Frequently Asked Questions

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 also offers full awards specifically for artists of color, international and/or multicultural artists, and emerging artists. Artists who want consideration for any of these awards can indicate their interest in their Summer Residency application.

Full awards cover the residency fee and the housing fee, along with a $100 credit toward material expenses incurred through Watershed. 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. Please note that private bedrooms and private bathrooms are limited.

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?

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 main campus address is 19 Brick Hill Road, Newcastle, ME

The Center is easily accessible via car, bus, or plane. We are about a 3-hour drive from Boston. Concord Coach lines offers bus service up the Maine Coast from Boston and NYC, with a stop in Wiscasset, ME. Local taxi services can take artists from the bus stop to Watershed.

Artists-in-residence often fly into the Portland, ME jetport or Logan airport in Boston and either use a taxi/limo service or the Concord Coach bus to make their way here.

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.