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Creating with artistic connections

Art Partners of Central Illinois hosted the Business of Art, a technical skills workshop of artists. Photos by Valerie Vasconez.

The Michel Student Center hosted a chattering crowd of artists, musicians, and writers this Saturday for the annual Business of Art event. The event allows for creators to gather in one place to share ideas and make professional connections.

This is the second time ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc. brought the program to Bradley’s campus. Students were welcome to the event to listen to presenters, network and guide themselves through the current state of the art world.

When describing the state of Peoria, Jenn Gordon, executive director of ArtsPartners, said she noticed a trend of creative minds staying in Peoria to work, including Bradley graduates. She described it as a renaissance, but noted that everyone was in their own creative studio without getting the interaction they might need.

Gordon talked to Ross Miller from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and other organizations that want to bridge gaps between artists as entrepreneurs. The national organization helps businesses gather the right information they need through consulting and training.

“It started out with a conversation I had with Ross Miller,” Gordon said. “We discussed how Peoria has so many business resources for entrepreneurs and this thriving artist community. There seemed to be a disconnect.”

While the SBDC can help creators, they help almost anyone that wants to start a business by hosting workshops or one-on-one meetings.

“My talk was all about taxes, how to manage record keeping, bookkeeping and how to relieve the burden of those taxes by doing small things every day,” Miller said.

During Miller’s talk, people asked what tax apps they should use and if someone could be scammed due to the amount of taxes they are charged for their work.

Artists refined their skills on e-commerce, finding a publisher, trademarking art and working through taxes. While some speakers aimed towards a specific medium, attendees were allowed to take part in any other conversation at the program.

This event allowed plenty of artists to interact with other artists and leaders they might have not known about otherwise. The networking hour allowed for creators and speakers to get any further information necessary or find people with the same interest as them, letting them know that they’re not alone in commercializing creations.

“I was able to go to other [speaker events] and be heard,” senior animation major Ben Panfil said. “I went to a table talking about music, which I have no relation to. They were all still willing to hear my experiences and seemed very interested in what I do.”

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