How do I Start My Own Art School?

Artists often face difficulties in making money by merely selling their art pieces. So, a majority of them look for alternate sources to earn a better and steadier income. While some find work in museums and galleries, some others take up the teaching profession in the field of art. Further, a few of these even start their own art school.

Although opening a new art school is challenging, it brings great rewards in the long run. At your own art school, you have the discretion to focus on particular theories and techniques of your choice and preference. Besides, you get to teach and inspire aspiring artists about what worked best for you.

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How do I Start My Own Art School?

As an entrepreneur, you can start your own art school once you have built your educational background or gained the requisite experience and decide upon the type of art school you wish to open. Finally, devise a financial plan, choose an appropriate location, and promote your school.

Given below are the detailed steps to start an art school:

Build your Profile

It is recommended that you complete a relevant course in art before starting your own art school. You can go for fine arts major in photography, sculpture, painting, video art, or related areas. A standard level course should enroll in a four-year college or university and make sure you attend all the classes you have planned for your school. It is generally preferred to obtain a graduate-level degree in a particular field as it enhances your profile’s credibility.

However, if a formal education course is not feasible for you, you can build your profile by getting relevant experience. Exhibiting your artwork at several galleries is one good way to convey credibility to your prospective students. Further, your experience working with popular clients or receiving awards in the field also adds to your reputation.

Decide the School Type

You can run your school as a non-profit or for-profit organization. If your ultimate goal is not money, then you may start the school as a non-profit institution, for which you will probably be granted money by NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) or similar organizations. Generally, every state has its own arts councils that provide funds for art projects. You may check the websites of these groups to know about the different kinds of grants awarded. On the other hand, if you intend to start school as a for-profit business, you will have to seek a business consultant’s advice.

Alternatively, you may open up a school in alliance with an already established entity like a local community center. For working as a part of a larger entity, you have to contact the center’s managers to learn about their curriculum and other criteria. Starting your school via a community center makes way for rapid exposure, in contrast to beginning from scratch.

Evaluate Financial Requirements

It would help if you created a budget plan covering the costs of advertising, student tuition, class space and supplies, employee pay, and overhead expenses. If you have opted for a non-profit route, you will have to send a proposal to request grants from respective organizations. Once you get the approval and the requested grant, you should use it exactly as described in your proposal. Further, you do not have to pay tax on such expenses.

In case you have selected a for-profit system for your school, you may have to get a business loan to cover the initial costs.

However, if you have partnered with a community center, the starting supply costs and advertising expenses are likely to be paid by them only.

Choose a Suitable Location

After you have completed the legal formalities, pick a good location for your school. You may look for an attic or a one-room space that is adequate for your art supplies as well as for accommodating around 20 people. Besides, make sure that the place does not violate any rules or laws of the city.

But if your school is set to open with the help of a community center, you do not have to worry about the space, as they themselves will provide you one.

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Promote your School

Finally, it would help if you reached your potential students through promotional means. You can create a website and a social networking page for the online visibility of your school. Also, you can advertise your school through art magazines and newspapers. While promoting your art school, remember to highlight its unique features and the techniques and theories you plan to teach.

If you are a student you can learn how to see your next year’s classes in our article.

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is an experienced economist and financial analyst from Utah. He has been in finance for nearly two decades, having worked as a senior analyst for Wells Fargo Bank for 19 years. After leaving Wells Fargo Bank in 2014, Daniel began a career as a finance consultant, advising companies and individuals on economic policy, labor relations, and financial management. At, Daniel writes about personal finance topics, value estimation, budgeting strategies, retirement planning, and portfolio diversification. Read more on Daniel Smith's biography page. Contact Daniel:

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