Who comes to a Watershed residency?
Watershed residencies bring together artists with diverse approaches and backgrounds for a unique collective retreat. The only prerequisite is that you are comfortable working independently in a clay studio. Summer and Fall Residencies have something to offer artists at all career stages working in clay—from students to established professionals.
What happens during a residency?
Watershed residencies offer time in an open-studio setting with other artists, providing space to explore, experiment, and reflect. Up to sixteen artists in each session use their time in residence as they choose. Residents often collaborate on projects, explore new approaches to making, and take time to read, reflect, and engage with fellow artists.
During the two-week themed Summer Residency sessions, we encourage artists to focus on process over product. The session time frame and structure support community building and creative exploration. Artists who share similar interests can delve into studio-based investigations related to their practices while discussing common challenges and questions. While many artists do create a great deal of work during their stay, others use the time to try new methods and connect with other participants.
The four-week Fall Residency provides an extended period with a small group of artists to reflect and make work. Artists have time to complete larger-scale projects or explore more paths of inquiry during this open-ended session.
Is there formal instruction during the residency?
Watershed does not provide formal instruction during the Summer and Fall Residencies. Artists who attend a residency need to be comfortable working independently in the studio.
However, we do offer workshops in the spring and fall that include instruction. Watershed staff lead firing workshops in our gas and wood kilns and guest artist instructors lead workshops focused on their areas of expertise.
What does it mean to organize a themed residency?
Watershed accepts proposals from working artists who are interested in creating a theme for a Summer Residency session. One artist serves as the organizer by proposing a session theme and inviting four to eight other artists to anchor the session with them. Proposals are reviewed by artist-panelists and Watershed then works with the organizer to plan the session over the next year.
In November, the sessions for the following summer are announced publicly and artists may apply to join the themed sessions by February 1. Applications are reviewed by a panel of practicing artists who work in clay. Up to nine additional artists who apply to attend through Watershed’s regular application process are accepted to each session. Once in-residence on campus, the entire group of sixteen artists forms one community. Artists work collaboratively and independently while engaging with one another around the session’s theme. Click here to learn more about themed residency proposals.
If I am not invited by a residency organizer, can I still participate?
Yes. Any artist who is comfortable working independently in a clay studio is welcome to apply to join a residency. While the organizer and invited artists propose the session theme and anchor the session, all participating artists form one community while sharing studio space, ideas, meals, and housing during their time at Watershed.
Do you offer financial assistance?
Watershed offers merit scholarships for the Summer Residency and work-exchange scholarships for the Fall Residency.
Several colleges and universities collaborate with Watershed to offer their students funded assistantships for the summer residency. The school pays the assistantship residency fee and the student participates in the residency free of charge in exchange for 15 hours of work per week. Please contact Watershed if you are a faculty member interested in setting up a funded assistantship.
Who can apply for a scholarship award?
Any artist is welcome to apply for a scholarship award and may receive a total of two full scholarships over their lifetime. Those who have received full scholarship awards in the past must wait three years before applying for funding again.
Watershed offers full awards called Kiln God Awards that are open to any artist. We also have awards specifically for:
- Artists of color
- International and/or multicultural artists
- Artists from underrepresented populations in the ceramics field
- Artists whose work addresses political, social, cultural or environmental issues
- Emerging artists
Artists who want consideration for any of these awards can indicate this in their Summer Residency application.
Full awards cover the residency fee and the housing fee. Partial awards can cover up to two-thirds of the residency and housing fees.
What are the studios like?
Built in 2021, the Windgate Studio at Watershed is a 7,500 square-foot building offering artists a state-of-the-art, open concept studio space to work and connect with other makers. The open-concept space is ideal for interaction or self-directed exploration at a variety of scales. Studios are equipped with electric and kick wheels, as well as a variety of standard ceramic equipment (e.g., slab-rollers, mixers, pug mill, wheels, extruder and drybox). The rural campus offer many possibilities for site-specific (temporary) installations.
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
See our Studio FAQ page for more studio-related information.
What are housing accommodations like?
Artists are housed in simple, modern cabins on Watershed’s campus and can choose from single or double occupancy rooms and shared or private bathrooms.
Built in the early 2000’s, the cabins are occupied seasonally. Some are equipped with radiant floor heat. All have screened windows that open and close but the cabins are not air conditioned. Watershed provides fans for resident artists to use during hot stretches. Rooms are furnished with twin beds, mattress pads, and pillows. When feasible, participating artists should bring their own sheets, blankets and/or comforters. Those who need to rent bedding may do so for a fee of $25. All rooms have armoires for storing clothing and personal belongings.
See the campus tour slideshow for exterior and interior images of the cabins.
Can I stay off campus during a residency?
Because the community experience is central to Watershed residencies, we require artists to live on campus during a session. Workshop participants may elect to stay off campus.
Can I bring my pet?
We love animals, but please leave your pets at home, including therapy pets. Prospective resident artists who have registered service animals should contact us to discuss their specific needs or situation.
Can I have guests visit during my residency?
Resident artists can have guests drop them off and pick them up at Watershed but the campus is only open to program participants during a session.
Can I bring my child/family to the residency?
At this time, only artists participating in a residency may reside on campus during a session. We recognize there is a need to offer residencies that can accommodate families and hope to offer programming to meet this need in the future.
May I arrive a day early for my residency or stay a day late?
We cannot accommodate early arrivals or late departures. If your travel plans require you arrive in Maine prior to the start of your session or leave later than the end of the session, we can recommend some local accommodations. See below.
Can you suggest any hotels/motels/bnb's in the area?
- Wiscasset Woods Lodge http://www.wiscassetwoods.com (moderately priced)
- Cod Cove Inn (Edgecomb) https://codcoveinn.com (very close to Watershed)
- Sheepscot Harbor Village Resort https://www.midcoastshvr.com/
room/the-inn-hotel (close to Watershed)
- Down Easter Inn (Damariscotta) – http://www.downeasterinn.com
- Mill Pond Inn (Nobleboro) – http://www.millpondinn.com (right on a lake)
- Newcastle Inn (Newcastle) – www.newcastleinn.com
- Pioneer Motel (Edgecomb) – http://pioneermotel.com (economical, no frills, & close to Watershed)
We also suggest looking at Airbnb or other vacation rentals in the nearby towns of Wiscasset, Edgecomb, Damariscotta, Newcastle, and Boothbay. Book early! Summer rentals in Maine get reserved well in advance.
How do I get to Watershed?
Watershed’s campus straddles the towns of Edgecomb and Newcastle, Maine, 50 miles northeast of Portland. Watershed is just off Route 1, one and one half miles northeast of Wiscasset. The main campus address is 19 Brick Hill Rd., Newcastle, ME.
Watershed encourages artists attending the Summer Residency to travel to the residency in their own vehicle, if possible. Artists participating in the Fall Residency are required to have a vehicle with them while in-residence.
Directions by Car
From the South:
- Take I-95 (Maine Turnpike) North to I-295, exit 44. This takes you through Portland. Note that this is NOT the Maine Turnpike at this point.
- Follow I-295 North to exit 28 for Brunswick. As you exit I-295 at Brunswick you will be on U.S. Route 1 North.
- Follow Route 1 through Brunswick, Bath, and Wiscasset.
- After crossing the Wiscasset bridge, continue one mile to Cochran Road on your left- at the top of a hill, just past the Route 27 turn-off to Boothbay.
- Turn left onto Cochran Rd., just past the turn off to Rt 27 South.*
From the North:
- Watershed is about 8 miles South of Damariscotta/Newcastle via Rt. 1.
- Take a right on Cochran Road, at the top of the hill across from the turn off to Rt. 27 South.
*The entrance to Watershed’s campus is seven-tenths of a mile along Cochran Rd. Drive past our administrative office/gallery in the yellow house. Turn right onto Brick Hill Road at the Watershed/Straw Farm sign. The first building on the right is Thompson Hall. The studio is 1/4 mile further down the gravel road to the right. The farm and property on the opposite side of Brick Hill Road is not part of Watershed.
The Portland International Jetport is about an hour’s drive from Watershed. You can get from the Portland airport to Watershed via the taxi services listed below. You must reserve ahead of time, so please call ahead with your flight details! Please note that the costs listed below are estimates given by the companies, prices are subject to change and you should call for more information. Oftentimes, it is less expensive to share a taxi, shuttle, or car service.
Some artists prefer to fly into Boston/Logan Airport (BOS) and catch a bus from there to Wiscasset, Maine, which is the town next to Watershed. Be sure to leave plenty of time between your flight’s arrival and the bus’ 10:35 a.m. airport departure. We recommend you schedule at least 1.5 hours between your arrival and the bus’ departure. The Concord Coach Bus leaves Logan airport at 10:35 a.m. and arrives in Wiscasset at 2:25 p.m. Watershed is 6 miles from the bus stop, so artists must arrange a pickup from a local taxi or from another incoming artist.
Twin Village Taxi | 207-380-0050
From the Portland Jetport their towncar accommodates up to 3 people, approximately $156 including gratuity. They also have minivans that can accommodate up to 5 people.
Sterling Elite | 207-785-3100
See website for airport shuttle times. Also offers a private, chauffeured car service.
Airport shuttle NOT including gratuity – for 1 person approx. $138, for 2 people approx. $153 from the Portland Jetport.
Atlantic Limousine | 207-856-6400
Sedan accommodates up to 2 people, approx. $213 including gratuity from the Portland Jetport.
SUV accommodates 4 – 5 people, approx $250 including gratuity.
Maine Limo | 207-883-0222
Sedan accommodates up to 2 people, approx. $230 including gratuity.
SUV accommodates up to 5 people, approx. $275 including gratuity.
Additional $20 flat fee if they need to leave the office between midnight and 6am.
Can I buy art supplies at Watershed?
A large inventory of raw materials to make clay and glaze is available for purchase but Watershed does not stock commercial glazes or underglazes. At the beginning of each session, we pick up supply orders from Portland Pottery for those who are traveling long distances and are unable to bring materials with them. Find more details on advance purchasing on our residency general info page.