A Class Above – Online Course for Teaching Artists

*** PRICE UPDATE 3/9/17***

Due to the horrible defunding of our nation’s arts and education communities, we’ve permanently dropped our prices in half from $300 to $150.

We need you to thrive as artists and teachers. We want to make that attainable.




Yes! $150

This course is a 3-week coaching session for professional artists and teaching artists ready to create dynamic workshops that inspired from their point of view and passion.

I designed it especially for those of you who want personal accountability, the freedom to learn on their own time, one-on-one creative coaching, and the support of a network of fellow teaching artists.

My personal approach speaks directly to where you are in your process as an artist and a teacher. **The course is limited to 15 slots and I only offer the class 2-3 times a year. So, if you’re jazzed, grab a slot quick!

During the 3-weeks, you’ll receive:

  • A weekly package with daily assignments for you, downloadable in our secret Facebook group.
  • A digital copy of Creatively Independent ($15 on its own) to use as a reference and future support in the work.
  • Creative coaching on your work each day (my rate is usually $250 for a one-hour session, here you’ll have up to 12 hours available to you).
  • Accountability (nothing like a workout buddy to make sure your goals are met. I’m there for you.)
  • Freedom to work within your schedule.

IMPORTANT: Because I spend so much quality time with you, I limit the size of the class to 15.


Kristen VermilyeaAfter graduate school, many people asked what I planned on doing and sometimes teaching came up as a possible idea. BUT WHAT CAN I TEACH?! Was always my answer/thought.

The thing that surprised me most is that in a relatively small amount of time – with a little focus, faith and some kick-ass guidance (JESS!) I was able to really create something authentic, viable, useful, true and me. I was in awe of how it all came together when I trusted the work and myself and paid attention to what Jess was saying and also observing all of the other students’ processes at work. It was truly inspirational and awesome.

– Kristen Vermilyea (Writer, Filmmaker, Provocateur) 



  • January 8 and runs through January 25

I’m in! $150


  • For Professional Artists* and Teaching Artists* ready to develop a clear set of workshop offerings unique to their point of view and training for all avenues: conferences, guest residencies, on-site classes, online courses…
  • If you are: 
    • Wanting to create and connect, but feeling restricted by your hectic schedule.
    • Sick of subbing classes with one-offs.
    • Done with hustling.
    • Stuck in the freelance mindset of “others tell me what they want I and do it”, instead of “this is what I want to do”.
    • Denying yourself the joy of dreaming big, because of the hard realities around you.
    • Desiring to be inspired by fellow risk-taking artists, and inspire them in turn with your fabulousness.
    • Eager to smack down assumptions holding you back.
    • Curious about teaching, but haven’t gone there yet.
    • Bored with your current workshop offerings and want to reinvent them to fit your current skills and outlook.
    • Ready to make your art and how you teach it playful, magical… even transformative.
    • Bogged down by all the “How’s” & “What’s” (How am I going to make my rent?… What do I need to teach?…).
    • Forgetting to add the heart, add the poetic, add the “Why’s” (Why do I love this art?…)
    • Screaming inside “To Hell with prescriptive! Give me passion and purpose!”

*Arts = performance, visual, technical and literary.


  • You’re hoping for a formula to insert your current workshop into.
  • You feel being competitive in the market is doing what others are doing, just better or cheaper. (This work is the opposite. It’s about creating what only you can do and stop the negative cycle of comparison).
  • You shut down when things get messy or hard to see the outcome immediately. This process plays in the unknown in order to achieve something new for you and your class.



If you do the work, take full advantage of the resources and jump in head first… You’ll have created a solid workshop at the end of 3 weeks, including:

  • Workshop structure with resources and assessments. 
  • Understanding of why you’re the only one to teach it. (Branding)
  • Options for expansion/adaptation given variables like class size, age range, skill level, workshop length. (Adaptability)
  • Actionable plan to start booking including: a solid pitch, application structure, pricing, audience focus and tools to decide when to say yes or no to a gig. (Marketing & Business Structures)
  • Personal ritual to get into your groove and work/play at your best. (Self Care)


Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.14.41 PM“I’m really in a place I can’t explain! No fear, no inhibition, no denying what I want to do. I’ve come into a place of peace and I can’t deny that what I have to offer is important and correct!! I just know without a doubt where I am and what I have to offer! I want to play, I need to share, and I have the courage to make it happen! It all started with a question from Jess… It made me see what was actually holding me back from living my life to the fullest. Like living everyone’s exceptions of my life was what I lived by. If I had not completely given into change I might not have ever had the courage, but now I see the other side. I now know something different, tangible, and real.”

– Misty Muesing (Theatre Educator/Performer, former Department Head at Lavilla School of the Arts)



  • Through daily prompts, we explore how you teach and how you can focus that fabulousness into a workshop, course block or an entire school year.
  • A weekly packet is given, broken down into manageable chunks Monday-Thursday. You can work on your own time, within your own schedule.
  • Work posted throughout the day will be lovingly poked, prodded and supported by my sustainable artistry coaching. Solid office hours are 9-10 PM EST for more one-on-one sessions online.
  • You’ll get to the root of your passion for your art and teaching; prune what’s not working for you; craft a workshop horizon, structure, pitch, audience focus and envision adaptations/extensions for future offshoots.
  • All this happens in a secret Facebook group made solely for this gang of 15 max. Here you can post your work, asking me questions, get 1:1 coaching and boost your success rate with personal and ensemble accountability (it’s not just you doing this).

.  ..


Daily access to a computer or smartphone, a Facebook account and 1-2 hours/day*.

*The time varies depending on the assignments and your readiness. But it’s all on your own schedule.


Beth Venable

Jess, your class was a turning point for me this summer. It changed the frequency of how I was seeing my life… 

Diving into a study of what you can bring to the world seemed frivolous at the time, and it was also necessary. This class has given me space to create a vision for the future. At the beginning, I felt hopeless because I had run out of the energy it takes to create a vision.

By tackling each day’s assignment the focus was narrowed, blinders were on. Blinders to the negative thoughts, the “that will never work, because…” thoughts. Through this process, I have reclaimed the knowledge that I do not have to isolate and compartmentalize to be successful. It is conceivable to create a future that can only be accomplished with my particular blend of skills and experiences, and personality.

Beth Venable (Consultant for Life’s Adventures)

 . .


Me, Jess Pillmore, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Creatively Independent, a revolutionary arts education company. I’ve spent over 20 years as a teaching artist in America and Europe: full-time, adjunct, guest artist and artist-in-residence. While on the road, artists would pick my brain about how to create unique offerings in a saturated technique-based market (a.k.a. “How do I stop teaching a carbon copy of what I was taught and tap into how I work now?”). Those coffee talks and late night chats turned into lectures I now give at conferences and colleges, an upcoming series I write for HowlRound, as well as one-on-one sustainable artistry coaching. I’ve taught Professional Development residencies for elementary-graduate school educators, presented lectures and experiential workshops at regional and state conferences. My work has been published in a book: Creatively Independent: Life on Your Terms with Play, Community and Awareness,  Psychology Today, and I have a current series featured on HowlRound. The differences are vast between creating your art and teaching it, but they inform each other greatly. I have successfully balanced both for 20 years and I can help you do it, too. I quit my last bridge job (read: day job other than my art) in April 2001 and been going strong ever since. It’s a revolution, baby, one passionate teaching artist at a time. Check out their thoughts on the work.

..  ..


You are free to release your slot up to 30 days before the first class starts. If given at least 30 days notice, your money will be returned to you minus a $25 processing fee.
There are no refunds after that time, so please make sure the course is a good fit for you. Contact me below with any questions before enrolling. And during the course, if there are any snags, let me us know immediately and we’ll get on it!



info [@] creativelyindependent.net

I’m all about this! – $150

Comments are closed.