We get a lot of questions regarding the high tuition fee for the premium tracks, so I’d like to be transparent about where those numbers come from. We are well aware that our tuition fees are higher than the average online art class or local in person art class. To understand why that is the case, let me contextualize where the premium tracks fit in within all of our other programming and content.
You’ll learn as much from your Premium Track peers as you will from us!
Premium Tracks differ greatly from the Patreon channels in that there is a set schedule, and lesson and prompts that everyone is following together. So much of what you learn will be from observing the work your peers are creating alongside you; seeing how your peers respond to the same prompts.
In this way, the Premium Tracks are a very focused learning environment that is really similar to taking a college level course. By contrast, the Patreon channels are a very casual, drop-in format where there isn’t any continuity or cohesion to what people are creating and discussing during voice sessions.
Of course, for some people, the Patreon channels are better fit for many people; not just because of the low price but because of the flexibility and low time commitment.
Each Premium Track has 2 instructors
The 2 instructors are myself + a Teaching Artist. While it’s much more complicated to run a track with 2 instructors, (you should see the spreadsheets and schedules!) this collaborative teaching is very close to the format of an art school course, where there is a professor and teaching assistant in each course. A professor and teaching artist can provide a diversity of opinions, which immensely enriches the experience for the students.
So if each Premium Track has 2 instructors, that by itself doubles the price of an online class. To our knowledge, there aren’t any online art classes that have more than 1 instructor per class.
Each Premium Track is limited to 6 students
That’s a very small class! A typical class at art school usually has 15-20 students. As an instructor, you’re spread very thin among a lot of students, with not many contact hours. Consequently, students don’t get much personal attention from their instructors, and it can be challenging to form a significant connection.
If we had 20 students in each Premium Track, absolutely, the price would go down, but, it would also significantly dilute the learning experience for the students. You wouldn’t get nearly the amount of support and attention with 20 students.
Premium Tracks include 1 one-on-one live voice call with Prof Lieu
Part of the tuition fee for a Premium Track includes a 30 min. one-on-one voice call with Prof Lieu that is a final review when the track ends. If you purchase a 30 min. artist call with me, that’s $250 for only that 1 voice session.
We understand that our tuition fees are higher than most online classes
We are well aware that $900 is a high price for a 6 week online class, and that for most people that amount is out of reach. We did a lot of research, looking at many online class formats, fees, programming, etc. that are out there.
Then we weighed all of those factors against our own resources, staff, and budget needs, while still trying to create the best learning experience for our students we could provide.
All Premium track videos, lessons, and prompts are free to everyone
There don’t seem to be any online art classes that provide free access to the class videos and lessons. So if you don’t pay for the online class, you can’t get access to any of the class videos or lessons. Knowing that very few people would be able to pay for a Premium Track, we felt that making the Premium Track content free for everyone was something we could do to benefit the community.
There are many people doing the free Tracks on their own, at their own pace! We have a channel in our Discord server, #artprof-tracks where people can share their artworks made for a track and get support and critiques. For many people, these Tracks are an effective learning experience that is 100% free.
Our revenue from the Premium Tracks supports our free content
Our ongoing lack of budget remains the one part of Art Prof that is highly stressful, and makes it hard to for me to sleep at night. I know it looks like what we do is easy to throw together, but running Art Prof is expensive!! Staff have to be paid, equipment has to be replaced, there are monthly fees for online tools we use, and much more.
Maintaining the quality and consistency of our content is important, and that requires an ongoing budget. (I’ll stop now about our budget woes, before I write another 5 pages)
These Premium Tracks could be the answer to our budget woes
Over the years, I’ve tried SO many things to generate revenue in order to fulfill our budget needs. Simultaneously, it has been very important to us to keep all of our content 100% free.
This balance has been incredibly challenging to say the least, it’s really hard to cover all your expenses and maintain a budget when your business has no revenue! That’s why our Patreon supporters are so important to us, they are the reason we can keep our content free.
I won’t get into how exhausting, tedious, and frustrating it has been to pursue sponsors. I had assumed sponsors would be our long term solution but how wrong I was. For the first time, these Premium Tracks are presenting a sustainable, longer term solution for Art Prof. That’s a really big deal for us!
Our Premium Track revenue supports people who can’t pay
The revenue we receive from the Premium Tracks will ensure that we can continue to produce 100% free content, which in terms serves people who can’t afford to pay for a Premium Track. (Trust me, staff trips to the Bahamas aren’t happening here)
Art Prof has content that is both free and at varying price points
We offer a range of price points for different levels of engagement with our staff and content. All of our content, including all of our videos, written articles, lesson plans, tools for teachers, and more, are 100% free. You can use all of our content on your own and never pay a dime.
Staff interaction for Patreon supporters
There are channels in our Discord server for Patreon supporters. For a $20 monthly pledge, you get access to weekly voice sessions with our staff, written critiques and support within a much smaller, more tight-knit group of people.
Not only is it easier to get to know people in this smaller group, but you also get much more interaction with our staff compared to the public channels in our Discord server. Many people in this group are invested in each other’s progress, hold each other accountable and provide that boost when we need it.
Portfolio critiques & artist calls for purchase
We provide the option to purchase a pre-recorded portfolio critique or social media critique, as well as 30-60 min. one-on-one live voice calls with any staff member of your choice. The price range for these portfolio critiques and live calls is $200-$400 per call or critique.
I hope this sheds some light on our programming and explains the decisions we make regarding tuition fees. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions.