Skowhegan is an intensive nine-week summer residency program for emerging visual artists established in 1946.

Skowhegan seeks each year to bring together a diverse group of individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to artmaking and inquiry, creating the most stimulating and rigorous environment possible for a concentrated period of artistic creation, interaction and growth. Located on a historic 350 acre farm in rural Maine, the campus serves as a critical component of the program.

Neither a school in the traditional sense nor a retreat, Skowhegan draws its vitality from the community created through the talent and energy of the participants, and the distinguished Faculty of Resident and Visiting Artists who provide them with support and critical assistance. Founded by artists, and still governed by artists, the program provides an atmosphere in which participants are encouraged to work free of the expectations of the marketplace and academia.

While on campus, participants are given individual studio spaces, as well as access to a sculpture studio, a fresco studio, a media lab, a library composed of over 10,000 volumes, over 300-acres of farmland, forests, and lakefront, and a rich community of artists. Alumni often report that the intensity of the Skowhegan experience has had a profound effect on their work and their lives. In order to allow others entry, no participant is allowed to return for a second summer. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 
 

 
 

AFTER 70 YEARS, SKOWHEGAN’S FOUNDING PRINCIPLES ARE THE CORE OF THE PROGRAM AND THE ORGANIZATION.

SKOWHEGAN HISTORY

The founding and development of Skowhegan in 1946 is deeply connected to the explosive energy that characterized post-war American culture. In the mid-1940s the art world was in ferment; what was to become known as the New York School was in its formative stages. Willard W. Cummings (1915-1975), a New England portrait painter, shared his vision for enriching and educating the practical art experience of young artists with a friend he met while in the Army War Art Unit, Sidney Simon (1917-1997). Along with Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1971), already an established presence in the American art scene, and Charles Cutler (1914-1970), a New England stone sculptor, these men founded an American summer art school that would ultimately achieve an enduring place in the development of American artists: the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. Though Cummings, Simon, Poor, and Cutler were committed practitioners of traditional skills and saw these skills as forming the core of Skowhegan's original curriculum, their design of the program reveals a uniquely capacious vision. They did not intend Skowhegan to be a retreat into the countryside to simply nourish their own artistic philosophies and fend off change, but to be a place that would develop artists by offering an honest, supportive forum for divergent viewpoints. 

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From the start, Cummings, Cutler, Simon, and Poor intended Skowhegan to be a significant contributor to the dialogue of contemporary art — an intention symbolized by the establishment of and continuity offered by the year-round New York office. The first generation of Skowhegan artists, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, William King, Nancy Graves, and Janet Fish went on to establish names for themselves in the New York art world and introduced the Skowhegan experience to the city. Bill Cummings led the School through its formative years ensuring from the start that it welcomed a culturally and artistically diverse group of students.

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“Becoming an artist is a risky thing to do; being one is much riskier. Skowhegan seems to foster an attitude for risk-taking of all kinds, and this may well be its lasting contribution.”

— Calvin Tompkins

 

Subtitle about Skowhegan history being preserved in its archives

Short text about the Lecture Archive ie. Including more than 650 lectures from 1952 to the present by visual artists, poets, architects, philosophers, journalists, curators, historians, and choreographers, the Skowhegan Lecture Archive comprises recorded talks delivered by artists and visiting faculty to artists-in-residence during the School's intensive annual summer program in rural Maine.

 

SKOWHEGAN LEADERSHIP

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+ TRUSTEES


Ann L. Gund, Chair
Alan Wanzenberg, President
Gregory K. Palm, Treasurer
Andrea Crane, Secretary
Jan Aronson
David Beitzel (A '82)
Grace G. Bowman
John R. Coleman
Warren C. Cook
Eleanor Acquavella Dejoux
Chiara Edmands
Susan Paul Firestone (A '72)
Rena Hoffman
Stephanie Hunt
Robert L. Looker
Victoria Love Salnikoff
Bernard I. Lumpkin
Libbie J. Masterson
John Melick
Richard T. Prins
Judson P. Reis
Jennifer Rissler
Paula J. Volent

Chair Emerita
Mildred C. Brinn

A Denotes Alumni

F Denotes Faculty

+ Governors


Donald Moffett (F '04), Chair
Carrie Moyer (A '95, F '10), Vice Chair
Janine Antoni (F '98)
Donald Baechler (F '94)
Daniel Bozhkov (A '90, F '11)
Matthew Brannon (F '13)
Louis Cameron (A '96, F '16)
Francis Cape (A '89, F '08)
Marie-Antoinette Chiarenza, RELAX (F '13)
Mel Chin (F '95)
Martha Diamond (F '77, '83)
Chitra Ganesh (A '01, F '13)
Jeffrey Gibson (F '14)
María Elena González (F '05)
Guy Goodwin (F '88, '93)
Richard Haas (F '82, '84)
Jane Hammond (F '92, '05)
Daniel Hauser, RELAX (F '13)
Jennie C. Jones (A '96, F '14)
Bill Jensen (F '83, '86)
Martin Kersels (F '10)
Byron Kim (A '86, F '99)
Guillermo Kuitca (F '99, 04)
Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt (F '91, '92, '97, '13)
Marie Lorenz (A '04, F '13)
Whitfield Lovell (A '85, F '01, '02, '05)
Inigo Manglano-Ovalle (F '02)
Fabian Marcaccio (F '97)
Marlene McCarty (F '11)
Suzanne McClelland (F '99)
Dave McKenzie (A '00, F '11)
Alix Pearlstein (F '04)
Paul Pfeiffer (F '05, '10)
Howardena Pindell (F '80)
David Reed (A '66, F '88)
Allen Ruppersberg (F '01)
Alison Saar (F '93)
Sigrid Sandstrom (A '00, F '14)
Beverly Semmes (A '82, F '01, '05)
Lisa Sigal (A '86, F '06)
Kiki Smith (F '93)
Robert Storr (A '78, F '02)
Marc Swanson (A '00, F '14)
Julianne Swartz (A '99, F '08)
William Wegman (F '83, '92)
Fred Wilson (F '95)

Governor Emerita
Lois Dodd (F '79)
Emma Amos (F '86, '97, '06)

A Denotes Alumni

F Denotes Faculty

+ Advisory Committee


Douglas S. Cramer
Philippe de Montebello
David Driskell (A'53, F'76,'78,'04)
Kathy Halbreich (A '65)
John L. Marion
Kynaston McShine
Richard E. Oldenburg
Linda Shearer
Lowery Sims

A Denotes Alumni

F Denotes Faculty