Artists’ Workshop Model: Florida’s Amelia Island Artists Workshops

On October 16-17, 2010, I’ll be in beautiful Northeast Florida to give a 2-day workshop to about 50 amazing (I’m clairvoyant) artists. Will you be one of them? Early registration ends September 15.

Amelia Island Artists Workshop is organizing this 2-day event. Their unique business model is something I thought you might be interested in hearing about, so I asked them for a short interview.

What is Amelia Island Artists Workshop?

We (Sandra Baker-Hinton and Mikolean Longacre) met through mutual art friends and decided to take advantage of your free materials at Art Biz Connection. We ran the Amelia Island Artists Salon in 2007-2008. We founded Amelia Island Artists Workshop in 2009 to bring nationally known and recognized artists from around the country to teach artists their particular art techniques. Through the workshops, we could supplement our income, take classes with artists we loved and, and publicize our artwork.

Mikolean Longacre and Sandra Baker-Hinton

We knew Northeast Florida would be a good place for workshops because of the beautiful location, fantastic wildlife, quaint downtown, pristine beaches and proximity proximity to the Jacksonville Airport. [Alyson notes: My October workshop is less than 45 minutes from Jacksonville and 2.5 hours from Savannah, GA!]

Why did you want to throw an art-marketing workshop in with the mix?

We found that your Art Biz Coach website and information was one of the most useful to us as professionals. As artists working on making a living, being organized, having shows or just setting goals is essential to growing as an artist. For Mikolean this is a second career and she found that amazing growth–in sales, shows and recognition—after using your art salon information. We have proof it works, so we wanted to add a business workshop for serious artists.

How many workshops do you organize each year?

We have 13 this year and we are working on 24 for 2011 and 50 for 2012. Our goal is 100 courses in five years.  We want to create a local school of traveling and local instructors–along the line of the Scottsdale Artists’ School in Arizona. At this point we are focusing only on booking nationally recognized artists or instructors in order to develop the reputation of our company.

How many artists attend the workshops?

We limit classes in most cases to 15 people. (Your upcoming art-marketing workshop is an exception. We expect to have 50 people there.) We have taken classes where there were too many people. We think that when you pay good money, you should expect individual instruction and critique. So far this year we have had a little under a 100 artists take courses and we still have seven more courses that will take place in the fall. Pretty good for the first year!

Tell me about your partnership and business arrangements.

We are a for-profit Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Sandra is our local publicity person, blogger, registrar, accountant and cheerleader. Mikolean is the webmaster (novice), arranges the workshops with the instructors and facilities, runs the individual workshops, answers telephone calls about the workshops, and develops the schedule.  We both come up with unique ideas and ways to get publicity for the workshops and we divide up the implementation depending on who is the least busy or the most enthusiastic.

The proceeds are split equally, but we are putting most of the proceeds back into the business and expect to keep doing so for a year.

Any advice for other artists who want to follow your workshop model?

We advise artists who wish to organize workshops to first know how to organize your own art career first. This is the same discipline that is required to organize workshops. When you are in charge of workshops, you are responsible for other people and their hard earned money and you have an obligation to be organized. You must also love making art so that you can know what teachers will be best for your group.  Practically speaking, you must be prepared to do whatever you can to get publicity for the workshop and to find students. Lots of hard work and discipline are involved. We do our happy dance when everything comes together just right!

Be sure to register by September 15 to get the early bird discount for the October 16-17 workshop in Northeast Florida. I promise you two days packed with information, plenty of motivation, and an opportunity to spend quality time with like-minded artists.

Read more about my art-marketing workshops.

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