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How to Set Up and Teach an Art Class from your own Home

Published on Jul. 9th 2012

Recently I attended a fun Saturday workshop on making garden ornaments. It was held by a hilarious artist who creates unique garden sculptures from wire, foil, fabric, gauze and found bits. She led us around her garden, pointing out the various fairies and goblins hiding in the grass, then we sat down to tea and ate biscuits while we created our own fantastic masterpieces.

Participants paid $100 each for the course, and since the artist held the workshop in her own home studio she didn’t need to pay any fees for a center, transport any of her materials, or pay a portion of her profits to a studio manager.

Running classes in your home can be a great way to make additional income as an artist. If you’re thinking of running a class in your own home, here are a few steps you’ll need to take:

De-clutter your studio space

You don’t need a dedicated studio to run your own art classes, although it does help! But whatever space you choose needs to look presentable to your course attendees. This means clearing away all your “life” clutter, cleaning the surfaces, laying down any protective clothes and placing examples of your work where it can be seen.

When participants enter the room, you want them to look at the space and feel excited to be there. You want the space to look creative and fun, not cluttered or dirty.

Decide what you’re offering

Part of the challenge of running your own courses is to decide on exactly what you’re offering. To start with, the best idea is to create a project that takes only a few hours to complete (remembering that most participants will be much slower than you are). The materials must be inexpensive, the steps easy to copy, and the finished product something that will always come out looking reasonably good, while allowing participants to put their own unique stamp on it.

Teaching a “project” rather than a series of techniques is a good idea, because being able to take home a completed object within a day will give attendees a real sense of achievement. You could always expand to teaching technique classes and more advanced project workshops later.

Advertise your class

Get some flyers printed up that explain when and where your classes will be run, the cost, the details of the project, and how a client could go about booking a class. Be sure to include lots of photographs of different finished projects so that potential participants can see what they will be making.

Ask local community groups and arts organizations if you can leave your flyers in their building. Also, put up flyers on community notice boards, and of course hand them out to your friends!

Teach your first class

Now you’ve got the necessary signups, you’re ready to run your first class! Don’t be nervous—it’s all about having fun. A few weeks or days before your class, practice making your project with a friend, and notice the areas where she has trouble or gets stuck. These will likely by the same places your students will have trouble, so prepare alternative ways of showing them what to do.

Lay out lots of different examples or the project or a huge array of different materials and embellishments. Make sure each person’s workstation is set up with all the materials and equipment they need.

As a finishing touch, put the kettle on, bake some biscuits, and you’ll be ready to go!

In my time as an art career coach, I've found that all too many artists ignore the need for legal documents and contracts in their business.

After all, you can sell your art on the strength of a handshake or write down a commission agreement on a napkin. . . but there really does come a time when well-written contracts are a necessity.

For instance, if you've started to exhibit. . . read more

If you're looking for something else. . .
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