Millikin University art students were recognized for their outstanding efforts at the 14th annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference, held Feb. 21-22 in Lisle, Ill. Millikin garnered three of the six awards during the 5th annual SEA College Juried Art Show.
Prior to the SEA Juried Art Show, 101 works of art were submitted by college artists, a record number. This year's Juror, Janet Bloch, kept 37 submissions for the show, 17 of which were works by Millikin students. Michael Shultz, a senior studio art major from Decatur, won Best of Show and was voted the People's Choice for his work.
Michael Shultz '14 won Best of Show at SEA Conference
"After three consecutive years at the conference, the biggest thing I've taken away is confidence in my ability to make it as an artist," said Shultz. "Each year, I interacted with the same people many times, as well as new faces, and had the opportunity to get feedback from them as I grew. In particular, winning the awards was a huge boost of confidence. I have only been practicing visual arts for two-and-a-half years, and to have my efforts validated not only by Janet Bloch, the exhibition's juror, but by popular vote, makes me feel ready to take on the world."
Jessica Brooks, a sophomore studio art major from Decatur, also received a Juror's Award for her artwork.
“The SEA Conference was a great glimpse into our future in terms of the professional art world," said Brooks. "It's a great opportunity for networking and learning things that classes can't provide."
Jessica Brooks '16 received a Juror's Award at SEA Conference
In addition to exhibiting their artwork, students attended workshops and panel discussions on topics including: How to Market Your Artwork, Copyright Law, Exhibiting in Galleries, Business Plans and Networking Strategies.
Millikin University was well represented at the SEA Conference with 32 students and seven faculty members in attendance. Ed Walker, Millikin associate professor of art, and Matt Talbott, Millikin instructor of music, presented at several conference sessions.
"Millikin art students have continued to demonstrate not only their passion, but also an understanding of what it takes to succeed in the arts in terms of professional practice," said Lyle Salmi, Millikin associate professor of art. "This is evidenced in the fact that they have been very successful when entering into, and winning awards at professionally juried exhibitions."
The annual SEA Conference is geared towards emerging visual, performing, literary, and media artists. Activities included keynote presentations, artist-led sessions, panel discussions, one-on-one mentoring sessions, round table discussions, and workshops.
The mission of the SEA is to provide educational resources to help aspiring artists gain the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills needed to establish and maintain a career as an independent artist. For more information on Self Employment in the Arts, visit www.selfemploymentinthearts.com