Last week we talked about workshops from the point of view of artists taking them, what they look for, and how to make choices from the many options available. Today we want to talk about workshops from the perspective of workshop instructors. Many artists who have ideas and experience to share are drawn to workshop teaching. And teaching can be a very rewarding, interesting, and lucrative side job that fits well with an artist’s own studio practice. But it’s also a completely unregulated territory where success depends largely on personal reputation and endorsements, and where sometimes the best laid plans fall apart. What does it take to do well as a workshop instructor? What are some of the rewards of teaching workshops and what are some things to watch out for?
For those of you who are thinking of getting started with teaching workshops, it's important to carefully consider your own qualifications. You need to evaluate honestly whether you have the experience about the topic, and whether you have something original to contribute to your students. And no matter how developed you are as an artist, you may not know much about teaching itself. So, you also need to learn what you can about effective teaching methods, respond to feedback from students, and constantly evaluate and tweak your approaches.
There are many considerations for choosing what to teach, where to teach, the pay you want to receive, the number of students, and your own accommodations. And once you make these basic decisions, you need to be prepared with an accurate description of what you will teach, a detailed supply list, and if you are teaching outside your own studio, a list of what you would like the venue itself to provide.
Teaching workshops can provide not only a decent income, but there are also intangible benefits. Experiencing the fresh energy and perspective of beginners, and the sharing of tips and tools that often happens spontaneously in class, and hearing people's ideas and motivations is uniquely rewarding.
Going into teaching sometimes begins as a casual, gradual process among people you know, but once you are fully in you need to take its responsibilities seriously. Are you really serving your students in the best ways you can? Are you continually evaluating and revising your teaching agenda? You need to provide something important for your students and exhibit a basically generous and altruistic attitude. At the same time, it is also important to be treated well, and be well compensated for your time, experience, and dedication.
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What's new at Cold Wax Academy?
The Summer Quarter of Cold Wax Academy's membership program is now underway. Rebecca and Jerry's upcoming weekly live, online sessions will explore Personal Voice and Composition and continue the topic of Professional Development with some special guests. Member Critiques and Painting Clinics, Cold Wax Academy's new feature, are ongoing. You can join the membership program anytime and catch up with past recorded sessions at your own pace. Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for more information.
Also-- stay tuned for information coming soon about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can learn more and make a reservation by emailing [email protected]. A dedicated Espacio website is coming soon!
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."
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