2016 Secret Knowledge Conference

Thanks for making it a GREAT CONFERENCE!

What a day! We're still catching our breath from the 2016 Secret Knowledge Conference.

Thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, presenters, and everyone who attended.

2016 Secret Knowledge Conference Schedule

2016 Secret Knowledge Conference Workshops


Signs That You Shouldn't Sign That

Bryan Wasetis of Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Aspect Law Group covers contract negotiation self-care for freelancers & small creative businesses. Know what to look for, when to look for professional legal help, and how to access pro bono legal services in Oregon.

It Always Comes Down to Pricing

Kate O’Brien of Understory Creative talks about the greatest challenge we all face. Whether it’s your hourly rate for services, the price of a product you make, how you bid on a project, or the price you set for fine artwork - pricing is what matters most when it comes to making a living with your talents. This workshop will cover: How price tags influence the behavior of potential customers;  how pricing and business models work together; common pitfalls creative people face when establishing prices; and what we can do to overcome those pitfalls.

7 Steps to Building Your Arts Business

Drawing from decades of experience as a museum curator, art gallery owner, and small business advisor Bonnie Kahn shares her insights into starting and growing your arts business one step at a time.

Retail Explained

Dave Boeckel, CEO of William Henry shares his insights into why people buy & illuminates what really matters and what really doesn’t when it comes product pricing, wholesale selling and building relationships with buyers at retail stores.

Subscribing Your Tribe: how to start, grow, and feed your direct email list & still feel ok about it.

Direct email lists are a great way to keep people engaged about what you do, drive sales of what you make, and promote performances. Albert Kaufman of AlbertIdeation shares his insight into building your email list from scratch and addresses the emotional side of email marketing: How often should I send messages to my list ? Who should be added to the list based on interactions ? What does it mean when someone subscribes or unsubscribes from my list ? How do I know if i’m doing it right ?

Resistance Tactics from Creative Realtors

To stay in Portland creative people need somewhere to live and somewhere to do their creative work. Annie Rose Shapero & a co-presenter share insights into collective home ownership & provide an insightful look at commercial leasing for artists work spaces. This is a must attend workshop for anyone who thinks they can never own a home and for artists scrambling to find studio space in Portland.

Spring 2016 Whisper Posse Report

Creative work is brave work. In 2016 we designed a program to help creative people stick to their guns and build their careers, it's called The Whisper Posse.  Noah Kleiman leads a discussion of the real-life challenges faced by participants in the Spring 2016 Whisper Posse. Join us for true tales of the real bravery of ordinary people - leaving day jobs, running kickstarters, setting prices, bidding on contracts, balancing creative fulfillment against stable pay checks, and navigating the jungle of independent creative business  - told in vivid detail.

Rejiggering Your Release Plan 

Releasing a new album can be a driving force to build momentum for your music career. With so much hanging in the balance and so much to coordinate, it really helps to have a solid release plan. Indie music publicity luminary Sierra Haager of Public Display PR takes us through the planning, promo, and press work it takes to drop a new album without fumbling.

Walking The Dual Path: making your art while running a business

Patricia Morrison of Inner Fire Outer Light discusses the challenges of managing a creative practice alongside a creative business and shares insights into making it work. This is a must see workshop for anyone who divides their work between doing something creative and running a creative business. 

Slicing the Pie Right: creating clear agreements for creative collaboration

Peter Vaughan Shaver of Sound Advice LLC talks about what matters financially when creative collaborations succeed and how to create mutually beneficial agreements when entering into a new creative collaboration.



Keynote: Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish

Secret Knowledge Exchange

Secret Knowledge Exchange Sessions

This is the heart of The Secret Knowledge Conference, a chance for you to connect with creative people and swap insight, share resources, and support each other. Secret Knowledge Exchange is a series of focused mini unconference-style workshops woven into the fabric of the day. That means if you want to know about something and it didn't make it into the main conference schedule, you can learn what you need by bringing it up at an exchange session. Secret Knowledge staff & volunteers will be on hand to help broker knowledge sharing at these sessions, so you can focus on getting what you need & sharing what you know. Everyone has secret knowledge worth sharing. Simple insights help in such surprising ways. Presented by you & everyone else. Facilitated by Annie Rose Shapero.

Collaborative Art Jam with SCRAP: Secret Garden of Knowledge

 Take a break and do something creative with our program partners at SCRAP. We'll be creating an art garden where attendees can leave and find notes of wisdom.

Event Info

2016 Secret Knowledge Conference - Register Now

Talent Alone Isn't Enough.
Join us for a full day of community connection, utterly useful training, and creative empowerment.

Saturday, November 19th 10:00am - 8:00pm

Jupiter Hotel
800 E Burnside St

What the Secret Knowledge Conference is:

It’s a full day of utterly useful professional training and community connection for artists, musicians, and other creative-types.

Let’s face it, turning your creative talent into a working livelihood is challenging. Talent alone isn’t enough. The Secret Knowledge Conference is about sharing real creative business wisdom you can actually use.

You’ll learn from people who understand the challenges independent artists & musicians face.

You’ll go home knowing exactly what you need to grow your creative career.

Registration is limited to 100 people.

Register Now



FLOCK $99 per person (groups of 3 - 5)

Pair $139 per person (groups of 2)

Single $249 

(need help getting to the conference, request a Fee Reduction by Friday Nov. 18th at 5pm. )

Fly Higher, With Less Flapping

Get more this year with the new Enriched Conference Package,

Enriched Single $374

Enriched Pair $264 each

Your Enriched Registration includes:

2016 Secret Knowledge Conference Registration

1 hour of one-on-one insight with Secret Knowledge's Noah Kleiman during the 12 months after the conference.

The Conference is better when you Flock Together.

Save up to 60% when you Flock the Conference

A flock is 3 - 5 friends who register together.

You'll get much more out of the conference if you go with people you know. Together you and your flock will be able to attend EVERY workshop we offer. Team up on the topics which matter most to you. When the conference ends and you actually have to do the hard work, your flock will have your back.

Need help gathering your flock? Use this handy Facebook event to invite your friends.


Secret Knowledge Conference


FLOCK $99 per person (groups of 3 -5)

Pairs $139 per person (groups of 2)

Any refunds issued will be to the original registrant for all transacted registrations. That means if someone in your flock flakes on you, you can't cancel just one registration, so find someone to take their place. That said, we wish you a flakeless flocking and an arts-y ca-reer.

By registering and attending the 2016 Secret Knowledge Conference you are consenting to being photographed at this public event and granting Secret Knowledge permission to use images of you from the event in our promotional and marketing materials.

What happened last year?

Workshops announced so far are listed on the 2016 Secret Knowledge Conference page. Secret Knowledge will continue to announce our workshops and presenter line-up for 2016 as workshops are confirmed and catchy names for those workshops are crafted. In the meantime you can get a pretty good sense of what The Secret Knowledge Conference is all about by checking out what we offered LAST YEAR at the 2015 Secret Knowledge Conference.

Evangeline LaRoque on the 2015 Secret Knowledge Conference

I loved this conference! I came away with some wonderfully useful information and strategies which I have now very successfully integrated into my business. I also really enjoyed connecting with so many different creative people and came away feeling inspired and excited about what I do and the path I'm on.

- Evangeline LaRoque, Music & Video Producer



Rebecca Van Damm on the 2015 Secret Knowledge Conference

Rebecca Van Damm and Joel Barker chat during a Secret Knowledge Exchange Session

I signed up for The 2015 Secret Knowledge Conference because it seemed like a safe bet that I would learn at least one useful insight to help me with my music career; I figured I'd make some good connections, too.

The Secret Knowledge Conference really delivered.

I got a lot out of the workshops but the real "secret" of the conference, for me, was what I learned from talking with the other attendees. It was super helpful to connect with other creative people who have had some success and were willing to share some keen wisdom around building career momentum and cultivating a following. I took notes voraciously.

After the conference, I went home and turned my notes into a 2016 music release, tour, and promotion plan for my band, Major Love Event. Applying what I learned at the conference made planning the next year so much easier. I finally know what my next steps are and how to go about taking them. I hope Secret Knowledge offers the conference again next year, when it comes time to start planning for 2017. I'll be there.

- Rebecca Van Damm, Musician



Testimonial from Anna Fritz

Ihave been working in the music industry for more than 15 years and people have tried numerous times to explain the complicated minutiae of music licensing to me. Finally understanding this stuff was worth every penny of the registration fee. Thanks for the dose of clarity and empowerment, Secret Knowledge!

- Anna Fritz, folksinger/cellist



An up-and-coming designer meets a CEO at The Secret Knowledge Conference

While I was unable to attend the entire conference, I was there long enough to see real value in the presentations, and see a number of "Ah ha" moments occur during those same presentations.

-Dave Boeckel, CEO at William Henry Studio

The Secret Knowledge conference is a great opportunity to interact and engage with individuals that are keen to develop business skills for their creative endeavors. One of the greatest advantages of the conference is that people of all skill levels and skill sets can find opportunities to grow through either the lectures provided or interactions with other people attending events. 

The Secret Knowledge conference creates a learning environment both through conventional methods of the classroom and through open discussion and personal success stories; artists, musicians, and craftspeople come together to share personal success stories as well as challenges in an effort to allow artists to do what they do best in the modern world.

-Connor Ebbinghouse, Designer

Connor Ebbinghouse and Dave Boeckel meet at The 2015 Secret Knowledge Conference

Connor Ebbinghouse (right) meets with Dave Boeckel (left) at the 2015 Secret Knowledge Conference



Secret Knowledge - Teaching Artists