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Business of Art Symposium

Business of Art Symposium 2023 | Saturday, October 14 @ NWTC Artisan Center
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Presented by: Artdose Magazine X NWTC Artisan & Business Center

Artdose Magazine and NWTC Artisan & Business Center have partnered to offer a one-day symposium focused on the business of art.  The symposium will provide the opportunity for attendees to hear how Wisconsin creative entrepreneurs navigate the world of art, the importance of networking, and share effective strategies to advance their art careers.

Event Details:

  • Date: October 14, 2023
  • Time: 9:30am-3:30pm (w/ optional Peer Review from 3:30-4:30pm)
  • Location: NWTC Artisan and Business Center | 1417 Cedar Street | Green Bay, WI 54302
  • Cost: $100 (Add on the optional Peer Review for $25)

Meet the Symposium Presenters

Craig Bower Headshot

Craig Bower

What does marketing, social media, a website, a blog, podcasts, personal branding and TikToks have in common? If you answered, “I don’t care I just want to create my art!” then this talk is for you. We’ll start at the beginning discussing why you should care, where you should begin and what’s worth the effort (and what isn’t). Join us as we talk about the “art” of your digital brand, where to focus your time and money, and how to get started with websites and social media accounts to connect with your audience on a personal level that helps to grow your business. 

Connect with Craig:

Learn More About Craig:

Craig Bower is a creative, entrepreneur and marketing professional. From a foundation built on creative design and marketing strategy, his career expands 30+ years over several industries proving every day that you can build, market, grow and maintain compelling brands. He is currently applying that expertise as Marketing Director to help Hansen Foods build some of the top outstanding frozen pizza brands in the world. Craig is the founder of Design That Rocks, a client-focused agency delivering a wide range of creative services, strategy, and marketing since 2007, Rub That Rocks offering handcrafted seasoning and dry rubs since 2019 and has been member of the Kiss Army since 1975. 

Erin LaBonte Headshot

Erin LaBonte

The Art of Creating an Effective Proposal

In today’s world part of being an artist is successfully crafting a proposal for artist residencies, exhibitions, murals, and grants. This presentation will guide you in considering recommended proposals to apply for, where to find these opportunities, and how to prepare for them. I will walk you through reading and researching artist RFPs (requests for proposal), the value of professional networking, budgeting, and how to effectively and professionally present yourself.  I will share personal experiences, portfolio building tips, and the importance of being authentic and concise when communicating your goals.  

Learn More About Erin:

Erin LaBonte received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and her Master of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She has participated in artistic residencies in Costa Rica and Argentina and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Erin practices many artistic mediums in her own studio work.  She is an advocate for bringing art to public spaces and for community engagement.  Erin is dedicated to inspiring and educating young artists in their personal explorations.  She served as associate professor of art at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI for nine years, and is currently a middle and high school art teacher in Kewaunee, WI.  She and her partner, Don Krumpos formed Yonder, an art space, in Algoma, WI in 2019. 

Rob Neilson Headshot

Rob Neilson

Public Art is like Robbing a Bank - Because That's Where the Money is

When famed bank robber and the 11th person to make it to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, Willie Sutton was asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, Sutton famously replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” I was once asked why I got involved in public art and I gave the same response, “Because that’s where the money is”.

Certainly, I was being flippant, but I was also being forthright. I love the balancing of the practical and the profound. But… I also very much enjoy making a living making my art. There is no one, single way to “get into public art” let alone “how to make a living making public art” so those “secrets” must, alas, remain cloistered. What I can offer in place of a satisfactory solution to this sometimes seemingly enigmatic field of public art is an account of how I got started, what I’ve done, and what I’ve learned from the triumphs and tragedies, the feats, and fiascos of 20 years in the “public art racket”.

Connect with Rob:

Learn More About Rob:

Rob Neilson is the Frederick R. Layton Professor of Studio Art and Professor of Art at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Born and raised in Detroit, he received a BFA in Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rob has exhibited his sculpture, installations, and drawings at galleries, museums, and alternative spaces nationally and internationally. Neilson has created public art commissions throughout the United States, including projects in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington.

In 2006 Rob was Artist in Residence at the Kohler Arts/Industry program and has been a visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Virginia Tech University, Longwood University (Virginia), Dickinson College (Pennsylvania), Millikin University (Illinois), and California State University. 

Lauren Marie Nitka Headshot

Lauren Marie Nitka

Think like an Entrepreneur, Not a Struggling Artist

I will focus on the importance of why an artist should think like an entrepreneur, and how this mindset shift is powerful. As artists, we need to move beyond the easel. I’ll help artists to begin to assess the different roles they have to engage in as an entrepreneur. When artists explore their possibilities beyond their fine art pieces, they begin to build a reputable brand that invites new opportunities and multiple revenue streams.

Connect with Lauren:

Learn More About Lauren:

Lauren Marie Nitka is a Milwaukee artist, educator, and curator from Greendale, Wisconsin. She attended Wisconsin Lutheran College from 2014 to 2017, receiving her Bachelor’s in K-12 Art Education and Elementary Education. As a professional artist and art educator, Lauren has not only enjoyed participating in the Milwaukee area art scene, she has collaborated with and led a number of community art projects with organizations such as City on a Hill, teaching young artists with a focus on art history and entrepreneurship.

Working primarily in oil and watercolor paints, Lauren’s art reflects on her experiences and memories while engaged in the creative process. This ranges from the vivid colors and abstract blossoms found in her Flora Folk Collection, taking inspiration from the Polish folk art, Wycinanki, as a nod to her Polish heritage to her architectural renderings of the Americana-style facades in her Greendale Collection, inspired by the 1930’s Greendale Originals located in her hometown. A portion of Lauren’s body of work has evolved into a form of worship in which she engages in the creative process while painting at live praise and worship events, in particular at City of Light Church on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

One of Lauren’s core beliefs is that art should be accessible to everyone. Her works of art are available as fine art pieces and prints and are also designed into merchandise to integrate into everyday life. She prioritizes supporting small businesses by sourcing the materials used in her merchandise like candles, stickers, and more from either locally-owned or U.S.-owned companies.

Lauren has a passion for helping other emerging artists develop opportunities and gain recognition as she aims to grow in the Milwaukee art scene. She has curated pop-up gallery nights at small businesses, notably Glassnote Candle Bar in Walker’s Point, Milwaukee, bringing together artists and art collectors from all over the Milwaukee metropolitan area. These gallery nights allow guests to experience an evening which seeks to engage all their senses through skillful curation, including gourmet beverages, ambient fragrances and immersive music.

Most recently, Lauren has launched a bit-sized podcast catered towards artists who want to take their first steps into selling their art professionally. This opportunity allows her to continue transforming her own studio practice by applying her creativity and teaching background to her entrepreneurship.    

Lisa Wicka Headshot

Lisa Wicka

Peer Review: Group Critique (Optional Symposium Add-on)

Looking for feedback on your artwork? Join the Peer Review following the Business of Art Symposium. Those who join will be invited to set up their work for review by all attendees, organizers, and presenters. UW-Green Bay Associate Professor, Lisa Wicka, will facilitate and provide guidance through the process, and provide tips on talking about your artwork and making connections. Each participant will leave with written feedback from a selection of visitors.

Peer Review will provide a great opportunity for you to: 
1. Present your work in a professional way
2. Practice talking about your work briefly with others
3. Receive feedback on your work
4. Make connections and network

To be best prepared:
1. Bring 3-4 pieces of work for review
2. Bring any display easels/items/etc. you may need (one table provided) 

Connect with Lisa:

Learn More About Lisa:

Lisa Wicka is a mixed media printmaker and educator. Her work revolves around the evolving self through experience, place, failure and success. Often referencing architectural spaces, wallpapers, and raw materials, her work plays with perspective, dimension, fragility and time. Wicka graduated with her BFA from the University of Central Florida and MFA from Purdue University. Her work has shown both national and internationally and she has participated in numerous residencies and workshops including SparkBox Studio, Women’s Studio Workshop, Ålgården workshop in Sweden, and Officina Stamperia del Nataio in Sicily. Wicka currently is Associate Professor of Printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. 

About Artdose Magazine:

Founded in 2013, Artdose Magazine LLC is an independent print and digital art magazine committed to connecting and supporting the visual arts in the Midwest. Published by Frank Juárez, the magazine is premised on the belief that we all share common goals of introducing, engaging, educating, and offering diverse art experiences.

About NWTC Artisan and Business Center:

The Artisan and Business Center promotes the production of art in the NWTC district as a means of fostering the creation of new job opportunities through the entrepreneurial model. NWTC seeks to provide technical and business training for aspiring and practicing artisans. The College promotes the appreciation and awareness of art through collaborative partnerships, year-round credit, and non- credit classes, as well as open studio and studio rentals.