Making myself my own job...
October 24, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

I've sent so many resumes out by this time that the word resume has lost all meaning, and cover letter makes me sigh. Aggressive job hunting since July has turned up bupkiss. I need money. I really do. Social services gives me enough to not starve and that's about it. Not being able to do much other than go to my job experience job and to the grocery store is sucking the life out of me. So I sat down and tried to come up with a way that I could make money and still look at myself in the mirror. I want to do a Mixed-Media Art Workshop aimed at the art-curious, beginners, just liked art class in high school, and people looking to kill an hour without it being a dating set up.

This is what is needed:

1. Cheap or free space to hold the class.
2. Materials list (I've made a three tiered one)
3. hour long lesson plan
4. Clean up supplies

The first thing I'm still brainstorming. Someone suggested the meeting room at the local library, but I think there's a fee if you charge for the class, and I'm not sure how they'd feel about mess. Someone else suggested an American Legion Hall, but those places make my skin crawl for very personal reasons. If you have any suggestions or ideas, put them out. The cheaper the better.

My materials list is three tiered. Basic is one the students come to the workshop with: Sketchpad, canvas, loose art paper, or chipboard. Up to the person. But I will stress sketchpad because it's easy, cheap, and very portable. Pencils: 4H, 4B, and a regular no. 2. You can get them all at Michaels, A.C. Moore, and the art section in Walmart. Pen. Just one. Something that marks permanent. Small watercolor set/watercolor crayons or wc pencils, and Crayola is FINE. One paint brush for now.

The second kit is the basic kit plus Scissors, things to stamp with (actual stamps or things like bubble wrap and coffee cup sleeves, and some decorative papers. I can bring newspapers and old phone books to rip up, but any other papers should be something they picked out. I can also supply various special cut edge scissors. I can give people glue sticks.

The last kit is the basic and second kit plus cheap acrylics, gel medium, glaze, and gesso.

Everyone needs a basic kit at first. Then they can add as they go or feel comfortable. And if they want to just stay at watercolors and collage, that's fine.

I have some lessons in mind, but I need to sit down and time it out in my head. I figure it's an hour class, but the time will be an hour and a half. This way there's a 15 set up and clean up built into the ends. Then the class would be a solid twenty minutes of talking and demonstrating, fifteen or twenty minutes of walking around and guiding, and then the rest would be independent work and class sharing.

If I provided a place, the lesson, some materials and the list to build your own art kit, and the clean up supplies, then how much would something like that be worth? Keep in mind that I'm a self-taught hobby artist and can't claim to be educated at some expensive art school.

Any suggestions, corrections, ideas or what-have-you to add would be welcome.

Memail me if you want or email me at my Mefi username at gmail.
posted by FunkyHelix to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Community Centers might be a good place, my sister and a friend of hers taught Tai Chi. Also approach your local UU Church, they typically have rooms for this sort of thing (the Religious Education room if nothing else).

If you are making money from this enterprise, typically you'll be asked to kick some back to the folks providing the space, that's only fair.

Another option would be the local Witchy Crystal and Bookstore. You could do art projects that appeal to that crowd. Collages/Dreamboards, Dream Catchers, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:07 PM on October 24, 2012

We do these sorts of things through my adult education program all the time and they're very popular. Have you contacted any existing programs to see if this sort of thing would be in line with what they already offer? They tend to pay better over time. That is the first class you do a LOT of prep work and only get paid for your teaching time (if you do it through a program like ours) but if you do the same program five times, the last four times are much more of a cakewalk. I think it's a good idea to build setup/clean up time into class time, but don't overdo it. In my state you can't use the library for things that cost money or that the entire public isn't invited to, but this varies by location so I'd just call them and ask. Keep in mind that if you're doing this sort of thing without some sort of institutional support structure you will have to do all the phone calling/email and dealing with money and student satisfaction and room reservations and whatnot on your own. I would strongly encourage you to see if there is a local adult education program OR crafts center type of space near you that you could use.
posted by jessamyn at 12:07 PM on October 24, 2012

In my city, there are some restaurants that will let you use their private room for free if you encourage your participants to order something. Usually they are the older non-chain restaurants, but we've also used Denny's and Fuddrucker's. Do you have cafeteria-style restaurants where you are - Luby's, Furr's, etc. Or the type of place that has an Early-bird dinner special at 4-5pm. Many of those will have a meeting room.

You could also contact some of the groups in your area and ask them where they meet or if they know of other places - Chamber of Commerce, Lion's Club, Women's *whatever* group.

Oh, and one club that I know met in a room at a fairly posh assisted living facility (old-age home, but the really nice ones). The meeting had nothing to do with the residents, and I don't know if it was free or not, but that's another place to look.
posted by CathyG at 12:29 PM on October 24, 2012

Something that might be worth looking into would be seeing if you could partner up with craft/art stores that have rooms for classes and small workshops. For example, there are a number of Micheals stores where I live that do this kind of thign quite often. However, I don't know if they hire out of house, but it might be worth looking into. You'd have built-in interest from people who come into the store, and you could probably advertise there, as well. Maybe even get a discount on supplies that you would have to purchase.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:33 PM on October 24, 2012

I've done craft and other classes for Adult Education in several towns. You can charge a materials fee if there are a lot of materials. I did a collage class with mostly recycled/ scavenged stuff. It's not a lot of money, but they provide the space and list the classes. Look in the papers, esp. the arts/events papers, to see what else if offered, and where. There's a place near me that does 1 evening classes where people make a craft project. It's not junky, and is fun.
posted by theora55 at 6:08 PM on October 24, 2012

I used to work for my city government's Cultural Affairs program. They often times bought the art supplies & hired teachers from grant money, and then charged the participants for, say an 8-week course, meeting once a week based on whatever the teacher was qualified to teach.

I feel like I'd be more willing to take a more expensive class that offered all the materials needed rather than a less expensive class where I'd be expected to provide my own materials.

SpacemanStix's suggestion is a good one, as it wouldn't take me any additional time to purchase all the necessary materials, I could just do it right before the class.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 12:58 AM on October 25, 2012

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