Whether teaching is already an important part of your creative business, or you’d like to add it to your repertoire, you may be considering pitching your workshop ideas to creative festivals and events. These 5 tips will help you get started!
1) Decide what’s most important
There are many different reasons you might want to teach at an event or festival. You may be interested in building your reputation, sharing your love of the craft, traveling, getting free admission to your favorite event, learning how to networking, earning money, or some combination of all these factors.
Being clear about your purpose, especially initially, will help you to narrow down your list of events, as well as your workshop topic ideas.
2) Choose potential venues
Now that you’ve narrowed your focus, start looking for events that might be ideal for your talent. Here are some simple ways to find craft festivals and events.
- Search for “YOUR CRAFT events,”
- Follow the updates from your craft guild,
- Look for fliers at your local craft supply store,
- Review your state or regional tourism office’s calendar of events, and
- Ask your friends and fans on social media for recommendations.
Once you have a list of events, consider which ones are the best fit for your goals.
3) Review the guidelines
Many established events have a well developed website with speaker/teacher applications, but newer or more grassroots events may not. Reach out to the contact for speakers or teachers if you need more information.
Once you have the guidelines for teachers, review the compensation practices and the workshop submission guidelines. Many festivals do not pay newer or less established teachers, but may offer other perks like free admission, parking, or a small table in the vendor area. Be sure you understand what you are getting into before you send in your pitch to avoid confusion later.
To increase your chances of being selected, be sure to review information about the target audience for this event. This will help you to hone your pitch.
4) Craft your pitch
Consider different formats, such as a demonstration/lecture, a hands-on workshop teaching particular skills, or a more conceptual workshop on a topic related to color or material selection. If the event is established, look at last year’s schedule to see what types of classes were offered (and what classes sold out or were cancelled).
Many festivals and events allow you to send in multiple pitches. This may be your best option if you haven’t been to the event before. If you submit multiple pitches, be sure to indicate on your application or cover letter whether you’d be willing to teach them all if selected, or if you’d like the jury to choose just one.
Be sure to follow the event’s guidelines for submitting an application (including deadlines and formatting) as you finalize your workshop proposal(s).
5) Submit, wait, and follow up
Once you submit your application to teach, it will be reviewed by a jury, or in some cases, an individual workshop coordinator.
The teaching application will often include the date when the organizers expect to notify prospective teachers. If you haven’t heard back by that date, consider sending a gentle reminder to find out more about the status of your proposal.
Additionally, if you receive an award or media coverage, or have another notable event in the life of your creative business after submitting the application, you may want to alert the organizers. Some times, these things can tip the scales in your favor.
If you aren’t selected during your first round of applications, don’t despair! You can always do more research and apply again next year.
Have you taught at a craft festival or event? Share your tips in the comments!
You can find more ideas about pitching your workshops to festivals and events in this episode (and the accompanying blog post) of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show podcast.
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