a great experience for Bradley students.

“It is amazing how many artists are out there,” Campos said. “You really need to know how to stand out.”

Campos explained that many of the conference speakers were already well established in their field. Artists like Erik Unger, a Chicago-based photojournalist, and Molly Pearson, a New York- based theatre and film producer, gave students advice on how they rose to the top.

The second day of the conference consisted of multiple networking meetings and one-on-one mentoring sessions. Elizabeth Higdon, a junior studio art major with a concentration in painting, found the sessions to be very helpful on how to network and market her work.

“They taught me how to sell my work,” she said. “It’s all about selling your personality and creating connections.

Furthermore, students were able to attend roundtable discussions that were geared toward their specific majors. Discussions ranged from general art to literary arts.

As the conference came to a close, many artists stayed behind to speak with students. Bradley’s delegation said the presenters and artists were extremely generous with their time and advice.

Ed Lamoureux, professor in the departments of Interactive Media and Communication who made three presentations at, and attended SEA with the students, stressed how important this conference can be for anyone in the field of communication or fine arts.

“This conference is great for undergraduate students. I encourage everyone to attend next year, including students outside of CFA,” Lamoureux said.  “Knowing how to be an entrepreneur is a life skill that everyone should have.”