Penland Core Studio

Penland Core Fellowship Program

The Penland Core Fellowship Program offers emerging artists the opportunity to explore artistic interests and career possibilities in a supportive artistic community. The program takes advantage of Penland's ever-changing, interdisciplinary learning environment and encourages students to develop their studio work while studying with top instructors in ten craft media. Unlike a residency, this fellowship is designed around Penland's total immersion workshop experience. Students fully participate in classes throughout spring, summer, and fall. This unique program can serve as a bridge between under-graduate and graduate studies, offer a self-motivated alternative to academic programs, or prepare students for a professional career as an artist/craftsperson. In culmination of a season of study, core students participate in the annual Core Show, a group exhibition of work completed throughout the year.

This program is a work/study fellowship that offers students an opportunity to participate in classes and be an integral part of the Penland community. Core students are employees of the school with compensation consisting of a modest stipend, room, board, and tuition. Core students are chosen for one to two years, continuing on to a second year after a positive review at the end of the first.



Core students work an average of 20-25 hours/week in various service positions. In addition to fulfilling their work responsibilty to the school, they are considered fully participating students and are expected to be engaged, productive members of each class they take. Work responsibilities begin each year in late February and end just before Thanksgiving. There is no work obligation from late November until late February.


Selection Criteria for the Core
Fellowship Program

Core fellows are selected by a committee that considers the quality and direction of the applicants' art work, their work experience, their character, and how they will contribute to the overall balance of the group and the program.

Specifically, we are looking at these factors:

1. Art Work
We are looking for work that shows a strong foundation and enough direction to tell us that the candidate will be able to take advantage of what this unique program offers. We are looking for excellent work, but we are also looking for potential. Candidates must be interested in working with materials that are part of our class program.

2. Work Experience
Core fellows are asked to do many different kinds of work, ranging from basic physical labor to supervisory tasks. Whether your work history is one of employment or volunteer work, we are looking for experience that will prepare you to adapt to these different tasks and work situations.

3. Group Dynamic
The nine core fellows share a house with limited privacy. They are involved in group tasks and decision making along with the normal challenges of group living. We are looking for participants with balanced personalities and slow fuses.

4. Program Balance
Because core fellows are given absolute preference in class selection, it's important to the school that the interests of each core group span a range of media. It's also beneficial to the program if the group includes a variety of backgrounds and interests.


Penland provides housing throughout the year, tuition for classes, and meals while the school is in session. Core students are responsible for all personal expenses and art materials.

Penland Resident Artists


There will be five openings in the program for 2012. Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, September 16, 2011. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Portfolio Requirements


All portfolio materials must be submitted in a standard 9 x 12-inch folder or binder.


o Current CV (1 page only)

o Written statement of intent that addresses the application questions below (one paragraph per question, no more than two pages total)

o 10 images of work (see image specifications below)

o Two letters of recommendation: one letter should be written by someone who knows you and your creative work well and should address your artistic commitment and development. The other letter should address your work or service qualifications and should be written by a direct supervisor. Please provide references with a copy of our selection criteria so that their comments will be as specific as possible. We will contact one or both references if questions come up during the application process. Both letters must be included in your application packet.

o Completed survey (download below).

o Self-addressed stamped envelope. We cannot return your portfolio without an SASE.

Core students at the annual core show

Application Questions

o Core students who are most successful come into the program with clear goals beyond the program that help guide and ground them during their time at Penland. What specific goals do you have for your creative work and career? How would the Penland Core Program help you to meet these goals?

o Because of the intensive nature of life at Penland, it is important that core students have the ability to maintain balance between personal, professional, and studio life. Describe how you will balance work demands with class commitments and studio objectives.

o Core students have a very public role at the school-in classes and in their school jobs-and are expected to be positive ambassadors for the school and community. Describe what your strengths and weaknesses would be as a member of a small community in this capacity.

o Core students perform kitchen, grounds, dining room, and general operations jobs that are crucial to the operation of the school. What specific job skills can you contribute to Penland's operation/improvement? What experience do you have that would exhibit your confidence and ability to accept responsibility, maintain a professional attitude, and supervise others?

o What is the #1 reason you want to be a Penland core student at this particular time?

Image Specifications

The portfolio must include 10 good quality images printed on 8 x10 or 8-1/2 x 11 photo or inkjet photo paper. We do not accept image files. Prints must be labeled with the artist's name, title of work, date of completion, materials, and dimensions.


Along with your application, we ask that you fill out and return this survey. The information shared on this form is for research and reporting purposes only (i.e., to help us get and renew grant funding for our programs). It is anonymous and confidential, will not be kept with your application, and will not affect the status of your application.

Address portfolio package to:

Core Fellowship Selection Committee
Penland School of Crafts
US Mail: P.O. Box 37 Penland, NC 28765
FedEx or UPS: 67 Dora's Trail, Penland, NC 28765

You may direct questions to:

Leslie Noell,
Core Fellowship Program Coordinator 828-230-7660

Cynthia Lindeman,
Services Manager 828-765-2359, ext. 19