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Teaching Art: Why it’s Valuable, And How You Can Do it

April 5, 2009

The best practical art experience I’ve had was working for the Green Apple Art Center. It was a big room above a few store fronts, and for a few hours every day kids and teens would come in and learn to draw, make art, and get an art education not provided in public schools.

When I got the job, I had only completed one year of art school at Emily Carr University, my only experience with kids was babysitting, but I walked in with a resume and a month later there was an opening.

If you’re making art of any kind, you have skills you can teach, anything from basic self-expression to complex techniques like silk screening.

1. Define what you want to do.

Who do you want to teach? Kids can be fun, but may be a handful. If you’re already a professional artist, you may want to do more specialized adult workshops. Every artist has their own favorite techniques, and you could do a short class on your own techniques.

2. Start with the people around you.

Do you know anyone who repeatedly says, “I wish I could draw?”  Parents may jump on the opportunity, especially if any of the kids are already showing a lot of creativity. You may have a network of artists who would be interested in learning your process and techniques.

3. Connect with an Organization.

There may already be places where you can sign up to teach art. Call the schools in your district, where you might find teachers looking to add some creativity to the curriculum. Art Centers are always offering classes, and you will be offering just what they need.

4. Advertise.

Craigslist, local free papers like the Metro or 24, or church newsletters. Get the word out! You may find you’re busy enough after steps 2 & 3 and then word-of-mouth carries you from there.

5. Teach Classes.

Make a lesson plan, gather the required equipment and a place to hold the lessons, and get started!

6. Expand

As your students learn from you, they will be likely to pas your name on through word-of-mouth. They may buy artwork from you and they may sign up for more classes.

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