$25K challenge...

Why donate to SEA:

SEA's mission 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.


Your donation will help us provide programming and resources to help more artists be self-sufficient and succeed with their art.  Our focus is on the business of art providing content in various platforms on such topics as pricing your art, financial management, marketing, legal issues, working with clients, and much more.  



*Thanks to a generous donation, the first $25,000 raised will be matched dollar for dollar!


How will we utilize your donation?:

All of the funds generated through our $25K Challenge will be used in one of three ways:

  • Provide scholarships to emerging artists to help off-set registration fees for the 18th Annual SEA Conference.  

  • Provide additional programming outside of the conference

  • Develop more on-line resources and programs to connect creatives to the tools they need to succeed


History of SEA:

SEA started as a way to fill the need of art students who had been trained how to create but not what to do with that creation.  In 1998, SEA founder Dr. Gary Ernst developed a series of videos called The Entrepreneurial Artist.  These videos captured a variety of artists and focused on the business issues that they faced.  Response to these videos was so overwhelming that the next step was to actually bring these artists together face to face with college students.  In 2000, the first SEA Conference was held at Columbia College in Chicago with about 100 attendees from 5 different schools.  Over seventeen years later the program now includes the annual conference with over 350 attendees from more than 40 different schools as well as regional events throughout the country.



SEA is housed at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.  Primary funding is provided by The Coleman Foundation of Chicago.  Additional funding is provided by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Charitable Foundation, Millikin University, Beloit College, University of Missouri Kansas City, DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, Guident Business Solutions, Illinois State University's George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Ace Metal, The Ernst Family, The Gustafson Family, The Colbeth Family, The Hanlon Family, Blick Art Materials, Blooming Color, and and other private donors. For a complete list of sponsors, please click here.




SEA ConferenceDirector, Amy Rogers

C/o North Central College

30 N. Brainard St. Box 365

Naperville, IL 60540

P:  630/637-5468

E:  aerogers@noctrl.edu


Tom Sharpe, Drummer


Why support SEA?  

"You are investing in future artists, and the future of art. We do art to make the world a better place, and the reward of creating good work is to have done it. When artists believe in themselves, and have a place to share their ideas, others will believe in them, and success will surely follow."





Ping Wu, Fashion Designer


How has SEA helped you?  

"The crucial thing: the encouragement and confidence in this unknown artistic world.  The contacts: I still keep in touch with Organizer and speakers. They're not only genuinely kind to me, and sincerely interested in my development at a personal level, but they also helped me in giving suggestions in a professional way."




Lauren Connor,

Cape Coast Dreams Theater


How has SEA helped you?  

"The conference had an immeasurable effect on my life.  The conference gave me a firm grounding as an artist and business woman.  As a result of the SEA Conference, I was able to land an internship with one of the most respected theaters in Chicago.  Also, I was given support to branch out on my own artistic business."