Have you ever wondered if you could run a workshop teaching your art? Discover how to create workshops in this blog.

Well today I’m going to break down how to create workshops into easy bite-sized steps, so you can get going straight away. In a previous blog: ‘Start Teaching Your Art From Scratch In 7 Simple Steps’ we explored what you need to have ready before you start teaching your art. Here we are going to go a bit deeper into what it actually takes to set up and run an Art Workshop.

For many years I ran three one-day workshops very successfully.

  • Fun With Acrylics.
  • Pastels For Beginners.
  • Drawing For Beginners.

Over time I listened to what my attendees wanted and honed the content accordingly. I had a large box with all the materials in, and grew a list of interested people who might like to join in one day.

Of course I also have a teachers background, so this gave me a slight head start (you can read My Story here). But these skills are easily learnt and you can, with practice, build your own style of teaching.

Now when I say ‘Workshop’ I assume you will offer a full day. But of course it’s also possible to do just a morning or afternoon. As well as a weekend workshop – this you could build up to of course.

What Are The Main 7 Things You Need To Know When Teaching Your Art With Workshops?

One: Subject matter.

So go back to your art business plan if you’ve done that, or start by listing out what you could teach. Then do your market research to find out what else is out there and that you are not conflicting with anyone else.

I believe that offering something more niched will get higher attendees, so long as it’s a relevant topic.

So instead of ‘Acrylics For Beginners’ try ‘Success With Acrylic Mediums For Beginners’ or ‘Outdoor Landscapes In Acrylics For Beginners’. You get the idea.

List out 5 to 10 possible titles and then get some feedback from friends, relatives or possible attendees. Does the title aptly describe what’s on offer? Is it exciting enough? Then choose one and go with it.

Two: Target market.

Having got your topic and a title for your Art Workshop, now you need to get really clear on your Target Market.

For Example you can answer these questions:

  • Who is it exactly that will attend this day?
  • Where abouts will they travel from?
  • How old are they?
  • What do they do as a living? Or are they retired?
  • What is their budget for this kind of workshop?
  • What are their expectations of your day?
  • What is their previous experience with art?
  • What are their beliefs in their own ability?

Having a very clear description of whom you want to work with will help you enormously. No just with the content planning but also the marketing strategy you use.

Three: Date and time.

Sounds basic doesn’t it? But make sure you think about your target audience when you pick your day. If you are aiming at the more mature market for example, they may be happy to have a weekday. Whilst your full-time worker will want something at the weekend, Saturdays usually work best.

Next think about the timings. Starting at 9am, means your attendees will need to get to you for 8.30 to set up. If that’s a weekday they may not wish to travel through the rush hour. So having a 10am start is better.

I used to offer 10am till 4pm and found this worked really well.

Four: Venue & refreshments.

Having a great venue for teaching your art can sometimes make or break your day. Don’t forget this is going to be ‘an experience’ for your attendees, so make sure the whole day is smooth and effortless for them.

Will you be providing all the refreshments? Or do you have somewhere nearby you can take everyone to for lunch? Have you factored in the cost of providing this? And yes it always goes down best if your day includes everything…

Things to consider:
  • Easy to find.
  • Ample free parking.
  • Public transport nearby.
  • Quiet setting minus any traffic or building noise for example.
  • Great daylight.
  • Running water.
  • Toilets with disabled access.
  • A location for lunch.
  • Beautiful or quirky setting.
  • Cost effective.

Sometimes it can be a tall order to provide all of these things.

*I ran mine from my garden studio. But then I also did Open Houses 4/5 times a year as well. You will need to get a special ‘Working From Home’ insurance as well as ‘Public Liability’ if you are planning on doing this. If you don’t and someone falls, hurts themselves etc. you will find you are not covered.

Five: Pricing:

OK on to happy topics – how much should you charge? This can depend on so many variables of course. Your business strategy, your experience or credibility, and/or your niche topic – and more.

Most artists look around and charge what others are charging which I feel is totally wrong. This can often lead to you working hard, delivering a fabulous day and walking away next to no money.

Firstly let’s look at your business strategy:
  • You have room to take 20+ people and plan to offer a ‘next step’ where you will make more money.
  • So you make your initial workshop say $47 or $97 and run them quarterly.
  • You have a small space and work closely with 4 people. So you charge around $497 or so as they will get a lot of 1-2-1 time with you.

You plan on running these every month, so again may offer a lower price.

Just remember that you want people to buy your Art Workshops based on VALUE not PRICE…

Six: Marketing & sales:

Of course there is no point in putting together a great looking day, if you have no bums on seats. I recommend starting to market at least 6 to 8 weeks beforehand. I have written quite a bit on marketing in general on this site, but will be writing a more bespoke Workshop Marketing Plan in the next couple of weeks.

Create an event online with a booking system, as well as printed booking forms – depending on where and how you will be promoting. Have some ‘Early Bird’ tickets and Full-Price ones too.

Think about your Marketing Copy – the wording that will demonstrate the benefits of attending your day. As I’ve mentioned offering an ‘All-Inclusive’ day works best and people don’t have to think about anything except turning up.

Seven: Content & material:

Then comes the content. I advocate only planning the outline of your day and then selling those all-important places first. Once you know you have people coming, then you can invest the time in getting your content done.

Think about the overall main aim for the day. What is it people will take home with them? Most people like to take away a finished something, so bear this in mind.

Work out your timings throughout the day, and write it all out.

Next it’s time to organise your materials and work through a lunch menu if you are doing this yourself. Don’t forget to ask if anyone is allergic to anything and have all this on your Booking Form.

Lastly, put together a sheet with your ‘Next Steps’ on it and any Special Offer you have for booking on the day. Then create a Feedback Form and have your attendees fill it out before they leave. You want to know how it went of course??

Here Are Some Hot Tips For Teaching Your Art In Workshops:

  • Have a good balance of ‘teaching’ and ‘doing’ – remember the 80/20 rule.
  • Compliment everyone often and encourage them to do more.
  • Have regular short tea and coffee breaks – they are here to have fun as well and learn things.
  • Make sure your venue surroundings are inspiring and beautiful to look at,
  • as this may be the thing that has the most impact.
  • Set up some ‘rules’ for the day – this makes it easy for you to ask ‘the talker’ in the room to be quiet.
  • Don’t be afraid to be The Teacher in the room – adults love this environment. Be funny, light-hearted and serious when you need to be.

There you have it, a simple run-down of what you need to do to get going teaching your art in an Art Workshop. I hope this has inspired you to get out there and do this too.