Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship

Self Employment in the Arts OzArts Conference

2016 SEA Conference date will be announced soon!

Please visit our Facebook page for photos from the 2015 conference.

Self Employment in the Arts

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The purpose behind the SEA Conference is to help students and future artists gain insightful information drawn from the experience of other artists that have been successful in their field.


Each year the SEA Conference aims to bring in a larger audience by hosting new and exciting speakers relevant to the interests and disciplines of our attendees. The goal of the SEA Conference is to provide attendees with a meaningful and informative experience that empowers them to further develop their artistic careers.

Where: Drury University, Springfield, Missouri: Trustee Science Center

When: 2016 Conference To Be Announced soon!

Who: For college students, serious high school students, artists and educators


$15 per person advance tickets
$25 the day of the conference
Free to area students with a valid student ID

What to expect:

  • Inspiring & resourceful artist led conference sessions
  • One-on-one sessions with established artists
  • Training on how to organize and run your business

Download the 2015 Conference Schedule.


Registration Information

Online: Registration Form

By phone: (417) 873-6357

2105 SEA OzArts Speakers

Jeremy Rabe - Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It (breakfast keynote)

Jeremy Rabe is a design and craft expert who can be seen on his own television show, FYI GUY LIVE, on The Ozarks CW every Sunday morning. He also has a nationally syndicated instructional Craft/Design feature series and can be seen in “A Very Barry Branson” airing on The Great American Country Network. (GAC)

His passion for the arts has led him to a multifaceted career as a singer, dancer, television host and designer. Jeremy firmly believes in perseverance, hard work and is guided by the saying: “The moment you’re ready to quit, is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.”

Website: www.fyiguy.com


Jeremy Rabe

Doug Johnston - Practice Makes Practice (lunch keynote)

Doug Johnston's work includes art, design, architecture and music, utilizing and exploring a variety of mediums and methods such as installation, fiber art, sculpture, photography, and collaborative performance. Since 2010 he has focused on a process of coiling and stitching rope into a variety of functional and sculptural objects. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions around the United States and in online and print journals; an ongoing line of coiled and stitched rope pieces is available in boutiques and galleries around the world.

After graduating from Drury University with undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Studio Art, Doug later earned a Master of Architecture Degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has served as a guest critic and lecturer at several universities. His professional experience includes architecture, teaching, and architectural metal fabrication. Currently Doug works with his wife, Tomoe Matsuoka, in their Brooklyn studio.

Website: www.dougjohnston.net 



Doug Johnston

Cole Closser - Graduate Studies in the Arts: Costs and Benefits of the MA/MFA (Money, Creativity, Sanity)

Cole Closser is a cartoonist and a graduate of the BFA program at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, as well as a graduate of the MFA program at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. His graphic novel Little Tommy Lost was named one of the ten best graphic novels of 2013 by A.V. Club (the Onion), and nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the category of Best Publication Design at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. Cole currently lives in the Ozarks and teaches drawing at Missouri State University and Drury University.

Website: www.ColeClosser.com

Cole Closser

Ingrid Gerdes - Diversity and collaboration for a well rounded career as an Indie musician

Boston Soul/Blues recording artist Ingrid Gerdes’ gospel-meets-R&B voice has earned her more than one comparison to greats like Irma Thomas and Mavis Staples. With a powerful nearly four-octave range and a strong confident stage presence Gerdes has a reputation as a breakout favorite in the Blues world. Ingrid studied opera at University of Kansas before earning her degree at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. She is currently on tour to support her third studio album, “High Priestess,” as well as tour internationally with other musical acts. Ingrid also continues to work as a noted voice over artist from her home recording studio in Boston.

Website: www.ingridgerdes.com

 Ingrid Gerdes

Gayle Harper - Support Your Dream and It Will Support You

Gayle Harper, travel photographer and writer for more than two decades, knows from experience that the world is filled with fascinating destinations and wonderful people. Nothing, however, has ever captured her heart like our own Mississippi River.

When Gayle learned that a raindrop falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, would travel the river for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico, she knew she had met the project of her lifetime. She would make a 90-day road trip, following the entire Mississippi from source to sea, while keeping pace with an imaginary raindrop called “Serendipity.”

The resulting book of photographs and tales, “Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River” is now available at www.gayleharper.com and she will be signing copies at the conference.

Website: www.gayleharper.com

Gayle Harper

Jennifer Murvin - Graduate Studies in the Arts: Costs and Benefits of the MA/MFA (Money, Creativity, Sanity)

Jennifer Murvin is a writer and teacher. Her essays and stories have appeared in The Sun, Mid-American Review, Midwestern Gothic, Bellingham Review, The Cincinnati Review, Baltimore Review, and other literary journals. Jennifer holds an MA in English from Missouri State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. She is a faculty member in the Department of English at Missouri State University.

Website: http://jennifermurvin.virb.com/

Jennifer Murvin

Nathan Shelton - “Living the Dream”(Identifying, setting, and achieving goals to achieve success as a film and theatre artist.)

Nathan Shelton is a Springfield, MO native who lives in Chicago, IL. He is an award winning actor, writer, director/producer, and special effects makeup designer for multiple stage, film, and TV projects including the Academy Award nominated film, Winter’s Bone. He is currently working on the SFX team with Scotchworthy Productions for their new feature horror film shooting this spring in Chicago as well as developing the second season of his international award-winning web series, SHADOW BOUND. Nathan has led workshops throughout the Midwest in acting and special effect makeup design/application. Find out more about Nathan’ projects at www.nathanshelton.com.

Website: www.nathanshelton.com

Nathan Shelton

Ron Tanski - A Career in Music: Working to Make It or Making It Work

Ron moved to LA after graduating Drury in 1989. A Blues Singer, Song Writer, Composer, sideman, session player and music teacher, Ron is one of LA’s most popular pianists. His debut album “Dragged You Down” hit #3 on National Blues Radio and the Top 100 of 2011 and his latest release “Never Pet A Burning Dog” is getting critical acclaim.

Having worked with Grammy Winners Josh Sklair and Albert Lee, and many other Blues greats, Ron got his start as the house pianist at Springfield’s own Lindberg's Blues Club. Sponsored by Mason & Hamlin Pianos, PianoDisc and Earthworks Audio, Ron has also written music for award winning animated shorts, independent films, churches and Children's Musical Theater.

Website: www.rontanskimusic.com

Email: ron@rontanskimusic.com

Ron Tanski

Brannon Wiles - Behind The “Behind the Scenes:” A Producer’s Perspective

Brannon Wiles’ producing and general management credits include On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (2011 revival starring Harry Connick, Jr.), That Championship Season (2011 revival starring Kiefer Sutherland), Ring of Fire: The Songs of Johnny Cash and Elaine Stritch at Liberty on Broadway; Make Me A Song, Evil Dead The Musical, and Almost, Maine Off-Broadway. He developed a musical adaptation of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, which recently had its New York premiere. Graduate of Columbia University (J.D. + M.F.A. in Theatre Management & Producing) and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Faculty member at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Email: mbwiles@drexel.edu

Brandon Wiles

Robert Westenberg - Graduate Studies in the Arts: Costs and Benefits of the MA/MFA (Money, Creativity, Sanity)

Robert Westenberg joined the Drury University Theatre faculty after a lengthy commercial career that included work on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, national tours, television, and film. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in the original Broadway casts of Into the Woods as the Wolf and the Prince for which he received a Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award, Secret Garden as Neville Craven, and Sunday in the Park with George where he replaced Mandy Patinkin in the title role. Other Broadway credits include Javert in Les Misérables and Niko in Zorba for which he received the Theatre World Award.

While known for his work in musical theatre, he has also appeared in numerous plays and classical works, including Shakespeare, in theatres around the country. Mr. Westenberg is a graduate of Fresno State University and holds an M.F.A., studying at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and ultimately graduating from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver

Robert Westenberg 

Kelley Still - Pricing Your Work

Dr. Kelley Still took over as Executive Director of the Edward Jones Center in April 2010 after teaching for 15 years in the Breech School of Business Administration.  A graduate of Drury's Master of Business Administration program, Kelley went on to earn her Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Oklahoma.  Her teaching areas were primarily in tax, financial statement analysis and management decision analysis.  She annually directed the free income tax service for low-income and senior citizen taxpayers provided by Drury accounting majors. Additionally, Kelley was the first director of the Arts Administration program.

Kelley has a long history in entrepreneurship both in her academic research and in the private sector.  She also has considerable experience in social entrepreneurship, both with new programming inside of Drury and with other non-profit agencies in Springfield.  Kelley frequently provides mediation services to the legal community through her partnership with retired judge J. Miles Sweeney and the Judicial ADR Group.

Outside of the Edward Jones Center and Breech academic and community responsibilities, Kelley serves Drury through her participation in the Steve Good Memorial Scholarship selection committee, chair of the Inclusion Council and advising the Edward Jones Scholars. Currently, Kelley serves as Past President of the Board of Directors of Springfield Little Theatre, the advisory board of the Springfield Regional Opera, the scholarship fundraising committee of American Society of Women Accountants, board member of Minorities in Business, and routinely volunteers with the Friends of the Library.

Kelley Still

SEA OzArts Additional Information

Contact Information

For more information, contact the Edward Jones Center at (417) 873-6357 or at ejc@drury.edu.


Funding for SEA OzArts is provided by:

The Coleman Foundation

SEA OzArts Partner:

Springfield Regional Arts CouncilSAA Drury SGA

SEA is coordinated by North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.