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difficulty of initiating art center workshops

updated fri 4 nov 05


marianne kuiper milks on wed 2 nov 05

Hi y'all,

I have a question others may be struggling with as
A friend of mine, very involved with her community's
art center, has begun initiating workshops. Although
the first workshop was filled, she felt that there was
a reluctance of sorts without a real excitement to
continue. Finances are a problem, of course, in
particular when you want to begin with a "bang" and
try get the Big Names.
She sounded so disappointed and I didn't really know
how to help and what to suggest.

Stupid me..we have Clayart!!

Any suggestions how to start this, making it
financially a feasible (sp?) project, how to announce
it to the community in general etc etc?
One of the things I can think of is to put a BIG
article, pictures and all, in the papers, "look what
YOU missed!" kind-of-thing.

Thanks fellas. Marianne

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Vicki Hardin on wed 2 nov 05

In terms of getting people to attend your next workshop, I would start an
e-mail list. It is really an effective way of sharing information. The art
center where I have a studio has a list of over 3000 people and is sent out
monthly to let people know about events that will be taking place. There is
a lot of response from that mailing. A list for a workshop group may not
need to be that extensive, but would, I think, help to provide people with
information on what is going on. The list I am talking about just started
from a form that was passed around and everyone who wanted to be emailed
signed up.

Vicki Hardin


Bonnie Staffel on thu 3 nov 05

This topic is of special interest to me. I did the research for our art
center to get a "name" potter who would fit the variety of potters in
our remote area for a presentation this past June. The center did their
typical low key advertising. The workshop was only getting a few to
sign up. So I began by making personal phone calls, emails to all the
potters I knew as well as some area guilds, Clayart and other art
centers. So I achieved a full workshop which went just great. The
presenter was engaging and knowledgeable. Got those attending working
very hard to do the experiments he presented. I would like to see such
a workshop presented again in 2006 as well as presenters with less
national reputation just to exchange knowledge and methods. I would
also like to see the center as a gathering place for artists and crafts
persons to meet and have mini conferences. Dream on. Financial
problems loom. Winter weather gets in the way as well.

I also am hearing because of financial restrictions, the clay program is
being changed to a more low key effort. There was such a difference in
how the Atlanta Mudworks advertised the same potter presenter in
comparison what our art center did. Marketing is so important to keep a
program running successfully. However, others are running the show and
who knows which road they will take.

What is sad is that living up north in Michigan, we do not have the
opportunity to attend workshops as they do in the southern half of the
state, at least I do not due to restrictions of traveling and doubt if
many of the other potters who make their living up here attend. At the
recent Michigan Mud conference, there were a very few from around here
who attended, like three!!

When I began to work at the Campbell Folk School back in the late 80's I
was able to suggest and discuss with the director what was needed to
build the school's reputation and student attendance. He listened and
together we were able to build a variety of classes, upgrade all the
studios and accommodations. The school is enjoying the results of this
reputation by the new director and policies w

Thanks for listening.

Bonnie Staffel
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