7 Essential Qualities of a Successful Art Facilitator

May 5, 2024
Training Classes
Hiep Nguyen

         What do a corporate trainer, a social worker, a teacher, an event planner, and an exuberant public speaker have in common? Give up? All of these folks have become very successful Circle Painting or Draw All You Can facilitators. No, this is not a joke. It’s the truth. The point is that having a background in art is not the most important skill needed to become an Art Facilitator.  

         What exactly is an Art Facilitator, you ask? An Art Facilitator (a.k.a Art Workshop Host) is someone who is personable, conscientious, and affectionate. They feel alive, excited, and energized when working with groups of people. But most of all, they want to pursue a career or side hustle doing the things they love most: sharing the joy of making art with people.

         If it sounds as if I just described you, great! If you’re on the fence or still wondering, great! That shows that you are curious and reflective -- two more qualities that effective Art Facilitators have. Either way, keep reading to learn about the 7 essential qualities to becoming a successful Art Facilitator.

1. Turning Work into Play

         Let’s face it -- everyone, even adults, love to play. An Art Facilitator’s playfulness allows people to overcome their inhibitions and ease tension so that they can have fun. A successful Art Facilitator gives people permission to engage in play and wonder, which promotes a relaxing and lively atmosphere conducive to creativity.  “What fun parts of this work do you want to share with others?”  

2. Create a Safe Space for Exploration

         Art Facilitators bring unity and harmony to a group by building trust. They start by listening to the needs of participants; they seek to understand first before being understood. Using a variety of tools such as icebreaker, warm-up exercises, ritual, intention setting, Art Facilitators help people to feel supported, comfortable and safe to express themselves.

3. Think and Act Big

         “Bring it on,” “Yes, we can,” and “Why not!” are phrases you will hear an Art Facilitator say again and again. An effective Art Facilitator knows when to step back in order to see the big picture, to evaluate and then make necessary adjustments. They do not let their fear obstruct the vision of the project.  “What vision or impact do you want to share with the world?”  

4. Embrace the Unknown

         The best Art Facilitators are not afraid of ambiguity or making mistakes because they understand that it is a part of the creative process. They allow random, unexpected information to stimulate their imagination. They trust their instincts and are willing to take a chance and act with their “gut feeling.” They constantly ask “what if” questions and are motivated to go beyond the status quo. “What if you turn a mistake into an opportunity?”

5. See Multiple Perspectives                    

         Art Facilitators must be team-players. They excel in listening to others and recognizing the values in them and their ideas. Learning to allow space for people to voice their concern and disagreement while finding a solution and common ground is a crucial skill for Art Facilitators.  “What are other options or solutions we can explore?”  

6. Observes Within and Without

         Have you ever been recognized for your attention to details, no matter how insignificant? An Art Facilitator notices things that people tend to overlook. This keen observation allows them to pay attention to the subtle changes in people and environment and to recognize the connections, rhythms, and patterns of that environment.  “What patterns and rhythms can you see and hear from where you are right now?”

7. Persistence  

         While others give up before anything ever happens, Art Facilitators fight through doubts and stay the course until the work prevails. Persistence is the key to any manifestation. How often have you seen wonderful projects with great visions fizzle out or die? I cannot even count the number of times that I have thought of giving up a project when it was criticized, rejected, or abandoned. You’re reading this because I persisted. So you can too.  

Are you ready to become an Art Facilitator?

         Whether you want to incorporate more art making opportunities into your existing profession or if you want to go all in and become an Art Facilitator full time, we suggest you start right here by taking one of our Circle Painting or Draw All You Can certification courses. We will teach you effective strategies for leading groups of different sizes, ages and abilities and in different situations and venues. Our training courses not only cover the processes themselves, but also warm-up and reflection exercises, process modifications, and how to adapt the programs to multiple teaching formats (including online).

         Don’t let your dream of becoming an Art Facilitator die. Take the first step along the journey to sharing your passion and purpose with the world around you. Enroll in one of our online or in-person certification courses by clicking here.