Running an art workshop is a great way to share your skills with others and inspire people, young and old, to try new things. If you’re thinking of running one for the very first time, we’ve put together some ideas to help get you started…
4 Benefits of an Art Workshop:
- Teaching art to people helps with your artistic development.
- You’ll be inspiring others to get interested in art and learn new skills.
- Workshops help you focus on your own techniques and are a good remedy for ‘writer’s block’.
- They’re a good way to network with other artists.
Know your Audience
It sounds obvious, but start with your audience. Depending on who you’ll be working with, you’ll need to offer different activities. It’s about understanding their particular needs.
If you’re working with young children, they won’t be accomplished artists – but they will be very creative. Older people looking to get into art for the first time might be more comfortable with something like watercolours. Student artists will probably be digitally-savvy.
You want to challenge your audience, but make them feel comfortable too. Start by bullet-pointing some initial ideas for the type of projects you’ll run.
Send out a resource pack
A couple of weeks before your first workshop, send your attendees an email or letter pack detailing what they can expect from the day. This will be your first point of formal contact so it’s a good opportunity to say hello.
- Include a short bio – it’s not about promoting yourself, but giving people an idea of your experience and who you are as an artist and it’s a great way to connect.
- If you’ll be running some really crafty, creative projects, you might need them to bring some art products with them – let them know.
- Ask everyone to come to the day with a short statement explaining what they want to get out of it.
An information kit ahead of the workshop helps to provide some structure for the day and will ensure your workshop runs smoothly. You want your people to get something from it, after all.
Don’t be authoritarian
As you’ll know, creativity isn’t about totalitarianism. You want to make sure you ‘lead’ the session, but it isn’t about you being the boss. An art workshop should be collaborative and democratic. Work on creating an informal atmosphere conductive to creativity.
Don’t forget about how the set-up and furniture of a room can affect the vibe. It’s not a good idea to position yourself at the head of the group as this makes you look like a teacher. Have your artists sit in a non-hierarchical circle – this’ll foster more ideas and collaboration.
Ideas, ideas, ideas
A successful art workshop needs ideas – and lots of them. As explained earlier, depending on your audience, you’ll need to tailor the type of projects you offer depending on your audience.
For children, it might be better to focus on just one activity (making a sock monster, say) that’s stretched out across the whole day. If you’re working with adults, you could pepper the session with short, sharp bursts of activity.
Follow it up
Make sure you continue the relationship after the workshop ends. You could connect with your attendees on social media, encourage a follow-up session in a few months’ time or start an email conversation where the team shares with each other what they’ve been doing.