2023 Summer Residency Recap

“Attending a residency at Watershed created a truly once in a lifetime experience for me. I came to better understand my own practice and created a network with so many truly inspiring artists. I was able to talk to them about my future goals and ideas and learn from them. It was truly incredible.”

-Jillian Blackwell, 2023 Summer Resident Artist


As Maine’s maple and oak leaves begin to show off their fiery fall hues, we find ourselves looking back on a most memorable residency season. Eighty-three artists joined us from around the country and world, bringing with them fresh ideas and perspectives. We feel so grateful for the creative energy and spirit they brought to our community during their brief time on campus. The following photos and synopses capture moments from each of our remarkable 2023 sessions.

Clay in the Expanded Field: May 22-June 2

We kicked off the ‘23 residency season with the wonderful Clay in the Expanded Field cohort. Artists brought their cross-disciplinary experiences with installation, painting, performance, fiber, and temporal work to bear in a rich exchange that explored clay’s role contemporary art-making. The group bonded instantaneously and spent their session experimenting with other materials in conjunction with clay, exploring different firing techniques, and finding inspiration in Maine’s natural environment.

Organized by Emily Bayless and Britny Wainwright, participating artists in the session included Jillian Blackwell, Clare Burson, Ashley Campbell, Brandi Lee Cooper, Katie Coughlin, Meredith Habermann, Jillian McEvoy, Claudia Morales, Kelly O’Briant, Ana Popescu, Taylor Shantz, Mingxuan Tan, Kirstin Willders, Renqian Yang, and Jax Yao.

Building Resilience: June 5-16

This residency provided an opportunity for participants to reimagine environmental resilience in their communities and creative practices. The artists worked alongside one another while discussing ways to develop more sustainable relationships with the limited natural resources needed to make their work.

On the first day, nearly half the group found they were reading the same book: Braiding Sweetgrass. Their lively discussions and exchanges began in earnest and continued as they explored personal and collaborative projects while sharing challenges and ideas. The group also ventured offsite to dig wild clay and even processed some samples from Watershed’s back yard.

These fabulous makers also teamed up with us to create delectable dinners in the Watershed kitchen when our cooking staff was in flux – a big shout out to Elysa Rose-Coster for taking the lead on meals!

Organized by Holly Hanessian and Anna Metcalfe the session cohort included Julia Galloway, Tsehai Johnson, Rachael Marne Jones, Bradley Klem, Geno Luketic, Kasia Zurek-Doule, Elysa Rose-Coster, Sin-ying Ho, Anna Troszkiewicz, Jen Roos, Deborah Reichard, Molly Haynes, Charlotte Middleton, and Rose Robinson.

Embracing Change: June 19-30

For many of us, the past several years have been marked by considerable uncertainty due to political, cultural, environmental, and social challenges, as well as personal transitions. This session offered space to explore how creative practice is influenced by periods of significant change. The artists spent a fruitful week together in the studio but their second week was cut short due to a COVID outbreak. True to the session theme, participating artists graciously rolled with this unforeseen challenge. We hope to reconnect with them again under more favorable conditions! 

Organized by Frank Pitcher and JoAnn Schnabel the session included participating artists Joe Bova, Linda Casbon, Christine Caswell, David East, Michael Foerster, Andrea Kliffmiller, Jim Lawton, Mary Lynagh, Nancy Selvin, Jane Shellenbarger, Holly Walker, Stephen Robison, Knaide Rosenberg, Reese Seigfried, and Jason Starin.

Research & Practice: July 24-August 4

During this session, artists divided their time between sharing ways they approach the investigations that inform their creative practices and making work alongside one another in the studio. Through whole group discussions and readings, small group conversations, and an informal staging of finished work in the Barkan Gallery, this cohort formed strong bonds and took a holistic approach to exploring their practices.

Organized by Bridget Fairbank, this session’s participating artists included Anne Adams, Amanda Bury, Katie Chin, Rachel de Condé, Lilian Finckel, Neil Forrest, Jennifer Hansen Gard, Danielle Hawk, Adriana Lemus, Samara Yandell, Amélie Proulx, Lindsay Rogers, Andrew Tieman, Alana Wilson, and Alecia Dawn Young.

Collectivity: August 19-30

Our final 2023 summer residency session facilitated opportunities to form creative community during a non-stop two weeks on campus. Seventeen very prolific resident artists made the most of their time in the studio, with folks working at all hours of the day and night. Outside the studio, they fired salt kilns, dug and processed local clay, pit fired work, staged a ‘Pottery Throw Down’ competition, held a karaoke night, and danced late into the evening. Their time together culminated with a spectacular potluck dinner featuring collaborative dishes inspired by the artists’ cultures of origin. The menu included challah, carne asada, gourmet nachos, saffron ice cream and many other sweet and savory treats.

Session guest artists Armando Minjárez, Michelle Im & Raheleh Filsoofi were joined by Shay Gerassy, Frances Iadarola, Alyson Brandes, Mackenzie Pikaart, Lisa Larson-Walker, Jenny Ibsen, Sahar Tarighi, Wendy Eggerman, Abril Robbins, Vani Aguilar, Kiran Joan, Sun Park, Maggie Jones, and Zelda Mayer.

We’re grateful for the opportunity to connect with every artist who helped shape the 2023 residency season. Plans for next year’s residencies are underway with more details coming this fall. Sign up for Watershed’s e-newsletter to receive the 2024 session announcement.