Penland’s Resident Artist Program, established in the 1960s, is one of the longest-running residencies in the US. The program is designed for professional craft artists who are at a pivotal moment in their creative practice or career—the residency is an opportunity for them to pursue objectives that will have a lasting effect on their work and their lives. Depending on the nature of an applicant’s goals, we now offer two options for interested candidates.
The primary expectation of resident artists is that they engage intently with their work. They are also expected to welcome other residents, students, instructors, and visitors to their studios through informal and formal studio visits. Resident artists join our larger school community during meal times each session and are also welcome to visit classes, attend slide lectures, take workshops, and to participate in various aspects of life at the school. The school hosts educational workshops from March through November and a short Winter Residency in January, so this is our season of visitors and activity. Residents enjoy interludes of quieter, more focused studio time when the school pauses between programs.
Resident artists work independently and pursue their stated goals for their residencies. They do this, however, in an atmosphere of encouragement surrounded by a community of makers. Their studios and living spaces are clustered so that interaction with other resident artists is inevitable. All resident artists are represented by the Penland Gallery, and they are also encouraged to show and sell work directly through their studios and other galleries. Living at Penland also means they are surrounded by the many working craftspeople who live nearby as well as the national and international Penland community that constantly comes and goes throughout the year.
Resident artists are selected through a competitive process that draws applications from all over the country. At the end of their residency, some Penland resident artists move on to other residencies or decide to pursue teaching careers, but the great majority of them continue as studio artists and build on the work they started at Penland.
We encourage self-motivated, focused individuals working in traditional and nontraditional studio crafts to apply for a residency. No prior connection to the school is required to apply.
All media taught at Penland are considered appropriate for the Resident Artist Program: books, clay, drawing/painting, glass, letterpress, iron, metals, papermaking, photography, printmaking, textiles, and wood. Most resident studios are not media-specific; however, the particular qualities of the available studios and the balance of media represented by the current group of resident artists sometimes limit each year’s openings to a range of media.