Watershed NOW

South-facing view of Watershed’s new Windgate Studio

It’s time for Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts to enhance the artist residency experience by improving our campus facilities. The Watershed NOW campaign will create new spaces that inspire bold artistic practice and community.

Why NOW?

Watershed’s programs offer a powerful combination of time, space, and community that has changed artists’ lives and work for more than thirty years. The campus facilities play an integral role in facilitating the “Watershed magic” by providing an environment that sparks growth and connection. Artists share meals, live alongside one another, and enjoy 24-hour studio access in open-concept spaces that inspire informal sharing. 

However, some of our current buildings pose a host of challenges, including a lack of full accessibility or security, and no weatherization. While the rustic nature of the studio—which was originally a chicken barn—adds a certain charm to the campus, the outdated structure leaves artists at the mercy of the elements and constrains our program season to late May through September.

NOW is the time for this to change. With our residential programs on hold due to COVID-19, Watershed’s leadership has taken the essential step to pursue building a new state-of-the-art studio, and to further develop plans for improved dining and staff quarters. The Watershed NOW campaign supports these necessary upgrades which will encourage the growth of artists and our programs for years to come.



Campaign Phases

Watershed has created a master plan for campus improvements that includes fully accessible, sustainable, and cost-efficient facilities. We have already made significant progress toward our goal and are poised to move forward with the construction of a new studio building.


Phase I: Project planning, feasibility study and conceptual facility designs, 2015-2017

Phase 2: Purchase and renovation of the Joan Pearson Watkins House, 2018-2019 

  • This fully restored historic home holds Watershed’s Barkan Gallery, which offers year-round exhibition, lecture, and event space. Watershed’s administrative offices and retail shop are also located in the house.

Phase 3: Construction of the Studio Annex, 2020

  • The Annex includes flexible space for adjunct programs, material storage, and maintenance work. 

Happening NOW:

Phase 4: New Windgate Studio, 2020-2021

  • The studio’s flexible design enables construction to be completed in stages. The initial building stage includes all core components and sets the stage for seamless additions as the project continues. 
  • Construction begins in fall 2020
  • Studio opens in June 2021 

In Development: 

Phase 5: Campus Commons design and construction, 2022-2023

  • The Commons will replace the existing Thompson Hall. The plan includes comfortable dining facilities, a commercial kitchen, and weatherized housing for staff.

Help Watershed continue these important projects!

Studio 2.0

Click the image to enlarge and see details

Watershed residencies are known for the sense of community and camaraderie they foster. Small groups of artists come to live and work alongside one another in our open-concept studio space that invites interaction and collaboration. However, use of our current studio is limited to the warmer months of the year due to lack of insulation, heating, and winterization. It is also located on the second floor of the building and is only accessible via stairs.

Through the generosity of donors who have supported the Watershed NOW campaign, Watershed is poised to build a new 7500 square foot studio building that will offer artists a state-of-the-art space to work and connect with other makers. Construction on the Windgate Studio began this fall with the goal of having it completed for use by artists in June 2021. Join us by supporting this momentous development!

Windgate Studio features: 

  • A single-level floor plan designed for ceramic work with easy access to raw materials, kilns, a glaze room, plaster room, and spray booth
  • Temperature regulation in all seasons 
  • Full accessibility and ADA compliance
  • 4800 square feet of studio space
  • Energy efficiency 
  • A footprint that can easily expand to incorporate additional studio and programming space in the future.

The Windgate Studio will also provide Watershed with flexibility to grow programs and plans that: 

  • Support artists working on commissions or large scale projects
  • Bring (inter)nationally-known guest artists to lead workshops 
  • Provide opportunities for student groups to make and fire work
  • Enable us to collaborate with partner organizations
  • Offer space for artists to create and connect throughout the year
  • Tap into our limitless potential! 

If you would like to learn more about naming opportunities or help to sustain Watershed’s studio needs through an endowment, please contact Fran Rudoff at Frudoff@watershedceramics.org for more information. 

Support Watershed’s new studio!


Watershed’s vision to offer year-round programming in fully accessible, cost efficient, and sustainable facilities has been years in the making. In 2017, we received a $2 million grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, $1.5 million of which was a challenge grant. We have raised more than 90% of funds toward the match and are immensely grateful for the support of individuals and foundations listed below* whose gifts and pledges have provided early momentum for the Watershed NOW campaign.


*Please note, this list reflects gifts and pledges received through December 10, 2020 and is updated on a monthly basis.