Skowhegan has a long tradition of offering artists the opportunity to engage fully with their studio practice, with their peers, and with distinguished faculty and mentors. The experience has proven to be transformative time and time again for those artists who are able to take full advantage of the experimentation and critical discourse possible in this unique community in Maine.
Though Skowhegan retains its historic name as a school of Painting & Sculpture, artists working in every media, traditional & new, now gather on campus for the nine-week program each summer. Skowhegan accepts 65 artists from a pool of 2000 applicants each year. Participants come to Skowhegan from all over the world and many different backgrounds. There are no educational prerequisites to participate in the program, but all participants must be 21 years of age by the start of the program. Skowhegan is committed to supporting those who are accepted to the program and financial need should never serve as a barrier to applying or attending.
Because the program focuses on process and experimentation, participants are encouraged to come prepared to work without a preconceived agenda or schedule. The program requires participants to commit to being in residence for the full nine-week session from mid-June to mid-August, and absences from the program to fulfill other professional commitments are not permitted. All Participants, Faculty, and staff live and work on campus and are provided with studio space and technical support for their work. The artistic dialogue continues around the clock.
While your time at Skowhegan is your own, keep in mind that a fundamental priority of the program is to take advantage of the presence of the community on campus through openness and exchange. We advise against arriving on campus with a predetermined plan, such as preparing for an exhibition. Skowhegan is a rare opportunity to delve deeply into your practice, to encounter and give generous feedback, to accept and offer challenges. The best experiences are those that are completely open and responsive to the community of artists on campus and the landscape in which Skowhegan is located.
Skowhegan's Board of Governors, all working artists, invites a new faculty of Resident and Visiting Artists to campus each year to guarantee a diversity of perspectives. Five Resident Artists live on campus alongside of the 65 participants and an academic staff for the duration of the nine-week program. These artists are highly accomplished and represent a cross-section of the contemporary art world. The structure of Skowhegan's program is provided by regular one-on-one critiques given to each participant by the Faculty, and through the series of lectures given by the faculty over the summer. Six Visiting Faculty complement the Resident Faculty by joining the community for shorter visits throughout the summer. The diversity within the faculty group helps allow discussions to be dynamic and substantive and much of the mentorship takes place outside of the formal studio visit hours. This is what sets Skowhegan apart as an experience.
Because Skowhegan’s community of Resident Artists and participants is new each year, the program itself is re-invented each day. Skowhegan stands out as a moment when artists have been given absolute freedom in determining their path in the studio without a demanding structure in place, though work, studio visits and discussion are the central components of the program. Lectures serve as a weekly anchor for the program, and all campus resources, such as the library, the woodshop, and the media lab are open 24 hours a day. Each participant will have a different understanding of how to use their time, and what the experience will mean, but every participant finds new energy and rigor, as well as new frustrations and questions.