How to Transition from an Unpaid Volunteer to a For-Profit Business: AME 105

You probably know someone just like today’s guest. Someone who is passionate, dedicated, creative, and organized. She’s the gale that takes on everything and does it so well. You may even find that she reminds you of YOU.

Ashley Bruce is our Sparkler Spotlight for September. Ashley started her own art business in San Diego, California and visits local schools to help start and support art programs.

We chat about how her business started and how it impacted her life then and now. And because she is a featured Sparkler, Ashley turns the table on a typical episode to ask me questions. And this is where is gets good.

I’m pretty passionate about a few things when it comes to teaching art and running a business. Can you guess what some of them might be?

Ashley and I go deep on valuing your time, yourself and art. If you’ve been hired to start an art program in your school, you’ll find Ashley’s experience, ideas and resilience inspiring.


– Ashley’s very first steps in starting her school’s art program

– What Ashley’s goals for the program were and how it’s affected the classroom teachers at her school

– How to develop from a volunteer to a paid position

– What significant mindset shifts Ashley had to make when it came to charging what she’s worth

– How to structure your business to impact all of your students

– How to successfully balance your family time with work





Download my free Art Teacher’s Toolkit PDF by clicking the yellow box below. Enter your name and email and we’ll send it to you!


The Sparkler’s Club Waitlist

You can visit Patty through Deep Space Sparkle on Facebook and Instagram





What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Linda

    I loved hearing about this program and feel like I’m a kindred spirit in terms of wanting to develop the program to serve more students. But, no unpaid interns!! There are artists (and students) in your community who need work… and they need to be paid, just as you did. I have a program in Northern California that provides similar services through a local non-profit art gallery. We contract with schools around the area. I now have about 15 artists I work with. Although its not a full time job for any of us, they do get paid for the hours they work. The problem I’ve run into is that when I started, I didn’t plan for all the administrative and planning time. I figure it was the “cost of doing business”. And I’m still not getting paid for a lot of the time I put into the admin and planning time that we all do. I’m working on that, trying to increase our fundraising base so that we actually have dollars to pay for that time. And THAT takes an incredible amount of time. However, its been very rewarding, and we have grown our program a lot over the past six years. Anyway, I am just an advocate for artists getting paid for their work, whatever work that is. Suggestions welcome!

  • Alisa Kutsel

    Hi, I have some questions for Ashley regarding the transition she has made, as I am trying to do the same thing!

Follow Us

Find Out What Type of Art Teacher You Are


In stores 8/21