January 11, 2011 | Alyson Stanfield

What Artists are Getting Paid for Teaching

In 2010-11, I asked Twitter and Facebook followers what they were earning for their workshops. Here are some barely-edited insights. I hope you'll leave a comment with any updates in the last decade.

Nancy Bradford, Super Tuscan Sky
Nancy Bradford, Super Tuscan Sky. Oil on linen, 12 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

What Artist-Instructors Are Charging for Workshops

For my first workshop with a guild I made $255 for a 7-hour one-day workshop. My second time it went up to $275. In my new proposal I'm asking $325 (for the same workshop) and this includes travel expenses up to 100 miles from my home.


I usually charge $500 a day plus travel expenses for workshops organized by others, but I will also negotiate a ‘per student' fee sometimes. I have accepted $50 per hour when it's an amazing setting with food, travel, and lodging included. No materials included.

I only charge $75 for a 3-hour session- a Bargain- but I want to be accessible . . . you have to buy your own canvas, but I supply paint and brushes.

I charge $99 for 2 hours of photography or Photoshop.

For “community center classes” been getting $10/hr per person.

I've just started the workshop gig, and right now I have a rate of $95 for a day-long workshop. That cost includes a 25 page spiral bound workbook. If I didn't have the workbook I'd charge around $80. It's a per-artist rate. The workshop can handle up to 14 students with a minimum of six if I'm not traveling far. If I have to travel more than an
hour or two away, then I'll raise the minimum, depending on the travel cost.

For a two-day workshop I charge $185 plus a supply fee of $15-20. As for classes I've found I'm at the mercy of the art centers/leagues and guilds to what they pay anywhere from $20 to $30 per hour and that doesn't include the set up time and clean up which could take another half hour on either end.

Depends on what I'm teaching $90-145/day and $215-235 for two-day workshops.

What Artists Are Paying for Workshops

Some people told me what they were paying for workshops and classes.

$95 per student for 7-hour workshop. Can accommodate up to 14 students.

1-on-1 : $100/hour
all-day group: $200/person limit 6 people

$30/hour encaustic study for undergrad and graduate students. Can accommodate up to 3 students in studio.

2-day encaustic workshop (6 hours studio time each day): $300. Student responsible for materials.

High-end photo workshops are in the area of $1300 for 5 days.

I average paying $100 per day + material and model fee. There is usually a minimum class size of 6 and a max of 8-10. I have taken a workshop that cost as much as $150 per day, but included lunch and model fee. Most of these are 3-4 days.

What My Workshops Cost

Incidentally, my half-day art marketing workshops, where you leave with a marketing plan, are $57-69.

37 comments add a comment
  • The range is interesting and helpful as I plan workshops here at my studio for the year. In the past I’ve only taught children and teen classes so adult workshops are new for me. I’ve started off the year with an introductory mini workshop (3 hours) where I’ve only charged a registration fee and each participant can decide on the cost of their class according to what they spend on materials. All workshops can’t work this way,(I would starve) but the first one sold out in 5 days and I’ve had to add a second class for the spill over…resulting in new contacts. You can see what we are doing here if you’d like….http://ranchdressingcowgirlstyle.blogspot.com/2011/01/our-first-workshop-of-new-year.html

  • This is helpful. I have been getting many requests to give workshops and am just starting off. So they are REALLY cheap, but I feel that I need the experience and feedback from my students before I start charging more normal rates. Do you think this is ok to do? I figure I’ll start slowly raising the rates as I get more confident with my teaching.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Jenny: Be careful and be sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth.
      It’s hard to raise your rates later — especially for local venues (IMHO). But perhaps you could accept with that caveat: “Your pay rates are very low and not what I expect to make in the future. I realize I need experience, so I’m going to accept your pay scale at this time. But I don’t plan to stay at that level past 2011.” (You get the gist.)

    • Thanks Alyson. This really prompted me to start looking around at what other people in my area are charging for similar workshops. I have decided that my rates aren’t too drastically low as long as I continue to charge per-person with a class minimum. I have also been approached this week to do a presentation and workshop for a guild. They quoted me their standard rate that their guild pays and it seemed more than reasonable therefore giving me a great base for future interest.

  • I’ve worked with some workshop companies, they usually charge students $100 to $150/day each because the workshop owner has to cover expenses.
    Stapleton Kearns charges $100/day (don’t quote me on that) and at one of his locations, students stayed at a campground in order to save money. I thought that was a great idea.
    I prefer to set up my own workshops in order to save students money – I don’t like to go over $75/day for each. One day workshops are $50, but don’t include any critiques. I rent the building myself – just saves everyone some money.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Lori: That cracked me up because you just quoted yourself on that fee.
      How many students can you accommodate at $75 a day or $50 a day?

    • Alyson, I”m confused… where did I quote myself? I guess I stayed up too late last night working ;-)
      I don’t like to take more than 15 students for painting workshops – I prefer 10 to 12 students so I can get around to each several times during the afternoon. I start out each day with a demonstration. I’ve also had a few private students for $20/hour.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Lori: You said: “Stapleton Kearns charges $100/day (don’t quote me on that)” but there it is in black and white.
      So, if you had 10 students, you’d make $500/day, which is in line with what others here are saying.
      Then what would your expenses be? How much is the rental? Do they have a materials fee?

    • Oh, I get it now…
      I usually rent space for $50/day at Village Arts of Putney. If we paint outdoors, I don’t need to rent a space at all. Most workshops don’t include materials – students bring their own supplies. I teach intermediate through advanced and students already have their preferred supplies. I don’t want to make them spend a lot of money on new supplies that they may not use in the future. (kinda like buying a bride’s maid gown).
      I sometimes bring some extra supplies of my own for students to try out – they just but them from me for my cost.
      Well, Stape charges $300 for a 3 day workshop, and limits it to 10 students. He runs them completely on his own. :-) QUOTE.

  • This was extremely helpful. Your posts always seems to coincide with my current dilemma. How do you do that? :)
    Also, a friend of mine read my blog and saw a link to your website and she ended up taking your web course–and then raved about it to me. I love seeing marketing in action.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Cathy: I’m psychic and write just for you. And I’ll continue to do that as long as you send your friends my way. Thanks!

  • Thanks for this excellent opportunity to get an instant check-up: Am I being paid enough by organizations? Am I charging too little when I sponsor through my studio?
    I found the quotes listed to be right in line with what I both, charge when I offer a workshop…(anywhere between $35.00 for two hours in my studio to $125.00 for a six hour ‘Creativity Salon’) to what I get paid by Art Centers…(anywhere from $26.00 per hour to $550.00 day rate)
    Currently I’m invited to present two talks plus a workshop at a conference later this year. I asked the conference planner to provide her budget for previous speakers so that I have a solid base for my proposal. I’m creating a package price for her request knowing that the workshop I present is expected to be a money maker for the conference and they will be taking 50% of the door.
    Great topic to explore together…thanks Alyson

  • What an interesting topic, Alyson. I tried teaching once for a local municipal adult ed program. I did not make enough to cover my time (not sure about gas). The three students were fun, though.
    And that brings me to my greatest fear about this: what happens if you plan a workshop and nobody signs up? Especially if you rent space. *Shudder!*

  • […] categories that coincide with your bookkeeping. For example, you might have income from art sales, teaching, product sales, and consulting. You can further break down art sales into more specific categories […]

  • Thanks to everyone for such good info!
    I have not taught workshops, but plan to start this year. I was thinking of going through my local community ed program to start.
    Patricia got me thinking – What gets the better turnout (what do customers prefer): a 1-day workshop, or a class that is held 1 night per week for 6 weeks?
    BTW, our local art group pays $250/day plus travel for instructors for 2- or 3-day workshops. Sometimes they pay more, but only if the artist asks.

  • […] response to my post about teaching fees charged by artists, Jenny Schu commented: I have been getting many requests to give workshops and […]

  • I am new at teaching but am a self taught mixed media jewelry artist. I did two classes in Oct. at Hobby Lobby which is craft store. I had 12 students in the first class and 14 students in the second. I had my daughter helping me so that the students would get a lot of 1:1 time. They do not charge me for the class space but I have to promote the class and collect payment and find students. I put up a display with all the information for students to contact me, but found all but two of my students from selling at artist markets. I charged $75 each plus a $15 kit fee. I provided most of the supplies so that was an investment of $700, but now I have everything for future classes and the supplies are paid for. Most of the classes at the store are only $50, but were not 7 hour classes like mine. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and selling jewelry at art-is-you in Petaluma, CA this Sept. I work a full time job at 75,000 a year but would really like to pursue art full time, but it is to scary to give up my income in this economy, any suggestions on how to get up the nerve to take that leap? I make jewelry because it really what I love to do and I put a lot of passion into my work. I made about $17,000 this last year selling/teaching on a part time basis. Check out my blog to see some of my work and magazines that my work has been published in last year.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Denise: Any chance there is an opportunity to go part-time with the full-time job?
      Crunch the numbers! Go back over my posts for January and do the financial worksheets and figure out how it can be done.

  • My blog is at: reinventedobjects.blogspot.com

  • Carolyn Christensen

    Thank you so much for this topic and all the comments! I stumbled on this post while researching pay scales for arts teachers–I am a performing artist and I do teach–but in my latest incarnation I am the (new) manager of a very small non profit arts center and I am struggling to create policies and payscales that are fair but also enable me to pay the rent:) What I have read here has been immensely helpful!
    I can see both sides of this coin, as a teaching artist and now as a manager/programmer and it is a very fine line to walk to be fair, transparent, and profitable for all parties involved (including the students!). I am hoping to craft a payscale policy that allows teachers to teach for us without sacrificing their paychecks even when registration is low-3 is the minimum to run a class-but rewards teachers who join in the marketing efforts with a maximum student capacity bonus. I have a board meeting this week and then I’ll be putting to the teachers for their input- I’ll let you know what we come up with!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Carolyn: I wonder if it would be fruitful for you to reward teachers who help you fill the classes? Maybe you have a base pay, but then add $x more for each additional student.
      Or if there’s some way to track that they referred the students. ??

  • $60 per day per person with a 5 person minimum, plus in some cases travel and lodging. Usually a student puts me up and get’s a free workshop in return.

  • Interesting Find on what I have been looking for. I am a New York based Ghanaian Performing Arts Specialist and Folklore Master. I am in the process of getting a contract to do some workshops on Ghanaian Traditional Percussion for Master of Arts students in a South American University. The intensive workshop is for 3 days and I submitted a proposal for a Honorarium of US$5000 subject to negotiation and budget strength. They have replied saying it is too much and that over there they charge per hour. Does anybody know what is the standard College honorarium for 4-8 a day clinic in the arts?
    Please help.
    This is the best blog I have ever found online.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Harold: Thank you for stopping in. Glad to have you in the community. I’m afraid I have no idea about this. Did you ask them what they normally pay? Because I imagine it’s much different in South America. Do they pay your expenses as well?

  • Thanks Alyson for directing me here. This has been very helpful.

  • Hello, I have been following you for a while and find your advice helpful. I own an event venue 30 minutes from downtown Bozeman, Montana and would like to advertise my venue Foster Creek Farm for artists to rent for workshops as well as organize workshops here featuring wonderful artists.

    I am beginning to put together my plan but would love some advice. Do you have any suggestions for guidance? We have been doing 5 day yoga retreats as we have lodging here on the farm.

    Thank you,

    Linda Mews
    Foster Creek Farm

    • Alyson Stanfield

      This Montana-born gal would love to consult with you Linda! Send you a private email to follow up.

  • Hi Alyson. I was asked to teach an illumination class in Canada (I’m in Virginia). It will be my first teaching experience. I’m not sure how I can calculate the best rate in my situation. I was offered $100 of scheduled class time plus travel and accommodation (since I’ll be leaving on a Friday and teaching on a Saturday). I was told there will be about 50 students (I don’t know how much they are charging the students). My compensation would amount to $500 for the 5 hours of scheduled time. This does not account for the lesson planning, the time that I will lose while traveling, the break time, etc. What do you suggest, considering all the above factors and the large number of students? Thank you.

  • My question is how can I calculate a reasonable rate, considering I’ll be traveling out of the country?

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Salwa: You are right to ask those questions. $500 doesn’t sound like fair compensation. You need to add up your time (including travel time) and make sure you’re remunerated.

  • Raymond Alexander

    Happy that I clicked on to this email link, to discover your articles about artists workshop fees. I always seek a win-win approach for prospective workshop participants. However, I have been “cheating” myself out of profits for too many years — in comparison to what your information has shown me! Getting out my calculator in the future come workshop recruiting!

    Visual artist/workshop leader

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