Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases

Millikin University art students were awarded top honors at the 15th Annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference held Feb. 20-21 in Lisle, Ill. Each year, the Self Employment in the Arts Conference solicits submissions from participating colleges and universities for the annual SEA Juried Art Show. Millikin students received three of the six awards from this year's show.

The SEA Juried Art Show featured 79 submissions from 28 college artists representing 11 institutions. This year's Competition Juror was BettyAnn Mocek, professor of art at Concordia University in Chicago. Mocek teaches Drawing, Printmaking, Two-Dimensional Basic Studio and Advanced Internships and Independent Studies in various media. She is also the gallery director of Concordia's Ferguson Art Gallery where she has curated over 90 exhibitions during her tenure.

Stuart Ball, a senior studio art major from Carmel, Ind., was awarded Best of Show for his work, and Jessica Brooks, a junior studio art major from Decatur, Ill., received a Juror's Choice Award and the People's Choice Award.

"The SEA Conference is a great experience for any budding artist," said Brooks. "Each year I learn more about what my future might hold through the experience of others on a similar path. The conference also provides many chances for connections with other artists or people in the art world. Being able to exhibit your work is a great experience for students to see what a 'real' art show might be like in their future. This is the perfect trial run for future ventures in the art world."

Stuart Ball added, "How someone presents artwork is key. After framing and matting my art, it gave my work a stronger more professional quality. This recognition has given me confidence in myself and has pushed me to pursue graduate school in the future."

In addition to exhibiting artwork, students attended sessions and panel discussions on topics including: Financial Literacy, Utilizing Social Media, Steps to Starting an Artistic Business and Networking.

"For the art student, the significance of not only having artwork accepted into a juried competition, but then winning an award signals an important aspect of professional success and also represents significance in that the student has succeeded in engaging with the third-party stakeholder, one of the hallmarks of Performance Learning," said Lyle Salmi, chair of Millikin University's Art Department. "The fact that Millikin art students regularly do so also suggests that they are being prepared for a life of personal meaning and professional success."

Millikin University was well-represented at the SEA Conference with 20 students and eight faculty members in attendance. Students from Blue Connection, Millikin's student-run art gallery, and Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre, a student-run theatre company on Millikin's campus presented.

Blue Connection student presenters included: Basia Brown, a senior human services major from Chicago, Nicole Edgecombe, a junior art therapy major from Decatur, Ill., and Angie Fassett, a senior art major from Bloomington, Ill.

Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre student presenters included: Tyler Hixson, a senior theatre major from Monticello, Ill., Matija Ilic, a first-year international student from Cuprija, Serbia, Dana Jones, a senior theatre major from Chicago, and Blanca Hernandez, a senior theatre major from Chicago.

Millikin University's Arts and Entrepreneurship Program is designed to help artists gain the knowledge needed to be successful entrepreneurs. Through the Arts and Entrepreneurship Program, students are actively learning what it takes to start, run, and maintain their own business venture through opportunity recognition and capitalizing on those opportunities. Click here for more information on Millikin University's Arts and Entrepreneurship Program.

SEA is a program geared towards helping emerging visual, performing, literary, and media artists gain the resources and connections they need to be successful self-employed artists. Programming includes conferences, workshops, panel discussions, webinars, competitions and more. For more information on Self Employment in the Arts, visit selfemploymentinthearts.com.