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Summer Scholarships 101

group photo of a printmaking class all holding up different tools

Every year, roughly half of the students in Penland workshops are here through some type of scholarship. These scholarships are deeply important to our school and our community; they allow hundreds of motivated, talented, dedicated people to be part of Penland who would otherwise not have a chance to learn here. It makes the Penland experience richer for everyone.

Still, with that many scholarships available, we’re the first to admit that it can be a little complicated to find the best fit for you. Read on for clarity!

First, let’s start with the details that all scholarships have in common:

– All scholarship applications will be available beginning January 1 and are due by 11:59 PM Eastern time on February 17.

– All scholarship applications must be made online at penland.slideroom.com.

– All scholarship applications require two completed reference forms and a $10 Slideroom application fee.

Penland scholarships sorted by partial/full and work/no workPenland offers scholarships in four different categories. The two main factors that distinguish these options are:

– Do they have a work requirement or not? Many Penland scholarships involve a work requirement, which is usually about 20 hours per week of work in the Penland kitchen and dish room. For studio assistants, this work takes place in the studio supporting your workshop’s instructor, studio coordinator, and other students.

– Are they full scholarships or partial scholarships? Full scholarships cover 100% of tuition, room, and board for the session. Partial scholarships cover a significant portion of these costs but still require students to contribute some to the cost of their workshop. For example, full-pay students staying in dormitory housing for a 2-week clay session will pay $2,447. A student with a partial scholarship will pay only $681 for the same session.

For all you visual folks, take a look at this nifty rainbow chart to see where our different scholarship offerings fall. You can read full descriptions of each scholarship type on our summer scholarship page. If you’re a teacher or a resident of the local Penland area, please also read about our Standby Program, which is a special type of scholarship that uses a different application process.

woman painting a chair frame in the wood studio; two women at the bench in the hot shop

Now, let’s get down to some different scenarios and figure out what scholarship(s) are right for you…

I have my heart set on a certain workshop, but I need a scholarship in order to attend.

Your best bet is to take advantage of Penland’s Early Decision Scholarships. These scholarships are like our Partial Scholarships with Work Requirement, but applicants are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and hear back within three working days of submitting their application. We hold one space in every summer workshop for early decision scholarship students, so we’d recommend completing your application as close to January 1 as possible! If the early decision space has already been filled, you can still apply for other Penland scholarships before February 17.

I want to come to Penland, but I’m not able to perform the types of kitchen jobs that the work requirement entails.

Apply for a full scholarship with no work requirement! We offer over 100 of these scholarships every summer to a wide range of students. Most of these scholarships ask students to submit images of their work, but there are also some that do not require images and may be suitable for complete beginners. Many of them also target students from specific geographic areas, age groups, careers, or mediums.

I won’t be able to attend Penland without a full scholarship.

If you apply for full scholarships with AND without a work requirement, you’re more likely to get one. We’d also recommend submitting the best images of your work that you have (it doesn’t have to be work related to the workshops you’re applying for). And, take a look at any open studio assistant positions to see if there might be one that’s a good fit for your skills and expertise!

A bunch of different workshops look exciting to me. I just really want to be at Penland this summer!

Great, being flexible is a big plus. We’d recommend submitting multiple workshop choices with your application and also being open to scholarships with a work requirement. To increase your chances even further, submit your application as early as possible through the early decision option!

I have a lot of different commitments to juggle, and I really need to know before April if I will be coming to Penland.

The Early Decision option was made for you! Because these scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you’ll hear back within three business days of submitting your completed application. Listing more than one workshop choice and submitting your materials as close to January 1 as possible will help, too.

I want to get into my first choice workshop, but I don’t need a scholarship to come.

Apply as a full-pay student through our online registration portal. All non-scholarship registration begins at noon Eastern time on Monday, January 13. Because this registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, you will have a good chance of scoring a seat in your top choice workshop if you register as close to noon on the 13th as possible! Thank you for helping us to make sure that our scholarships are being awarded to those who would have difficulty attending Penland without them.

If you have further questions about Penland scholarships this summer, please contact our registrar at 828-765-2359. And get started on selecting your top summer 2020 workshops and identifying your references so that you’re ready to go when scholarship applications open January 1!

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Summer 2020 Workshops!

catalog cover showing a woman working at the anvil in the iron studio

We’re thrilled to announce our complete lineup of summer 2020 workshops! We’ve got 104 different offerings for you to choose from, each one an opportunity to learn from experienced makers and explore new materials and dream up new ideas and connect with other folks doing the same. Browse them all by studio, by session, or in our online catalog PDF (paper catalogs are at the printer at this very moment!).

Want a little taste of what you might find?

Books & Paper: large-scale sheet forming, cast paper sculpture, cut paper and pop-up books
Clay: ceramic tile, animated ceramic sculptures, building with paperclay, kurinuki
Drawing & Painting: abstract painting, observational oil painting, sketchbooks
Glass: glass painting, borosilicate sculpture, mold making, hot glass sculpting
Iron: metal furniture, forged utensils and vessels, sculptural steel
Metals: electroforming, Japanese engraving, sand casting, gold fusing
Photo: view cameras, poetic photographs, cameraless photography, hand coloring prints
Print & Letterpress: mokuhanga, screenprinting, typography on the press, lithography
Textiles: block printing with natural dyes, sculptural basketry, boro and indigo, intermediate weaving
Wood: curved forms in wood, timber framing, cork, sculptural spoon carving

…and dozens and dozens of other things, too.

Registration will open for all summer workshops on January 13 at noon Eastern time on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarships are available for all summer workshops! Scholarship applications open January 1 and are due by February 17. Starting this year, scholarships have a reduced application fee of $10.

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Crafting the Future

Shanti working on her forged gate in the Penland Iron Studio
Shanti Broom working in the Penland iron studio, summer 2019.

Across the country, there is a plethora of organizations doing incredible work to support underrepresented young people in the arts. In New Orleans, YAYA offers free after-school training to local teens in painting, glass, ceramics, mixed media art, and entrepreneurship. In Los Angeles, HOLA’s extensive visual arts programming connects hundreds of students in grades 1-12 with 115 free classes in twenty different art forms. In Newark, NJ, Glassroots provides glass and entrepreneurship programs to underserved youth and young adults in the area.

Similarly, there are incredible craft schools around the USA like Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, and others that provide emerging and established artists with new skills, inspiration, and an engaged network of peers and mentors. Often times, workshops or residencies at these schools can be pivotal experiences for artists as they explore and establish their careers.

But between these influential youth programs and adult craft schools, a group of artists saw a gap: the many talented, inspired young people who never pursue careers in the arts. How can we continue to support promising young artists once they have aged out of youth art programs? they wondered. How can we better connect them to the incredible opportunities that craft schools offer? How can we enable more of them to thrive as professional artists?

To tackle these questions, they started Crafting the Future this spring, a fledgling collective of artists interested in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the craft world:

The fields of craft, art, and design in the United States do not reflect the full spectrum of people in our country. When groups of artists go unrepresented, an inaccurate and incomplete story is being told, sold, and preserved—and everyone loses.

At Crafting the Future, our goal is to increase representation in these disciplines so that we all can benefit from a richer, more diverse story… Working together and combining our resources, we support the careers of young, underrepresented artists by connecting them to opportunities that will help them thrive.

Tyrik at work on a self-portrait in the Penland Painting Studio
Tyrik Conaler in the Penland painting studio with an in-progress self-portrait behind him.

As a first step, Crafting the Future started a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to send one alum from YAYA in New Orleans to a summer session at Penland. The campaign quickly drew enough support that they doubled the goal to $8,000, which would cover the costs for two YAYA artists to travel to Penland for a workshop. Thanks to the help of 141 backers, they reached that goal within two weeks.

A few short months later, Tyrik Conaler and Shanti Broom, both young alums of the YAYA program, arrived at Penland for session 2. Tyrik enrolled in Michael Dixon’s oil painting workshop, where he fine tuned both the technical and conceptual aspects of painting through the lens of self-portraiture. At the end of the session, a collaboration between Tyrik and the instructor sparked a bidding war at Thursday night’s scholarship auction. Meanwhile, Shanti was learning to work at the forge and anvil in Shawn Lovell’s iron workshop. “I’ve never done any forging before,” Shanti told me, “But I chose this workshop because it’s something that you don’t see a lot of women doing.” Two weeks later, she had gained enough skill to translate her drawings for an art-deco-inspired gate into metal, and she was eager to keep going.

So is Crafting the Future. The organization plans to raise money to send more students to craft school workshops in summer 2020 based on the success of their 2019 pilot. “I can’t emphasize enough the changes we’ve seen in Tyrik since he’s been back from Penland. Shanti, too,” says Meg, YAYA’s executive director. “It’s particularly cool to provide opportunities like Crafting the Future to older artists because the younger kids really look up to them. We’re now offering special Saturday night studio hours for a select group of artists, building on Tyrik and Shanti’s enthusiasm about being able to work any time of day or night at Penland—it’s quickly becoming something that the younger artists are aspiring to be a part of. The ripple effect is incredible!”

As Crafting the Future explained in their first campaign, “One scholarship won’t change the face of the art world, but it just might change the course of a life. It’s the best way we know to kickstart the change we want to see in our community.” Eventually, as the organization becomes more established, they’d like to work with additional craft schools and provide opportunities like internships, mentorships, and college prep to young artists.

Here at Penland, we’ll be cheering them on the whole way. We’re incredibly proud to build our relationship with Crafting the Future and to welcome the energy and perspective that students like Tyrik and Shanti bring to our studios and our community. We hope that many of you take some time to learn more about the Crafting the Future mission and get involved. You can read about the Crafting the Future vision here and follow them on Instagram here.

Shanti, Tyrik, and four friends pose in front of the Penland knoll
Shanti (left) and Tyrik (2nd from left) with friends from their Penland session. Images via Angelique Scott

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Early Decision Scholarships

work-study students at Penland during their shift in the dish room

Penland is pleased to offer a new scholarship option for summer 2019—early decision! These partial scholarships with a work requirement are similar to our general work-study scholarships from previous years, with a few important updates:

  1. If you apply for an early decision scholarship, your application will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be notified about whether or not you got into your workshop within three business days of the completion of your application (including two of your references completing a short reference form).
  2. We are holding two spaces in each workshop for early decision scholarship applicants, so your chances of getting into your first-choice workshop are improved if you apply early.
  3. Instead of the standard $50 processing fee, you pay only a $10 processing fee with your application.
  4. All early decision scholarship applicants will be assigned jobs in the dining hall (washing dishes, preparing food, etc.) that will total roughly 20 hours of work per week.

So who are these scholarships for, anyway?
We are offering this new option for eager students who would like to know the outcome of their scholarship applications sooner, want a better chance of getting into their first-choice workshop, and are willing to commit to a dining hall work assignment. Trying to squeeze a month-long internship, a family reunion, a Penland workshop, and a research trip into one summer? Get your dates locked down with early decision. Have your heart absolutely set on that session 3 iron workshop? Apply ASAP with early decision.

And what’s in it for Penland?
Every session, we need an energetic and diligent crew of work-study students in The Pines to make meal times run smoothly. We’re hoping that, by offering some incentives with our early decision option, we can fill those spots in The Pines and make a whole bunch of you happy, too!

How do I apply early decision?
All scholarship applications, including early-decision applications, must be submitted online through Slideroom. Scholarship applications will open January 1 and must be complete and submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 18. Applications for early decision partial scholarships do not require images, but they do require two references to fill out and submit a short form via email. These applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis once complete, so submitting your application as soon as possible is to your advantage.

What if I need a full scholarship or can’t work in the dining hall?
In addition to the partial scholarships with work requirements that are eligible for early decision, Penland also awards full scholarships with work requirements, full scholarships with no work requirement, and studio assistantships. Spaces are held in each of our workshops for recipients of these scholarships. See complete information about our full range of summer 2019 scholarship options here.

View all of our summer 2019 workshop offerings!

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Communicating Through Craft: A Profile of Aaron Hughes

portrait of Aaron Hughes working at the press in the letterpress studio

 

Art, activism, performance, protest—for Aaron Hughes, the lines between them are blurred and insignificant. “All my work is about creating stories and sharing stories,” he explains. “I’m trying to find space for people to bridge the divides we have in our world through art and through stories.”

As a veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait for fifteen months in 2003-2004, Aaron is sharply aware of those divides. His deployment introduced him to a rougher and more complex world than he’d known growing up in the Midwest. “I felt like the ideas from my upbringing, my religion, my country didn’t make sense anymore,” he remembers. “But what did make sense was art. I felt like art was something I could invest in and believe in and put my energy into. It was something creative and not destructive.”

Aaron came home from his deployment determined to use art as a tool to generate conversations and connections about difficult topics like war, trauma, and oppression. In 2006 he graduated from the University of Illinois with a BFA in painting, and in 2009 he received his MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University. Then he went on to work with organizations such as the National Veterans Art Museum, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Center for Artistic Activism.

 

Drawing from the series 21 Days to Baghdad/Chicago
One of the pieces from “21 Days to Baghdad/Chicago,” a collection of drawings and maps Aaron made after returning to Illinois from his deployment.

 

In the summer of 2013, Aaron came to Penland for the first time with a Windgate Charitable Fund Scholarship. “I had spent so much time helping others to tell their stories and listening to other people’s stories that I had neglected any kind of personal work I needed to do,” Aaron explains. “I applied to Penland as a part of my transition back to focusing on my own art practice.”

He has returned to Penland each summer since to take classes in the printmaking and letterpress studios. “One reason I’m super invested in the printmaking program is that I’m interested in the way printmaking and politics can help to popularize language, stories, and movements,” he says. The connection is clear for Aaron: “Your ability to communicate lies in your ability to execute a craft. That’s what I’ve been gaining each time I come to Penland—the opportunity to develop my craft and to improve my communication skills.”

Aaron readily admits, however, that his time at Penland has been about more than gaining skills in the studio. “Penland is a generous space for me as a veteran,” he explains. “It’s a place of transformation and growth and learning. I’ve been encouraging other veterans to apply there because it’s such a healing, generative space.”

When he’s at Penland, Aaron describes himself as a “studio hound.” “I just want to make, make, make, make, make,” he laughs. But Aaron also values the quieter, more contemplative moments on campus. He describes the short walk back from dinner to the print studio: “There’s a little bench that’s halfway. I’ve often enjoyed sitting there, embracing the evening as it approaches and watching the Appalachian dusk. It’s so beautiful—transcendently beautiful. And I just sit in between all this creativity and embrace the present moment of being there. I feel like that’s healing. That’s wholesome for anybody.”

–Sarah Parkinson