Thursday, February 23, 2017

Workshops #3- consider putting one on.

Back to workshops-  in your neck of the woods.  If you do not have anything going on in your area think about starting something.

It takes at least one committed person but is more manageable with two.  I have been involved for at least 5 years with a very informal local art guild.  We are fortunate to have access to a community center that is not expensive to rent.  We put on 2 a year and I team up with another member to run them.  Gradually we have cultivated a group of local enthusiastic painters who want to take workshops.  This is just a small subset of our guild but the number has grown.  Here is a "how to" list of the process.

1.  Consider artists whose workshops you have taken, who have been recommended by others or whom you follow on social media.

2.  Plan it a year in advance.  The best artists schedule way ahead because they are in demand.

3.  Reach out to the instructors you would like to have and invite them.  Ask them about their fees and how they handle expenses.  This is highly variable in my experience and depends on travel distance, their baseline fees (usually priced per participant per day with a minimum number) and whether or not they will already be in your area.  We put the artists up in our homes and make sure that their transportation needs are met.  We cover their lunch expenses and have one or two group dinners (pot luck type) during the workshop.  Most of our workshops are 3 days, occasionally 4.  We limit the number of participants to 12.

4. Reserve the space.  If you have a space of your own that is great, but if not see what is available near you and what it will cost.  Think about community centers, neighborhood club houses,  meeting halls, friends with large studios or local studios willing to rent space for events.  Keep size and lighting in mind.

5.  Once you have the instructor and space reserved, inform your local artists.  If you do not think you can fill the workshop with locals ask the instructor to post it on his/her website and Facebook.

6.  Pricing depends on your overhead and what the instructor charges.  Require a deposit to reserve a spot. We ask for $100,  refundable until a month before the workshop when the balance is due.  After that nothing is refundable unless the vacancy can be filled.  Be sure that you explain your cancelation policy up front.  Keep a cancellation list and work it if needed.

7.  Make a mailing group of those who have signed up.  And- very important- create a file of all emails sent and received that relate to the workshop.  This will save so much time when participants say they can't find an email or never received one.  😩

8.  Get the supply list from the instructor and forward it to the group at least 6 weeks in advance.  Ask the instructor if the supply list is up to date.  (Participants get frustrated when they buy paint colors and other supplies that are no longer used by the instructor.) Let the participants know if they need to bring their own reference photos.  The week before remind them of the hours, place to meet, lunch plans and evening plans if any.  If you have participants coming from other areas send them lodging information or arrange for them to stay with local artists.

9.  Build it and they will come!  Save an email list of those who have participated in the past and stay in touch with them.  Having workshops in your area is fun and rewarding.

Feel free to post questions!

Here we are in our workshop this month with Chris Groves-

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