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February 11, 2023

The Romain Arts and Culture Center – ART, Inc.

ART, Inc. is located inside The Romain Arts & Culture Center (The RACC). The RACC sits in the former Greeley School-a 50,000 square foot school building located at 919 NE Jefferson St, Peoria, IL 61603.

9:00am | Check-In & Wake Up!
9:30am | Welcome & Conference Key Note – Dream to Reality: The Story of ART, Inc. with keynote speakers Jonathon and Nikki Romain
10:15am | NEW! All-Conference Session (CEFCU Auditorium) – Business Foundations: Experts Answer Questions about Taxes, Protecting Your Art, Getting Started, and Managing Your Business
11:30am | Morning Breakout Sessions (Various Rooms)
12:30pm | Lunch & Artist Q&A Panel (CEFCU Auditorium) – Pricing Your Art & Knowing Your Worth moderated by Ross Miller
1:45pm | Afternoon Breakout Sessions (Various Rooms)
3:00pm | After Hours Mixer & Networking (CEFCU Auditorium) – Meet with business experts from SCORE Peoria, take a tour of ART, Inc. or jam out with the talented artists of the Peoria Music Community Pickin Circle!


9:30 AM

Conference Key Note
Dream to Reality: The Story of ART, Inc.

Jonathon and Nikki Romain, co-founders of ART Inc, will give the journey of turning their dream of a community arts center into a reality. The will share their success, failures, and everything in between.

What You Will Learn:

  1. Tools needed to start a nonprofit and/or business.
  2. The art of collaboration, grinding, and pivoting.
  3. How to turn a 100-year old building into a greenspace.

Session Speakers: Jonathan and Nikki Romain, ART, Inc.

10:15 AM

All-Conference Session
Business Foundations: Experts Answer Questions about Taxes, Protecting Your Art, Getting Started, & Managing Your Business

Every business owner needs to address certain basic functions to have a successful business. Getting established correctly, handling taxes, managing your business and legally protecting your art are mandatory for every business. This session will address those aspects on a high level. This session will either reassure you that you have done the correct things or open your eyes to areas that you need to focus on to make your business thrive.

What You Will Learn:  We have local experts including Josh Herman, partner at Miller, Hall & Triggs; Eric Sampson, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bradley University; Kevin Evans, economic development specialist; and Ross Miller, entrepreneur and consultant. These experts will each address a specific core aspect of business and then be available to answer questions for the benefit of the entire audience.

11:30 AM

Morning Breakout Sessions

Participants will learn the basics of establishing the toolkit they need for applications and opportunities within the arts. Crafting a statement, summarizing their work, writing a bio, and organizing their portfolio for applications are all topics that will be covered during this session.

What You Will Learn: Participants will be well equipped when it comes to art opportunities and applying for them.

Session Speaker: Alexander Martin, Artist (Peoria Guild of Black Artists, Illinois State University)

At this roundtable discussion, Jonathan will take note of each participants’ creative mediums and expectations. Assessing these, the discussion will steer between the basics of relevant areas of intellectual property and question and answers from the participants. The goal will be to have each person discover what they did not know they need to know and achieve a useful baseline of knowledge to protect and monetize their creative efforts.

Session Speaker: Jonathan Phillips, Attorney at Law

This session will cover the reasons an artist should teach their craft, how to put together a class or workshop, the different ways to reach students, and current teaching opportunities.

What You Will Learn:

  1. An understanding of how teaching can help your art business
  2. Knowledge of current opportunities
  3. Tools for getting started teaching

Session Speaker, Nikki Wheeler, Director of Education at the Peoria Art Guild

In this session, we will explore the benefits of building a business that aligns with your values and needs as well as promotional strategies for selling your art online. Specifically, we will cover the benefits of an effective website, social media, direct email outreach, and email lists as well as some potential strategies to implement in each.

What You Will Learn:

  • Leave with knowledge about how to sell without feeling gross
  • Learn how to show up online in an authentic way
  • Understand the value of consistency in your online presence

Who Should Attend: Ideally, registrants will have an established online presence which may include having a website dedicated to their art as well as social media accounts. This session will focus on creative strategy and not technical execution.

What to Bring:

Something to take notes with, handouts will be provided

Session Speaker: Chelsie Tamms, Owner + Designer, Lettering Works

There is both an art and science to designing a desirable customer experience. However, most entrepreneurs are much too busy to do this deliberately and end up having a fragmented, inconsistent and rather messy customer experience as their business and products evolve. This session will walk through some of the basics to ensure that your amazing company and product are properly experienced by your customers.                                                  

What You Will Learn: How do you design your customer retail experience to get the highest sales conversion possible? How do you lead and guide your customer to experience your company's culture, brand and product? How do you position and use your products to sell themselves?

Session Speaker: Aaron Gigous, Distillery Labs and OSF Innovation

12:30 PM

Lunch & Artist Panel Q&A
Pricing Your Art & Knowing Your Worth

Panelists will talk about how their approach and journey to developing the right price point for their arts based business. Panelists will answer your questions during a Q&A time moderated by Ross Miller.

Panelists: Jason Watts, Jonathon Romain, Chelsie Tamms, and Sarah Marie Dillard

1:45 PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Dream of selling your art work, or opening your own dance company, music studio, or art gallery? There are decisions to make in starting a business, particularly in the arts. Learn what the options are before making the decisions. Then understand the steps to proceed with the required registrations. This includes researching the business name, deciding on the form of ownership, registering with the IRS, the State of Illinois, where to find out about local permits, establishing a bank account and insurance for the business. Starting the business correctly can give an owner peace of mind.

Sessions Speaker: Eric Sampson, Director, Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University

Do you dream about showing your art work with a local gallery? Or selling your art work through a gift shop? Or have you ever wondered what it would take to start showing your work at Fine Art Fairs? If so, this session is made for you! Shannon Cox, Executive Director of the Peoria Art Guild, and Director of the Fine Art Fair, will provide you with practical steps you can take to get your foot in the door with galleries and gift shops. She will also give you some insider tips and best practices for building lasting relationships with Fine Art Fairs.

Session Speaker: Shannon Cox, Director, Peoria Art Guild

This workshop will be an overview of the steps that I took to sustain a living as a full-time artist for my entire career.

What You Will Learn: Marketing, Selling, and Presentation

Session Speaker: Jonathon Romain, Artist and Associate Director, ART, Inc.

Join Sarah Marie Dillard for a lively and informal RoundTable discussion including tips and strategies for making a living as a working musician in Central Illinois! Whether you’re looking to increase your income or just to increase your stage time, this round table discussion is meant for you. We’ll be answering questions like “What is one hour of my time worth?” “How important is touring?” “To play covers or to play originals?” “Should I invest more time on Facebook or Instagram?” “How can I diversify my services as a musician to broaden my clientele and increase my monthly revenue?” “How can I set myself apart from the rest for my listeners and my followers? For my business partners?” In this low-pressure round table atmosphere, we’ll take a thorough but fast-paced trip through the basics of music booking and move right along through “Music Marketing 101” with just enough time to discuss some options for diversifying your services that fall a little bit outside the box. The #1 goal of this round table is to fill in all the gaps, so bring questions and take home answers!    

Who Should Attend: Musicians who are actively seeking out performance opportunities and for aspiring managers and promoters.

What to Bring: Registrants encouraged to bring phones with functional Facebook and Instagram accounts but not required.

Session Speaker: Sarah Marie Dillard, Sarah and the Underground

This session will discuss options for artists seeking to build, operate, and manage a sustainable business. If you are struggling with how to go from selling a few pieces to owning an arts based business this session will provide the tools.

What You Will Learn:

  1. Introduction of organizational structure
  2. Steps needed to organize around the appropriate business structure
  3. Effective steps for operating an arts based business
  4. Differences between managing your business and producing art
  5. Strategies to pull together business operations and business management

Who Should Attend: Should be an artist entrepreneur with a body of work that is actively being marketed and/or sold.

Session Speaker: Kevin Evans, Entrepreneur, Kevin Evans & Associates


Click on our speaker’s names to read their bios!


Kevin Evans

Entrepreneur, Kevin Evans & Associates


Aaron Gigous

Distillery Labs, OSF Innovation


Alexander Martin

Peoria Guild of Black Artists, ISU


Eric Sampson

Director, Illinois SBDC at Bradley University


Chelsie Tamms

Owner & Designer, Lettering Works


Jonathon Romain

Artist, Associate Director & Founder, ART, Inc.


Nikki Romain

Founder & Executive Director, ART, Inc.


Nikki Wheeler

Director of Education, Peoria Art Guild


Sarah Marie Dillard

Singer, Songwriter & Educator


Jason Watts

Artist & Entrepreneur


Jon Phillips

Founder, Phillips & Bathke, P.C.


Joshua D Herman

Attorney, Miller, Hall & Triggs, LLC


Ross Miller

Senior Internal Business Consultant


Shannon Cox

Peoria Art Guild, Director

Thank you to our community partners!

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