If you’ve been teaching at shops for awhile, national art events might be your logical next step. However, they’re not the best choice for everyone.
For the first year or two, expect to lose money teaching at art events. Event paychecks may look juicy, but when you factor in travel, supplies (that you provide), and prep & recovery time, it can equal minimum wage. Events often require more complex classes, with far more info, more demos, plus more handouts and supplies that you provide.
To learn more about paycheck issues at events, see my article, What Art Teachers Are Paid.
You’ll need to create very different classes than what you usually teach at shops. Students won’t pay high event prices for classes they can take — for far less — at a local shop.
You’ll need to steadily create new classes, anyway. Some of your event students will go home and teach the exact same class… for far less than you’d charge. They may even use your handouts without your permission. (Almost every teacher has dealt with this at least once. Be gracious about it, but be certain they’re crediting you for the original information. After all, that’s good for your reputation.)
Some teachers continue teaching at shops. Many don’t.
Within a couple of years on the national scene, other income opportunities will open up. National events make you into a ‘name’ in this field. Your artwork might earn higher prices in galleries. You may discover licensing opportunities, book contracts, and — of course — fabulous networking… but don’t count on that your first year or two.
The tricky part can be bringing in income during those “bridge” years. Etsy is one of many options.
Teaching at national events propels your career so quickly, it can be breathtaking. It’s not a smart choice for everyone. But, if it works well for you, the personal rewards — far beyond the paychecks — are tremendous!