Own business: a new generation art studio

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The Openbusiness website has many articles on how to open a school or art studio. Recently, however, courses of a new format have appeared. They are called creative or creative studios, creative thinking development courses, express drawing courses, rapid drawing schools, etc.

Currently, such schools exist only in large cities of our country, but it is safe to say that this business model has been very successful, so such courses will be popular in the regions as well. Moreover, their organization does not require large expenses (at least not more than when opening ordinary drawing courses).

What is the difference between traditional art studios and new generation studios? The whole difference is in the approach. The appearance of the latter was due to the relatively low demand for drawing courses among adults. Perhaps you have already considered the possibility of opening a similar school in your city and even did a little marketing research. If your survey results indicate that the demand for such services is high among people over 18 years of age, do not rush to organize a school. There is a high probability that you will indeed recruit the required number of people in one or even several groups. But the standard drawing course, which is based on the traditional teaching system, takes a lot of time. Even with a great desire to finally learn how to draw well, many people quit classes after a month and a half.

Among other reasons, they cite lack of time, long distance, inconvenient schedule, etc. But in most cases, the main reason for not attending such courses, according to their organizers, is that students do not see the results of their efforts. In fact, it takes several months of hard and diligent work to succeed in learning to draw according to the traditional program. Most people are focused on a quick result and, without waiting for it, often give up further attempts.

The technique of quick drawing learning is based on the work of the right hemisphere of our brain. This technique is based on the theory of the American neurologist and Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry, who proved that the right and left hemispheres of the human brain are responsible for different types of activity. So, the left hemisphere, which is also called verbal, is responsible for analytical thinking and logic, and the right (figurative) – for the perception of color, shape, for intuition and creativity. Accordingly, a person who does not know how to draw is sure that he will not succeed, so he does not even make attempts at drawing. American Betty Edwards proved in the late 70s of the last century that this opinion is erroneous. In her opinion, the ability to draw, like any other skill, can be easily developed. Actually, Edwards and developed all the exercises for teaching drawing by the “right hemisphere” method. Teachers of art schools and studios simply take them as a basis and develop their own express courses.

They can come in two formats. In the first case, these are actually courses lasting from one month, which teach the basics of drawing. The course includes both theoretical and practical parts. At the same time, the basics of academic painting are taught in the theoretical part. Courses of the second format are rather separate master classes.

For each lesson, a specific picture or photograph is selected, and all students, including those with no experience in drawing, make a copy of it. At the end of class, each student takes their painting home. Of course, this can hardly be called a full-fledged drawing. It’s closer to copying or redrawing. But it’s fast (working on a small picture takes 5-10 minutes, working on a large one – 20-30 minutes), the participant receives the result by the end of the first lesson (you can immediately frame your finished work), can use the knowledge gained for further work on redrawing (according to course leaders, after the first lesson, even a beginner can draw a large canvas measuring 60 by 90 cm).

Thus, the quick drawing technique is suitable for teaching adults who want to learn how to draw, are not ready to wait a long time and for whom the final (and quick) result is important. The greatest profit for such studios comes from holding master classes on weekends (one lesson costing from 1,500 rubles per person lasts about 1.5-3 hours, depending on the size of the picture being drawn), selling materials and frames.

This technique is suitable mainly for adult learners. Children, unlike adults, do not have the fear of drawing and the initial conviction that they will not succeed. However, do not limit yourself to one technique. For example, you can give workshops on intuitive drawing (similar to art therapy), drawing with different materials, on different surfaces, etc.

To organize your own art studio, you need a spacious room with good lighting. Of course, it is desirable that it does not require repair, be clean and comfortable. Many schools and studios rent premises in educational institutions, in various clubs, in art houses, etc. This is a good option, as it allows you to save on renovation of the premises, on the purchase of the necessary furniture, and partly on advertising (you can hang ads about the recruitment groups to your studio in the lobby of the building where you rent the space). However, the state of this class is likely to be satisfactory. It may not require a major overhaul, but it will probably need a cosmetic one. In addition, with an hourly rental, you will not be able to quickly change the schedule of your work. And it is quite possible that by the end of the first week of work it will turn out that that many of your clients would be more comfortable with a different class time. You won’t be able to take on multiple groups or make a tighter schedule to expand your choice of courses.

Keep in mind that most of your adult students will be able to attend classes in the evening (after work) or on weekends. The number of people in the group should not exceed 10-12 people (otherwise you will not be able to pay due attention to everyone). Thus, if you want your studio to become not just an additional income and hobby, but also a favorite job, business and a permanent source of income, you need to think through all the possibilities for its development. Try to expand your target audience, develop courses not only for adults, but also for children. This will help optimize your schedule, because children attend extra classes either in the morning or in the afternoon, depending on what shift they study at school.

If you are going to rent one or more rooms for courses not on the territory of educational or leisure institutions, decide in advance on its location. Of course, ideally it should be a center (it will be easy for both children and adults from other areas to get there), but the cost of renting space in the center may be too high. So a room in one of the large areas near the transport interchange (public transport stops, parking for cars, etc.) is also suitable. There should be at least two or three rooms. One is the reception area, where the administrator will be located and parents who are waiting for their children after classes will be able to accommodate. Classes will be held in the other two. Make sure that the premises you rent meet fire safety requirements.

Make sure all the “classrooms” in your studio are clean and comfortable. This does not require a lot of money. Some of the work can be done independently. Hang pictures on the walls, curtains or blinds on the windows, take care of good lighting, buy comfortable furniture (at least chairs) and easels. Think through every detail, including flooring. Carpets and carpets are not suitable for hygienic reasons. In addition, they are difficult to wash off the paint. At the same time, you should not invest a lot of money in repairs if the premises are not in your property. Everyone enjoys working out in a freshly refurbished studio where there is a creative atmosphere, but this alone is not enough to attract customers, and high costs will increase the payback period of your project.

But at least half of the success depends on the professionalism of your teachers. They should be not only good specialists with pedagogical skills, but also interesting storytellers (to interest listeners in theoretical classes), a little bit of psychologists and animators. Young teachers (recent students) are best suited for this role. Be sure to look at the work of applicants and ask them about previous work experience, used and favorite drawing techniques. Especially carefully you need to choose teachers who will work with children. They should be attentive to each student and at the same time not too strict. As you know, a bad teacher can discourage all the desire to learn.

A significant expense item is the purchase of the necessary materials for drawing. When conducting master classes, the cost of canvases, brushes and paints used by students is usually included in the cost of the lesson. Do not skimp on good materials: low-quality brushes and canvases can ruin all the fun of the creative process. But you can save money by purchasing them at small wholesale prices.

Before opening a studio, consult with lawyers on issues in which you yourself are not well versed. This will save you a lot of effort, time and money in the future. Don’t forget about ads. Standard methods – leaflet distribution, outdoor advertising, print advertising – work well, but are quite expensive. By the opening of the studio, you can print not ordinary leaflets, but invitations to free trial classes for adults and children or to paid master classes at a discount. Such leaflets, if distributed throughout the district where the school is located, will be much more effective than ordinary ones.

To open an art studio, you will need from 100 thousand rubles (minimum expenses, including renting a room in an educational institution, purchasing materials and minimal advertising). Payback periods range from 1.5-2 months, depending on the program and the cost of classes. 

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