Think Ames logo


Registration open for 2021 Business of Art Conference

The Ames Community Arts Council is pleased to announce that it has received an Art Project Grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The grant will support the 2021 Business of Art Conference, co-sponsored by The Octagon Center for the Arts.

The third annual artist conference will be held virtually via Zoom on Saturday, March 6, 2021 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Intended for both formally trained and self-taught creatives at all skill levels, the conference is designed to strengthen business skills and provide useful resources. Registration for the virtual conference is $35. Registration includes access to the sessions on the day of the conference and following the event.  There will also be a private Facebook group, allowing for conversation before, during, and after the conference.

The day-long conference features 14 sessions meant to inspire and inform, covering topics ranging from tax law and art advocacy to entrepreneurship and community building. Full conference information and registration details can be found online:

Along with a number of highly qualified local and regional presenters, the conference is proud to host keynote speaker, Jenie Gao []. Gao is a full-time artist, creative director, and entrepreneur based in Madison, Wisconsin. Her work focuses on creating cultural landmarks and records that define who we are. She is a writer and an advocate for equity in the arts.

In addition to presenting at the conference, Gao will be serving as the juror for Octagonal: The All-Media Exhibit, the annual all-media exhibition at the Octagon Center for the Arts. This exhibit attracts artists from across the United States, and provides significant cash awards. In 2021, the show will open on Friday, March 5 in the Community Gallery on the first floor of the Octagon. The application to submit, and other information about the submission process, can be found on the Octagon website at The application is open now, and closes on Sunday, January 17. Questions regarding Octagonal should be directed to the Octagon gallery director, Kristen Greteman, at

Hosted by the Ames Community Arts Council and the Octagon Center for the Arts, the Business of Art conference is being supported in part by the City of Ames Commission on the Arts (COTA) and the Iowa Arts Council’s Art Project Grant. Funding for the Art Project Grant is made possible by an annual appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and by the National Endowment for the Arts.


The Octagon Center for the Arts is a non-profit community art center located in downtown Ames, Iowa. The Octagon has been a cornerstone for the cultural scene in Ames since 1966. It serves more than 30,000 people each year through art classes, outreach, rotating exhibits, a retail gallery shop, and the annual Octagon Art Festival. Come experience the arts at the Octagon!

The Ames Community Arts Council is dedicated to celebrating the arts in Ames. To this end, the Ames Community Arts Council strives to bring people together through the arts, and to increase arts awareness, collaboration, participation, and education.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa-State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Brockpahler, Director | Ames Community Arts Council | (515) 259-0494 |
Rhonda Scott, Event Coordinator | Octagon Center for the Arts | (515) 232-5088 |

Submitted by Ames Community Arts Council

Back to News