Recently on social media someone asked “How do you get the word out about your pysanky classes? I have mostly sent emails to homeschool groups that I or friends have been part of. Is it worthwhile to advertise in community papers?”
There are established art and craft schools, where professionals and amatures, both teach and take classes. These classes can be for a longer period of several days/sessions. Many times there is a link for teaching on the website, that will address your questions.
One spring, when I was visiting New England, I started looking for craft schools. I found an interesting place and did a cold call, bringing along a basket of my eggs. The director was kind enough to see me and hired me for that summer. It was a 3 day course, that included a stipend, travel expenses, lodging, meals and a lab assistant-who worked the open lab in the evenings.
The following year, I was contacted by another prominent school, which had seen that I was on staff at the New England school the previous summer. They contacted me by email and hired me (for three seasons). In this case I didn’t have to promote myself, as they found me online. I volunteered for the school’s opening day season launching, demonstrating egg writing, hoping to recruit students for the summer session.
Benefits: these venues do their own advertising, enroll students online, you are under contract, so get paid; some pay for travel expenses, with an open lab run by an assistant. Because classes are longer students get to work on several eggs, which brings out a high level of enthusiasm and creativity.
Go online and search community art centers within 30 miles of where you live. These smaller schools have fine art classes all year round. Often there is a link for teaching on the website. Contact the director via email. A follow up telephone call makes a personal touch, asking if they would set up and appointment in person for you to show your craft and discuss teaching a class.
Benefits: they advertise, enroll students online and collect fees; you often negotiate a stipend for teaching
You may want to hold a class at your own church center; search for an ethnic eastern European church is practical, if this is your first experience. Many of the members may have written pysanky or remembered a family member, who wrote pysanky, so interest level can be higher. Ask the web master to add the class information to their website.
Benefits: people have strong interest in tradition
Start early-around January, to speak with the head librarian(and bring your eggs) to request a display space for your eggs. Discuss with them the idea of having a class in the spring. Create a flier with contact information as hand-outs, to distribute to interested people. Ask the librarian to add the class information to their website.
Benefits: high frequency of visitors to the library, they often have large spaces for holding meetings
Search for museums within the radius of where you are willing to travel. Many museums are currently holding family days and are interested in demonstrations or people who are willing to teach all ages. Contact the curator. Follow up calls are useful and practical if you haven’t heard back in a while.
Benefits: enthusiasm is high, interest in history and tradition
Meet with the recreational director. Bring your eggs or even photos of previous classes on your Ipad or tablet. Ask for assistance in sign-up and collecting fees before the class.
Benefits: large spaces for holding meetings, some have art rooms, good interest level
My own experience required each child be accompanied by a parent, (as we use flames and aniline dyes). If there is one parent, who is willing to work with you, that person collects the cost of the class fees ahead of time, and keeps you informed of the numbers. I did not charge that person as they helped me with sign up, etc.
Benefits: strong interest in tradition
Recently I taught at a garden club, following their 10 minute meeting for the month. Ask the web master to add class information to their website. You can ask for assistance with sign-up and collecting fees.
Benefits: large groups, good interest level
Timing is always important! So search for the arts section in your local newspaper. Make note of who is writing the articles and contact them ahead of the Lenten/Easter season. Tell them you are teaching a class at one of the venues you have already set up. Ask them to include all information about the upcoming class (we get a lot of students this way). Ask if they would like to do a story on your eggs around the holidays. Frequently they also want to shoot a video for their website, with an accompanying article.
Benefits: they advertise your class for you
Demonstrations are a way to get recognized, and may elicit students. In one case, I spent an evening demonstrating at a popular art center during the “Holiday” gift shop, and display of my eggs. My class at this center was scheduled for February that year, so I hoped the demo would encourage people to sign up… and it did!
I also have demo-ed under the tent of the art school, where I was going to teach that summer; at the largest county fairground in my state. I distributed brochures for the school and my business cards.
Benefits: attendance was high at the state fair, the arts school was well-known.
Be sure to discuss back up dates in the event of extreme weather changes.
Ongoing Email List
A most important part of all of your future classes, keep handy with you or make available a sign up email sheet .
Hold onto them! With the data you will be able to send out each year an email of information on your classes, etc., which may elicit return customers or friends of a friend…