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February 10, 2024

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 & Crafting your Elevator Pitch
10:15am | 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 & Conference Keynote Address by Alex Carmona (CEFCU Auditorium)
1:45pm | Afternoon Breakout Sessions (Various Rooms)
3:00pm | After Hours Mixer & Networking (CEFCU Auditorium) – Meet with business experts, take a tour of ART, Inc. or just relax and connect with other attendees and presenters!


9:00 AM

Check-In & Wake Up!


9:30 AM

Welcome & Introduction to Networking

What You Will Learn: Have you ever been asked “What do you do?” and struggle to find a quick, precise way of describing your artwork? In this session, you will learn how to create an effective elevator pitch.

Session Speakers: Dr. Mae Gilliland Wright and Megan Pedigo

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 Bob Parkhurst, Chief Financial Officer at Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois, Inc. 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

Join John Heintzman for a frank discussion on how to become an artist and an introduction to all the tools necessary for success. Topics include: Artist Statements, A Body of Work: Developing Your Artwork, Galleries and How to Approach Them, Exhibitions and Working With Curators, Exhibition Timelines and Installations, and Grants/Other Resources.

Session Speaker: John Heintzman, Artist (Peoria Art Guild)

At this roundtable discussion, Jonathan will note each participants’ creative mediums, businesses, 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 through the tools that intellectual property rights provide

Session Speaker: Jonathan Phillips, Phillips & Bathke, P.C.

The Art of Social Media: A Beginner’s Guide

Join artist Jessica McGhee as she helps you understand some of the basics of social media, and how to effectively use it to promote your work and generate sales.

Session Speaker: Jessica McGhee, Owner Hey Lola

Embark on a transformative journey with Jonathon Romain at his Artrepeneur Workshop, a dynamic class designed for aspiring artists eager to navigate the intersection of art, marketing, and commerce. Join Jonathon as he shares his inspiring story of going from nothing to something, and unlock the keys to turning your artistic passion into a flourishing business.
Key Focus Areas:
1. Marketing Magic: Dive deep into the world of art marketing as Jonathon Romain unveils the strategies that propelled him to success. Learn how to create a compelling brand story and develop a marketing plan to showcase your art to a wider audience.
2. Selling with Impact: Explore the art of selling. Gain practical insights into pricing your artwork strategically, pitching your pieces effectively, and closing deals with confidence. Jonathon will share his proven techniques for turning potential buyers into loyal patrons.
3. Jonathon's Artrepeneurial Journey: Benefit from Jonathon Romain's firsthand account of transforming his artistic passion into a thriving career. Discover the challenges he faced, the lessons he learned, and the pivotal moments that defined his journey. Gain inspiration from his story and use it as a blueprint for your own artrepeneurial success.
This workshop is not just a class; it's a roadmap to artrepeneurial success. Join Jonathon Romain as you gain the marketing prowess, selling acumen, and inspirational insights needed to carve your path from canvas to commerce.
Session Speaker: Jonathon Romain, Artist and Associate Director, ART, Inc.

If you have ever had a booth at a market or fair, you know that making a sale isn't always easy. How do you set up the booth? How do you connect with customers? And if you don't make the sale... is that really a failure? In this relaxed roundtable-like discussion, artist Chris Kukla will guide you through some ideas for your own booths, all while sharing knowledge he has gained from his own years of experience.

Session Speaker: Chris Kukla, Artist

12:30 PM

Lunch & Conference Keynote Address by Alex Carmona

Artist: Unveiled

The simplicity of a single solitary line is where my campaign begins.

When multiplied by the power of pattern, the foundations of a cohesive yet complicated war map has been laid out, revealing the beginning of a thought provoking battle through the jungles of visual tonality. The treacherous terrain of interwoven fibers can only be navigated with a thorough understanding of species and gouge.

An uncompromising coordination of tactical maneuvers transforms each individual line until the landscape has just enough information to tell the crucial tale of value. A value that ranges from the darkest trenches of your nightmares, to the blinding brightness of victory on an overtaken hill.

This unwinnable war consists of infinite battles. Paradoxical battles that can never be won. Instead, these battles are meant to instill an unrelenting resolve of growth.

This war has but one enemy – The limitation of the mind. This ever-changing enemy has one goal – Incarceration of creativity.

This is my art, my life, my struggle.

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

Navigating the world of art through gallery and museum exhibitions as well as the commercial realms museum stores can be a daunting experience which requires specific abilities, talents and strategies. Navigating and accessing these often closed cultural ecosystems requires a very nuanced understanding of their professional constructs and expectations. Through a combination of presentation and question and answer opportunities, this session is designed to bring the creative talent closer to the commercial possibilities within these very complex structures through the “positioning” which can be achieved through the artist’s work and social talent.

Session Speaker: Bill Conger, Peoria Riverfront Museum

The basics of Square and other mobile point of sale (POS) systems to accept payments anywhere there is a Wi-Fi or LTE connection. We will compare functionality and cost of some of the most popular solutions.

Session Speaker: Bob Parkhurst, CFO Goodwill Industries of Central IL

It has long been said that an aspiring musician should expect to receive an average of 99 “noes” for every 1 “yes.” This adage captures the reality of rejection and the persistence necessary for entrepreneurial performers who desire sustainable careers. Securing gigs, landing opening slots, and building a fanbase often involves countless cold calls, rejections from venue owners and the disappointment of empty shows. The great news is that the traditional gatekeepers of the industry are no longer the only path to success! 

In this intimate session we will practice fostering mental fortitude and self-worth in the face of perceived rejection, and we will expose “yeses” and “noes” for what they really are. We will discuss professional and social skills that can help open previously closed doors, and we will explore ways to create opportunity outside of the established system. You will leave this session with the plan and power you need to level your personal playing field. 

(While this discussion is specifically geared towards music business professionals, artists of all mediums will find it largely applicable and appropriate for all experience levels.)

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 the speaker’s name to read their bio!


Alex Carmona

Owner and Artist, Old School Alex


Bill Conger

Peoria Riverfront Museum


Sarah Marie Dillard

Singer, Songwriter & Educator


Kevin Evans

Entrepreneur, Kevin Evans & Associates


Dr. Mae Gilliland Wright

Executive Director, ArtsPartners of Central Illinois


John Heintzman

Artist (Peoria Art Guild)


Joshua D Herman

Attorney, Miller, Hall & Triggs, LLC


Chris Kukla



Ross Miller

Senior Internal Business Consultant


Bob Parkhurst

Chief Financial Officer of Goodwill Industries


Jonathan Phillips

Phillips & Bathke, P.C.


Jonathon Romain

Artist, Associate Director & Founder, ART, Inc.


Eric Sampson

Director, Illinois SBDC at Bradley University


Jessica Thomas McGhee

Owner Hey Lola

Thank you to our community partners!

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