2021 Arts Symposium

2021 Arts Symposium2021-09-14T13:46:59-07:00


Small Business Development and Marketability for Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs

The Business for Artists one-day symposium will offer nine different workshops that focus on the development of practical business and career skills for artists, featuring local speakers from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), College of the Canyons, and The Masters University, as well as accomplished artists from the Los Angeles area. Our speakers come from a diverse set of backgrounds and arts disciplines such as film, fine arts, and music, representing the talent of arts and entertainment that define both Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. Whether you are an emerging artist that is looking to get their foot into the field, or a mid-career artist that is looking to be more in-tune with the world of social media and digital marketing, the Business for Artists Symposium is the perfect opportunity to learn valuable skills and expand your creative network.


Symposium Panelists

Edgar Arceneaux

Edgar Arceneaux is an artist working in the media of drawing, sculpture, and performance, whose works often explore connections between historical events and present-day truths. He played a seminal role in the creation of the Watts House Project, a redevelopment initiative to remodel a series of houses around the Watts Towers, serving as director from 1999 to 2012. His work has been featured at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Performa 15, New York; and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, among other venues. Arceneaux is also an Associate Professor of Art for Roski School of Art and Design at USC.

Roman Jaster

Liz Manashil

Post-graduation from USC Film School, Liz spent several years directing for the PBS/Hulu series “Just Seen It.” She also directed shorts and music videos at this time, including Beth Thorney’s “You’re So Pony.” In 2015, her debut feature (which she wrote, directed, produced and cast), Bread and Butter, was released by The Orchard. It played on Hulu and airlines across the globe in addition to VOD platforms. HelloGiggles called it, “an absolute must-watch for women everywhere.” Her second feature (which she wrote, directed, produced and cast), Speed of Life, was called “delightful in just about every way” by noted film critic Tim Cogshell (of NPR’s “FilmWeek”) and is airing on Showtime. Liz directed Lina, starring Laura San Giacomo and Sandra Seacat which is currently screening at festivals. She’s attached to direct and help produce I CAN CHANGE, a sci-fi feature written by Amy Starbin, and starring Jennifer Carpenter. She is also the co-host of hit podcast Making Movies Is Hard!!! Liz Manashil specializes in feminist content with a whimsical twist.

Kellie Cunningham

Prof. Kellie Cunningham is an Instructor of Piano Pedagogy, Group Piano, and Collaborative Piano at The Master’s University, where she directs the Piano Kids program and administers the annual Invitational Piano Festival. In addition, she co-directs the Women’s Chamber Choir at TMU as well as directing an 80-voice children’s choir at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley. A nationally certified teacher of music (NCTM), she has been teaching piano lessons since 2000, and currently maintains a private piano studio in Valencia, CA. She received her Master’s degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in Piano Pedagogy, from the University of Oklahoma and was awarded B.A. degrees, summa cum laude, in Communication and Music from The Master’s University. She has received numerous awards, including the Margorie Martin Caylor Scholarship Award and the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as recording as a solo vocalist on a Grammy-Award-winning album. She has also presented both nationally and internationally on piano pedagogy topics. She currently chairs the Committee for Students and Young Professionals for the 2019 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and has previously chaired the Scholarship Committee for NCKP. She is a member of the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA), the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC), the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), and the California Scholarship Federation (CSF). Kellie is committed to seeing music education as a means to instill a love for creativity and beauty in her own life and the lives of her students, ultimately as a reflection of her Lord Jesus Christ.

Mercedes McDonald

Mercedes McDonald is a successful and well-known freelance illustrator and exhibiting fine artist. Her artistic style is characterized by vivid color pastel that depict her childhood memories and multi media narratives. Ms. McDonald taught illustration at the California College of Arts, San Francisco for six years, and at California State University, Fullerton. She teaches Illustration, Painting and Drawing classes at College of the Canyons. Education: BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (now SCAD), California College of the Arts graduate work in Drawing under a full merit scholarship, and the San Francisco Art Institute, where she earned an M.F.A. in painting.


Scott ‘Sourdough’ Power

Welcome to NOT REAL ART where we champion artists and their work. My name is Scott. My friends call me Sourdough. Talking to artists and other creative professionals over the years, I know how difficult it is to make a living in the arts. Inspired to make a difference, I created NOT REAL ART to help amplify and share artist’s talents with the world.  NOT REAL ART celebrates artists and empowers their work with unique stories, podcasts, grants, experiences and more. As you’ll see, we are art cheerleaders, not art critics. Artists have enough critics. They need more cheerleaders!

People sometimes ask about our curious name. NOT REAL ART is pure satire. And, artists get the joke. NOT REAL ART parodies those who question the legitimacy of artists and their art — Are they a Real Artist? Do they make Real Art? NOT REAL ART provides a progressive alternative to art world conservatism, a place where art is for all and all are welcome! So, if you enjoy art and creativity, NOT REAL ART is for you.

Frederick Thornton

One of my earliest, most visceral memories was when my older brother, Duane, took me to see Jurassic Park in the summer of 93 at the Southgate Plaza theater in Ohio. Like most kids, I was fascinated with Dinosaurs, in love with them, had toys of them, and probably dedicated way too much of the space inside my young brain to them. So when he offered to take me to see a movie that was about nothing but dinosaurs, well I leapt at the chance. Fast-forward to the scene where the T-Rex is chasing the Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and Robert Peck in a Jeep, and my six-year-old brain had decided that we were doing watching this nightmare movie, and it was now time to run screaming and crying out of the theater while my brother followed quickly on my heels laughing…

I remember multiple times passionately watching my father tinker with his Nikon 35 mm film cameras. I recall frustrating days and nights as he taught himself how to shoot video when camcorders became affordable to the masses. Though it was just a hobby of his, it quickly became a hobby of mine when he bought me my first camera– a 110 mm point and shoot. My mother, who worked during the day and took college classes at night, always made sure to take time at least once a month to enrich me in some form of artistic culture. Be it visits to the Cleveland Museum of the Arts, local productions at children’s playhouses, or even just reading books to me. No matter how exhausted from her long days and nights, she never missed an opportunity to make sure that I had a well-rounded understanding of the arts.

​Yet– growing up a Black kid in the Midwest, I never thought about it being a career possibility. Even once my family moved to the greater Los Angeles area, it always felt like something that was never intended for me. It wasn’t until after my father abruptly passed away, and I found myself spiraling through life trying to figure out where my place in this world was, that I discovered film as not only a career option– but as an escape. An escape from the inner torment that was running through my mind and spirit, a place where I could take the emotions and thoughts that were storming inside me, and put them out into the world where others could connect with them, and have a shared experience of life across vast oceans and international borders. Film became my way of finding my place in this world.

Fast-forward to over a decade later, nine produced feature films, A Gotham Award surrounded by various other awards and accolades, and countless other projects I’ve left my mark on– I found myself looking back within once more. Terrified but absolutely knowing it was time to take a leap of faith, bet on myself, and firmly plant myself in the Writer/Directors seat. To tell the stories I’ve always wanted to tell in the manner that I want to shape them in. No longer the shy nervous kid from Warrensville Heights holding his dad’s freshly broken camcorder– but an ever evolving man always trying his best to create authentic works that speak from his heart and connect with my fellow lost and wandering beings.