Many of Watershed’s residency sessions are organized by artists—who propose a theme related to clay and recruit a handful of other artists to join them for a session. We call these Artists Invite Artists (AIA) Groups.
Organizing an AIA session provides an opportunity to gather with colleagues you know or with artists whose work you’ve admired from afar. The organizing artist and group of invited artists collectively shape a creative thematic retreat. The balance of participants in each AIA summer residency session register independently, often drawn by a shared interest in the session theme. Once at Watershed, all artists form one community as they work side-by-side in the Watershed studio. While clay is core to the Watershed experience, some AIA artists work in other media as well.
Watershed’s staff is happy to talk with prospective AIA organizers about this leadership role and how it has been approached by others. Please read through the details below and contact us if you have further questions. Proposals to organize a residency session the following year are accepted from April 15-June 15 annually.
- One artist* proposes a theme for a summer residency session at Watershed and serves as the AIA Organizer.
- The AIA Organizer participates in the residency free-of-charge; the fee waiver includes studio space, lodging, and meals. The AIA Organizer covers their personal travel costs to and from Watershed, as well as material and firing costs.
- The AIA Organizer is responsible for inviting 4-8 additional artists to form their AIA group. These participants receive a discount on their residency fees. Invited artists pay for lodging and meals at the regular rate (see fee schedule below), as well as materials and firing costs.
- An additional 7-9 available spots in the session are filled by artists who apply to join the session through Watershed’s summer residency application.
- During the residency, all artists-in-residence work side-by-side in the Watershed studio, forming one community.
* Occasionally, two artists may propose a theme and share the role of AIA Organizer. In this case, the two artists each receive a 50% discount on their residency, room, and board fees.
Applying to organize a residency happens a year in advance. Interested artists are encouraged to contact Watershed to discuss their plans. Online applications are accepted each spring until June 15 in the year preceding the residency.
Application requirements include a proposed session theme, preferred session dates, and confirmation/contact information for the AIA organizer, along with contact information for at least four and up to eight additional artists invited by the organizer who have agreed to participate.
Fees & Financial Support
The AIA organizer participates in the residency free-of-charge; the fee waiver includes studio space, lodging, and meals. The AIA leader is responsible for personal travel costs to and from Watershed, as well as materials and firing costs.
The AIA invited artists receive a 15% discount on their residency registration fee. Invited artists pay for lodging and meals at the regular rate, as well as materials and firing costs.
In addition to the discount on residency fees, AIA invited artists are eligible for scholarship awards of up to $500. AIA organizers are not eligible for additional financial support.
Example AIA Themes
We have found that a wide range of themes have resulted in successful AIA residency sessions. A few examples include:
- Groups that focused on figurative sculpture
- A group of artists with clay backgrounds, who now primarily work in other media, revisited their roots to work in clay
- A session that focused on artistic influences and how time in shared exploration at Watershed impacted the participants’ work
- Online collectives come to Watershed to work together in person
- Sessions focused on a particular collaboration or project that included all resident artists (both AIA and non-AIA session members)
Apply to lead an AIA
- The annual deadline is June 15 of the preceding year.
- Proposals are accepted from April 15-June 15 annually.