Organize a Residency

Practicing artists who work in clay develop the themes for our Summer Residency sessions. During this time when our lives and relationships are increasingly centered online, Watershed’s two-week sessions provide an opportunity for artists with common interests to gather together in person. To organize a session, an artist proposes a theme that relates to their practice and convenes a small group of artists who share an interest in the proposed theme. This core group anchors the session together. Additional participating artists then apply to join the themed session via our Summer Residency application. Once the whole group is in-residence, all artists form one community during their thematic retreat. 

We encourage prospective session organizers to read through the details below and contact us if with any questions. Proposals are accepted from March 15-June 15 annually.

Application Details

The process of organizing a themed session begins the year prior to the proposed residency. Interested artists are encouraged to contact Watershed to discuss their ideas. Application requirements include:

  • A proposed session theme
  • Preferred session dates
  • Information on the organizer, including images of work
  • Information on four to eight invited artists, including contact information, work samples, and confirmation that these invitees have agreed to take part in the session

The annual application deadline is June 15.

A panel of working artists reviews the submissions. Consideration is given to the quality and feasibility of the session theme, the organizer’s and invitee’s work and scope of practice, and how well the theme will resonate with a broader contingency of artists.


Timeline & Process

Step 1: Planning & Preparation

  • One artist develops a residency theme and serves as the session organizer.
  • In April, Watershed hosts online information sessions for artists who are considering submitting a proposal.
  • While fine-tuning their session theme, the organizer invites a minimum of four and up to eight additional artists to form their core group that anchors the session. 
  • The organizer must confirm that all invited artists fully understand the deadlines and fees associated with participating in the residency. See below for financial details and scholarship awards.

Step 2: Proposal Submission and Review

  • The organizer submits the thematic residency proposal to Watershed by June 15. 
  • A panel of working artists reviews the submissions.
  • In August, Watershed notifies the session organizer of their proposal’s acceptance and works with them to schedule dates for their session. 

Step 3: Session Cohort Development

  • Once the session dates are confirmed, the invited artists submit their registration materials and deposit payments. 
  • It is rare that all invitees from the original proposal can attend the session once it’s scheduled. During this phase new invitees may be added to the group.
  • In November, Watershed’s Summer Residency application and scholarship application opens to the public. Additional artists apply to join the session by February 1. 
  • A panel of practicing artists reviews Summer Residency general applications and makes scholarship award determinations.
  • In March, the additional 6-10 available session spots are filled by artists who applied through Watershed’s Summer Residency application. 

Step 4: Residency!

  • Summer Residency sessions run from late May through August. All artists in each session work side-by-side in the Watershed studio, forming one community.


Fees & Financial Support

All residency fees are subsidized thanks to the generous support from our donors. The total cost to support an artist at Watershed for a two-week residency session is more than $3200. Watershed does not require any resident artist to pay this cost in full. The donor-subsidized fee that artists are asked to cover is the combined total of the residency fee and the room and board fee. See below for details on themed session organizer and invitee pricing.

The organizer participates in the residency free-of-charge*; the fee waiver covers studio space, lodging in a double occupancy room, and meals. The organizer is responsible for personal travel costs to and from Watershed, as well as materials and firing costs, which typically range from $75-$200, depending on how much work an artist makes and fires.

Occasionally two artists share the organizer role as co-organizers. In this case, they each receive a 50% discount on their residency, double-occupancy room, and board fees. Organizers and co-organizers are not eligible for additional financial support. 

Invited artists receive a 30% discount on their residency fee. The discount is $405 off the regular resident artist rate. Invitees pay for lodging and meals at the regular rate, as well as materials and firing costs. See below for 2023 pricing specifics:

Invited Artist Residency Fee:  $945
Regular Resident Artist Residency Fee $1350
Double Occupancy Room/Shared Bath $700 per person
Single Occupancy Room/Shared Bath $1000
Double Occupancy Room/Private Bath $1300 per person
Single Occupancy Room/Private Bath $1600

In addition to the residency fee discount, invited artists are eligible to apply for scholarship awards of up to $500. These scholarships are limited in number. Invited artists should only commit to participate in the residency if they are able to do so regardless of scholarship outcomes.    

*The organizer is responsible for replacing invitees who drop out. Watershed will work with the session organizer to find replacement invitees, as needed. If the the number of confirmed invitees drops below four and a replacement is not found, our policy is that the organizer no longer receives a discount and is responsible for covering their own session fees at the invitee rate. (Please note, this has never happened, as we work closely with organizers to ensure that it won’t!)

Sample Session Themes

A wide range of session themes have generated successful residencies. Some themes focus on technical aspects of working in clay while others explore conceptual topics. A sampling of successful past session themes include:  

  • Using clay in socially-engaged practice 
  • Working with live models and figurative sculpture
  • Convening online collectives to work alongside one another in person
  • Creating ephemeral work with raw clay
  • Experimenting with firing techniques and surface treatments
  • Responding to Watershed’s campus via site-specific work
  • Exploring clay’s role in multidisciplinary practice
  • Finding inspiration from the natural world 
  • Investigating artistic influence through shared exploration and collaboration