A few weeks ego we came back from the FABAIC. It's always a busy time a year flying to Florida and meeting so many amazing artists! Just like every year, we try to bring to you new and fresh information, sharing our ever growing experience from running the Art Factory here in RVA.
This year I was happy to teach a new class and share our experience about art parties. I have several artists approach me and asked if I can share the class notes so I will do my best to post them all here.
There are several aspects to keep in mind when considering if to add an art party service to your business:
Unlike face painting, your paycheck for one event can grow by 300%. You get paid per head but you do not need to personally touch each person attending. Where a face painter can get paid anywhere from $100-$200 per hour, an art party has the potential of seating 30-40 attendees and each one of them will pay anywhere from $35-$45 depending on location for a 2 hour class. (Do the math)
Another amazing benefit is creating a community. You actually have time to get to know your students and create a connection that quickly creates a following. Some of our customers come back multiple times to paint with us. We love getting to know them! At this point we created a relationship and trust in our business so when the next event comes around they will call us and trust us to work with the kids. This kind of relationship is priceless, you can never buy it.:)
If you choose to add this service to your business, make sure you check the local ABC law in your area. Some states are easier than other. You better know the law rather then ignoring it. If you are hosting a party in a location that already serves alcohol you have nothing you worry about. You will be automatically covered under an existing license that is obtained by the business you are partnering with. If you have a location such as church etc, you may need to obtain a one day banquet license.
Lets be clear, This license is for attendees to consume alcohol they bring from home, not for you to serve or sell it!
All local ABC law can be found online, you just need to do local research. I also found that the local ABC officers are very nice and helpful. After all they want you to play by the rules so if you have any questions you can just call and ask, you will be amazed by the service you will get!
For adults attending classes, the going rate is $35-$45 per person. That includes all the supply and a large stretched canvas. (We use 18x24" canvas for the adults)
The cost for kids is anywhere from $15-$25 depending on location and service. That includes all the supply and a small stretched canvas. (We use 11x14" canvas for the kids)
Since you need to sell seats or tickets i find it useful to do it all online. That way if a group of ladies contacts us about arranging a group event, we can set up an event page for the group and remove the cash collection responsibility from the organizer. Each person can pay their way and still attend one privet event. It's a nice service to offer and it is free to use. We use .eventbrite.com
Setting up an event page takes about 5 minutes and you can be password protected.
You will need to cover the table you are using. We used to have disposable table cloths but noticed how
the cost quickly add up and take away from your margin. They also seem to look cheap and unprofessional.
Go to the local hardware shop and find some drop cloth canvas that is lined. That way if someone spills water
or wine you will be able to clean it up without any damage to the furniture below.
Also you need to avoid working over a carpet. Always assume that paint water is going to spill, it happens often.
You do not want to be responsible for any staines that may happen so its better off to roll a rug or if you have
no choice, bring drop cloth to cover the floor.
Once the table is covered, each student get the following paint party supply:
Table top easel: use a light one, that folds easy. there are some great easels sold at the craft stores but they may
weigh alb each, do you really want to carry 40 of them from one event to the next? Mobility is everything so pack light!
We tested several kinds and the ones we have at our locations are the best. They may not last you as long as wooden
ones but they will pay themselves off in one visit and will save your back over and over again.
Canvas: Stretched and primed. Pick the size that works best for your client and project.
Brushes: Remember that your clients will not treat the brushes as good as you will, don't invest your best dollars
on this tool, plan on replenishing your supply several times a year. Make sure you get short handled Teklon brushes.
If the handle is long it opens a door to more water accidents... they are just harder to handle for beginner artists.
You will need a flat brush and a round brush per attendee. At least 1/2" on the flat and a #2 or #3 for the round brush.
Water container: Each student gets their own container, they are not made to share. 12oz cups work great.
Make sure they are water tight.
Paper towels: Each student starts with one, but you will need more for sure! We buy them by the case from
Costco and always have a lot handy.
Paint Pallet: You want to be able to throw them away at the end of the class. Find cheap paper or Styrofoam
plates and always make sure to bring extra.
Paint: We get our paint in large containers with a pump. We will soon have some available at the art factory store. We tested many sources before finding the right paint. Don't buy anything in a small tube, it has to be inexpensive and basic. You will see your students using a a lot more paint then they actually need even after you provide the first serving. It does not have to be top of the line but it does have to offer good coverage.
Aprons: If you get cheap ones you will have to buy them over and over again. Getting nice washable aprons will save you money in the future and you can put them in the laundry as needed.
Additional items to bring for you to use:
• A large zip-lock bag to place all dirty brushes. You do not want to wash them at your customer's house!! take the dirt with you and clean it quickly when you get home.
• A large trash bag (or two) to collect all the plates and paper towels after the class.
• A water container with a lid to pour water into individual cups.
• teacher floor easel. Try to find a tall and sturdy one that will last.
• Business cards
• Business cards
• Clip board with sign up sheet for your mailing list. Adults will want to know when and where is your next class.
Teaching techniques: I suggest gathering some of your best friends and doing a trial class. You need to really simulate the classroom in order to understand the challenges you may encounter. I do not trace the canvases before the class starts. This is not a coloring class but a painting class. the results will vary based on the skills of your students but you will be amazed how great they can do if you really brake it down to basics!
Make it fun!
Remember that the people attending the class are in it for the social aspect.- They want to have fun!! They are not expecting to become Picasso right after they leave your event. Some may be very stressed just for stepping outside their comfort zone and trying something new. I try to keep the environment funny and loose. I show technique and teach them how to correctly load a brush while reminding them that they need to make sure they don't drink the paint water or wash the brush in the wine. (it happens more often than you would think) If your students have a good time they will come again and again, and will refer you to their fiends!
After all a referral is the best compliment ever.
Art Factory- Body Art & Party Place