I believe it is essential to get out of our own work spaces and experience different people, places and approaches in order to grow as artists. I am a potter who travels for learning and enrichment. I understand the necessity for careful spending and investing in our work. You won't be surprised to hear that I'm on a serious budget; I must look for value where I can (I generally stay at airbnbs which cost under $80/night. I mostly buy groceries to prepare meals at the rental). So, when I built the studio and began planning workshops, I kept my own budget in mind.
I spend a tremendous amount of time organizing and hosting classes, workshops, and other events. Here are a number of aspects that factor into pricing each workshop:
Visiting artist transportation:
often flights, transportation to and from the airport, (sometimes) to the next venue.
clay, glazes, and tools I might not already have on hand.
Wood for the kiln:
If it's a wood fire workshop (its own world of expense depending on source, delivery, prep).
Not only do we have housing on the premises, the guest house is lovely. We’ve put a tremendous amount of resources into making it a comfortable place for artists to rest between studio time, down to providing towels and simple, but beautiful bedding.
Participants bring their own food necessities. However, the shared kitchen is stocked with staples: coffee, tea, milk, butter, oatmeal, cereal; and during warmer months, fresh vegetables from my garden. Also, I provide a nice group meal on the last night.
This is all before paying the ARTIST. Our culture grossly under-values artists and their work. The artists I invite are worth every penny and more (that's another blog post). I'm happy to pay whatever an artist requests if it fits my mission and I believe their example and process will benefit participants.
I generally cap participant numbers at eight (this number varies, depending in the focus); this allows for personalized attention, creating space for deep, intimate conversations about the process.
So, each participant generally pays around $200/day for small group instruction, workspace in a light-filled studio, lodging, (in some cases) a wood firing, and learning in a small group. This is less than some people pay for a nice hotel room.
All of these things considered, I believe it’s an incredible value.
If you have questions or comments about the ins and outs of running a small artist retreat/workshop, get in touch. Better yet, come experience one for yourself. I'll leave the light on for you:)