Take Your Workshop Online-Part Two

You know your craft, you love to teach, and you even have chosen the platform you want for an online class.

What now? How can you make the best presentation?

Jennifer Rashleigh talks about her process

Get comfortable with your equipment and prepare for any challenges. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how many people overlook this. Practice your presentations, record them and imagine you are a student when you watch your recording.

Check your lighting. No back lighting! If your using a cellphone to record, make sure it is set to horizontal (landscape). Have someone hold it for you or mount it at the right height in a dedicated holder.

Check your camera angle. If you will be opening your class by facing the camera to welcome the participants, be sure to line up the camera with your eyes. No one want to look up your nose when you are talking! And don’t get too close to your camera. The closer you get, the more distorted your face will look. Find your sweet spot and stick with it!

Test your audio and play it back. Consider getting a separate microphone, so that you can be heard and understood as you step away from your welcome screen to demonstrate your project. There’s nothing more annoying than watching a good demo with crummy sound. So test, test, test.

Hands are key! If you only have one webcam, you may want to prerecord close-up scenes of your hands actually doing the techniques you are demonstrating. Participants in an online class really appreciate the fact that camera angles allow them to see up close details they might not see in a classroom situation with other students crowding in. Make the most of this opportunity to show the techniques from various angles.

Have a clear plan for teaching. An old rule of thumb is “tell them what they are going to learn, teach them, and then tell them what they learned. Treat your session like a play with three acts. Welcome them with warm appreciation and enthusiasm. Teach them enthusiastically, as if they are right there with you. And wrap up with a quick recap and an invitation. An invitation for another workshop, to visit your website, to follow you on Instagram, to invite others. It’s your choice. But be sure to invite them to continue connecting with you.

Follow up. Keep track of your students, and them to your contact list, and even share them with SCA if that is appropriate. Send a follow-up email that reviews the lessons in the workshop. Offer them limited access (say two weeks) to the recording of the workshop. Show that you care. Ask for feedback and take it seriously if you get it.

And most of all, have fun!

Take Your Workshop Online!

Part 1 of a Two-Part Series

Looking for a way to expand your reach in these uncertain times?
Hosting an online workshop has a lot going for it!

Jill Law
Jill Law demonstrating abstract painting techniques in her studio

Why Take Your Workshop Online?

1. You can expand the size of your class, because you are not limited by the size of your studio.

2. You can expand your geographic reach, because people don’t have to live near enough to drive to your studio.

3. More people are interested in online classes right now, because more people are turning to the virtual world while they are unable to travel and resume their normal activities.

4. It is an excellent tool for promoting your art business

Choosing Your Workshop Platform

A pre-recorded workshop can be as simple as a demonstration recorded with your cellphone and posted to social media. But if you’re looking for more polish, there are platforms and software that are more professional, such as: Learnworlds, Captivate(Adobe), and Camtasia.

A live presentation is another option, though it does require a little more skill and confidence. There are no do-overs. No chance to edit out flubs. But there is a sense of immediacy and a chance to ask for responses from your students.

By now you are probably familiar with Zoom, the leading platform for online presentations. It has a free trial option, which is a great way to figure out if this is the platform for you. If you go for Zoom’s Pro Plan the cost is $14.99 a month, and includes easy group messaging features, admin control features like muting your students, plus the easy option to record your webinar for future use.

Google Hangouts is another option. It is a free platform that works best for small groups. It doesn’t have the options of Zoom, and all participants are required to have G-mail accounts, so it may limit your audience.

GoogleMeet has many more features than Hangouts, such as file and image sharing and users don’t need a G-mail account. Costs start at $6 a month.

GoToMeeting is an online meeting and video conference platform that has been around for a long time. It allows you to easily share documents, like materials lists, with all your attendees. It is easy to record and share your webinar. It is a robust and professional platform, but it works best on up-to-date computers. The cost is about $12 a month for their professional plan.

Next week we will bring you presentation tips for better online workshops.

Share Your Process and Earn a Stipend!

MARV, the Medford Arts Resource Vehicle, is looking for artists to present online art events during this time of social distancing. Possible events could include a demo/tutorial about your work process, an interactive art process workshop, a “behind the scenes” look at your studio or introduction to some of your art, or a talk on an art-related topic of interest to you. The event can either be held live or can be recorded to be shown at a future date. Since in-person shows, fairs and events are cancelled for the foreseeable future, this could be a fun way for you to share what you do with a larger audience, while also showing people a potentially new art medium or technique. Accepted artists will earn a small stipend. If you’re interested, fill out this form, and they will get in touch with you soon.

4 Steps to Building Your Art Community During the Pandemic

The coronavirus is impacting every one of us in so many ways. Exhibits are postponed or canceled. Art Fairs are canceled. Galleries are closed. Our own Open Studio Tour has been postponed. And we are trapped in our homes.

What does all this mean for you and your art? Can you use this time to give your art career a boost? At SCA we are artists helping artists, so in the first of our new Coffee with SCA series we are offering four ways to build your much-needed virtual art community. Virtual is becoming the “new normal.”

1. Take a moment to think about who you are as an artist. Write it down, make a list. What is your art about? Who are you hoping to attract? Who do you currently attract? Why? What message are you hoping your work sends? Writing it all down will help you focus your work and your message.

2. Take a look at your website. When was the last time you updated your website? Being stuck at home gives you the perfect opportunity to freshen it up. Don’t just upload new art. Take a look at what you wrote, in step one, about who you are as an artist. Does your website express that? Even little changes like selecting the best color scheme can be important to your overall image.

3. Take a look at your overall brand. Consistency is the secret, and your social media, website and art all need to send the same message. Do they work together well? Would someone who doesn’t know you see that they all represent the same artist? Does their combined message reflect the artist you described in step one? Match the brand you’ve created with your art and your website. Use the same name, same profile picture, similar bio, and same aesthetic across all your media. Do you have links to your website on your social media? Do you make it easy for people visiting your website to follow you on Instagram and Facebook?

4. Use your social media a real means of connection. It is even more essential now, during this strange era of the pandemic, to engage genuinely with your audience. Follow other artists—especially your friends from SCA! Leave thoughtful comments on each other’s posts. Experts advise artists of the wisdom of interacting with and promoting other artists on their feeds. Interact with them and leave thoughtful comments, beyond “nice work.” At SCA we have the unique opportunity to do that without much effort! You can start by posting your work right on the SCA Instagram and Facebook pages. Follow the other SCA artists whose posts appear on these pages. Be as interested in their lives as you want them to be in yours. For real audience engagement, be honest about where you are in your practice, how you’re making your work, where you are struggling. Giving your audience a true look into your studio and your life as an artist is the best way to connect with others online. Don’t just post when you have a great sale, an award, or an upcoming show. Show in-process work, studio shots with you dog or cat nearby. That makes you real. Then, when your audience sees the success shots and finished works, they will feel connected and cheer for you.

And remember to check in with your friends at South Coast Artists. It is a time for mutual aid. If you need resources or ideas, please reach out too!


Arts Marketing 101 Workshop

The South Coast Artists is excited to offer a free workshop as part of our education initiative. Please join us to learn the fundamentals of marketing yourself as an artist and build new skills to boost your brand.

Where: Tiverton Public Library, 34 Roosevelt Ave, Tiverton, RI
When: Saturday, September 7th, 2019 1:00pm-4:00pm

Want to boost your marketing practices? Hot off the tour, use your recent experience to help you learn how to prepare for next year and build your brand to boost your presence as an artist. This a FREE workshop, but we do request pre-registration in order to properly prepare with the numberof attendees. 

Learn the basics of what marketing means for artists and how you can successfully market yourself and your work. This workshop provides an overview of branding concepts including which marketing materials are most important for you to develop as you create a path to your own success. We will look at examples of print and e-marketing, and we’ll practice ways to present yourself and speak about your work. Strengthening your presence and visibility as an artist is possible and less strenuous than you think!

Register Today!

About our Presenter:

Jessica Burko
Art : Arts Marketing : Curating


Jessica Burko has been an exhibiting artist since 1985 and has displayed work in solo and group shows throughout the United States. Burko is originally from Philadelphia and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Rhode Island School of Design, and an MFA in Imaging Arts and Science from Rochester Institute of Technology.

In addition to being a practicing artist, Burko is the Program Manager at the Photographic Resource Center at Leslie University. She is also an independent curator with more than thirty exhibitions produced since 2000, and her professional background includes the position of Gallery Director at Stonehill College from 2000-06, from 2007-14 she held the position of Executive Director of the artist collective Boston Handmade, and from 2016 to 2019 she was the Marketing Director at Kingston Gallery.

Burko’s work in the arts community allows her to foster and strengthen connections between working artrepreneurs. She supports artists in achieving their creative and professional goals through lectures, workshops, and partnerships with organizations such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass MoCA’s Assets for Artists Program and the Danforth Museum’s Professional Artists Workshops.

Introducing the SCA Mobile App!

The South Coast Artists Open Studio Tour runs annually on the third weekend of July and August on the South Coast Region of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The SCA Mobile App is an electronic version of our printed brochure map, giving visitors to our studios a new way to explore the tour. With over 75 artists on the tour, Sponsor galleries and our Sponsors- there is something for everyone to see. Many of our artists demonstrate their process during the tour, giving you a glimpse into the lives of working artists and a chance to see how the work is created. 

The App is FREE to download & use for iPhone & android users.

You can also view a version on the web! Scroll through the various tours, view the artists with in-depth profiles all on your computer. Another new way to explore the tour and view the brochure! https://pocketsights.com/tours/organization/South-Coast-Artists-1651/

App Features

• Organized into Different ‘Tours’: All Artists, July Artists, August Artists, Tiverton Artists, Little Compton Artists, Westport Artists, Dartmouth Artists and supporting Galleries.

 *PLEASE NOTE: When viewing the list of artists in the various tours, the numbers assigned within the app may vary. To coordinate the number listing on the printed brochure, please see the number listed within the artist description. There it will read “#4 on the brochure Map”.

• View all of the artists on the tour, descriptions of their work, additional photos of their work & studio, and links to their websites & contact information right in the app. (Swipe left on individual profiles to see additional images- double tap to see full size images.)

• Getting directions to studios is easy without having to enter in an address! Just click on the ‘Get Directions’ link within the artist description and the address will open in Google Maps.

• You can Like/Share studios directly to Facebook to comment on your experience and let other people know about the tour.

• Ability ‘Favorite’ Studios (much like circling your favorite on the map) this allows you to quickly remember the studios you wish to visit. Tap on the heart icon on the bottom right of an image and you will be able to easily recognize your favorite studios.

• Viewing in the ‘All Artists Tour’ automatically directs you to the closest studio location. You can also search for a particular artist within this tour (there is a navigation bar at the top of the screen).

• Other tours are in a list format, based on the various categories. If you are interested in seeing all of the artists showing in July (for example), just scroll & open to the July tour, and view all of the artists showing in that time.

We hope you enjoy the new app!

Getting to Know Susan K. Barker

How did you get started making art? As a descendant of two artists, John H. Twachtman and Worthington Whittredge, a creative spirit is a family tradition. Worthington Whittredge spent his summer in nearby Tiverton Four Corners, RI. I started working with silver in the late 70’s and was inspired again in 2006. It was after a bead show with my daughter Nina and I realized I could forge small, intricate silver pieces and combine glass beads and create unusual necklaces.

What influences your art? My study as a horticulture judge has brought me a tremendous depth of knowledge of all flower and leaf forms which guide me in my necklace designs. Also living by the sea, I understand marine life and the different fish and am able to capture what I see. 

What do you hope someone takes away from experiencing your art? A smile on ones face when they look in the mirror and see a “Susan Barker necklace” around their neck.

Please tell us about your process: I buy my silver in large sheets which I saw into various shapes. The final steps are to engrave numerous fish scales, delicate feathers, or tiny veins on the different silver pieces. Then I go over to my bead table of over1000 beads and start creating a necklace. I concentrate on the theme of the silver design and add different shaped and colored beads. Adding clasps in the final step.

What inspires your work? I have two studios with different surroundings. The summer by the sea and the fall and winter in the mountains.

When do you create your art? What is your studio practice? I work about three days a week and create about 100 necklaces a year, plus I make about two dozen silver earrings. My daughter Nina makes the bracelets. She is able to take a flat piece of silver and with heat and controlled blows of her hammer form an amazing bracelet. 

How long have you been a member of SCA? I have been a member since 2006.

Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

  • South Coast Artists Tour July 20 -21, 2019 
  • South Coast Artists Tour August 17 -18, 2019
  • NH Monadnock Art Tour October 12 -13, 2019 

How can people find your work? I do not sell my jewelry in stores. I will gladly show my jewelry if someone contacts me. Please visit my website for details: www.susanbarker.com

Contact Information:

Phone: 603 209 5755 (best to email me)

Email: susan43barker@gmail.com