Professionals present at Southern’s annual art symposium

group of business and visual arts professionals presented to Missouri Southern students at the 7th Annual Nannette Philibert Business of Art Symposium. The event took place in the Fred G. Hughes Stadium North End Zone Facility at Southern on Wed., Nov. 4.  

Those who were able to attend the free and public event, in person or online through Zoom, heard from regional art and business professionals that shared career opportunities and challenges for artists. This year the event began with an introduction by Associate Dean in Plaster College of Business, Dr. Thomas Schmidtand Kenneth Surbrugg of the Small Business Development Center at Southern.  

The first presentation was given by Emily Frankoski, the director of Connect2Culture (C2C), which is a Joplin based non-for-profit arts organization founded in 2009 to enhance community through arts and culture. The mission of C2C is to “ignite a passion for the arts, culture, and entertainment.”  

Frankoski discussed the influence of the arts in Joplin – economically, culturally, and through community orientation. The organization has been raising funds for the last several years to build an arts complex to be named the Cornel Complex in downtown Joplin, across from Memorial Hall. She encouraged student artists and others in attendance to take advantage of the resources offered by the organization. This includes the local Art Agency, events, connections, and the future Cornell Complex which will be a home for the arts and local artists.  

Following, the Chair of Southern’s Theatre DepartmentErik Wolf, announced a new degree certification, available to Southern students, in art management and leadership. It is a 17-19 credit hour certificate program, including an internship that provides students with the business knowledge necessary to be successful entrepreneurs. Wolf also shared that the hope is to see this program eventually evolve into a master’s program.  

Shaun Conroy, the exhibits director at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, followed in the lineup with a presentation on “Professionalism in Exhibiting for the Arts.” Conroy focused on the quality, professionalism, and consistency in exhibiting your work as an artist in order to become a professional artist. Some key points he discussed was the importance of networking  and learning from  other artist’s experiences, working with your fellow artists and taking advantage of the resources they offer. 

Storytelling is your ability to talk about your work in a concise way, said Conroy. 

Conroy said that you have to be patient and intentional about your impression and influence, allowing your narrative to play out by being consistent and letting your fan base build.  

Conroy covered many specific issues relating to artists in the professional world and concluded with three important points. First, he confirmed that you don’t have to be famous to produce good work and make a good living off of that. He then stressed the importance of collaboration with others as a very powerful tool that allows you to get offline or out of your head to get out into the world. Finally, he stressed the importance of supporting fellow artistscrediting mentors, thanking galleries, and being genuinely kind and professional to those that help in your development as a professional artist.   

The final presenter at the symposium was Cody Langford, the former senior graphic designer in the e-com department of Camping World. According to a press release, “Camping World Holding, Inc. (together with its subsidiaries) is Americas largest retailer of RVs and related products and services.”  

Langford’s 20 plus years of combined experience as an art director, graphic designerworking with agency and in-house creative teams gives him a great perspective. In “Working as Part of a Creative Team, he discussed working as part of a creative team and the attitudes necessary to be involved and successfulBeing adaptable and becoming the right fit is important to be an integral part of a team 

Langford stressed the importance of building professional character and a good reputation. This included being committedresponsiblecommunicative, professional in a remote setting, your authenticity and empathy. He went on to add your ability to be bold, confident, brave, adaptable, and finally, to be a rockstar. He said it is wise to surround yourself with people that push you to be better and empower others to succeed and encourage them to do what they do best.   

Langford took an extra few minutes to cover the special circumstances artist’s face in light of COVID-19. He spoke about his personal struggles and experience of finding work during a pandemic. 

According to Langford, when looking for work, it is important to be prepared with your resume, cover letter, and portfolio to present them in easy to access formats. He spoke of the importance of not limiting your resources when job searching. Finally, he encouraged those in attendance to not give, but rather to keep a schedule. To stay busy while you search, have faith and trust the process, and strive to remain top of mind by putting in the effort.  

According to a press release, the Business and Art Symposium is held each fall. The event was developed by former Missouri Southern Management Professor, Nannette Philibert. It is a result of collaboration between Southern’s art department and the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SouthernThe SBDC is a University of Missouri Extension Partner funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.  

The event was well attended both in person and online through Zoom, allowing for another successful year of the symposium and providing business information to art students.