"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!" Henry David Thoreau

How to Sponsor an Art Workshop
© 1998 Nita Leland

First, determine what it will cost for the following:

  • rental of a space and equipment (tables and chairs, projector, vcr or demo mirror). Check with instructor first to see which items are necessary.
  • instruction fee (demo and/or jury fees, if applicable, can be offset by entry or admission fees).
  • air transportation (including airport shuttles & luggage handling), car rental or mileage allowance. Take advantage of super-saver rates requiring a Saturday night stay, but remember this requires an extra night's lodging.
  • lodging (check on smoking preferences).
  • food allowance (per diem is simplest).
  • misc., such as coffee and snacks (sometimes students donate these).

Be sure to ask if instructor qualifies for any discounts on travel or hotels.

Next, figure out how many students you need, at what price, to cover all costs. Do you have a large enough group or long enough reach to get this many students? Do you have enough people to help with the arrangements and keep the workshop running smoothly? (Some workshops provide free tuition for whoever runs the workshop.)

You might want to charge a non-refundable deposit of $25 or so to cover start-up expenses until the full amount is collected at least a month before the workshop.

Find out when the space and the instructor are available. Get contracts signed with the site and the instructor well in advance of your date. Make deposits necessary to reserve the space and instructor's hotel room. Coordinate travel plans with the instructor and confirm who is making reservations. Arrange for airport pickup. Notify instructor to make travel reservations as soon as class is filled, or no later than 30 days before the start of the workshop.

Location (such as church activity room, recreational facility, school, conference center, etc.):-good lighting, water supply and disposal, restrooms, work tables and chairs, outlets for hair dryers, availability of restaurants or box lunches. For outdoor workshops, select a number of suitable painting sites for the instructor to choose from and check on: restroom facilities, availability of food.

Provide transportation to and from workshop with a safe driver or a rental car. Check on accommodations for traveling students, but have them make their own reservations. You may be able to get special rates for reserving a block of rooms, but be sure you don't get stuck with paying for rooms not taken. Advertising (if you need outside students): free notices in The Artist's Magazine (call for deadlines for Workshop Directories) and American Artist; flyer mailed to art groups in the area; notices for art group newsletters; Internet bulletin boards; notices to your local papers.

Call the instructor periodically to provide updates on workshop details. Request an updated supply list to send to your participants. Call at least two weeks before the workshop to confirm hotel name and phone, airport pickup arrangements, number of students, schedules for demos or judging.

Provide a class monitor to assist instructor with such things as clean water for demos, arranging for lunches and transportation, set-up of equipment for slides and videos. Be aware of ways you can help the instructor to give your students a good workshop experience.

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