COVID-19: Penland’s Response


4/7/20: With a good bit of sadness, we have decided to cancel all of our summer 2020 workshops. As we learn more each day about the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that continuing to plan for workshops anytime this summer is not in the best interests of our community.

Our workshops are based on small groups of people coming together and working in close proximity. We work with our hands, and we share information with our hands. We pass things around so everyone can examine them. We use common tools, materials, and work spaces and eat together in a common dining room. Community and sharing are the heart of Penland’s workshop education. We don’t believe that the current public health crisis will change how we teach, but taking a break right now seems like the only responsible course of action.

We have just finished planning a series of exciting workshops for fall 2020 and spring 2021. We will announce these in the next few weeks and hope to be able to run them. In the meantime, North Carolina is under a stay-at-home order, and most of our staff are working from home. A small crew is on campus and keeping an eye on things. We are all trying to think about how we can use this time to make Penland an even stronger creative force in the future, and we trust you will be part of that future.

Enrolled summer students are entitled to a refund and will be receiving information from our registrar about next steps. Please contact with any questions.


3/25/20: We intend to run summer workshops as scheduled, but we have updated our cancellation policy and tuition deadlines to allow more flexibility for everyone as we all try our best to plan for the unknown.

We will make our final decision to run or cancel workshops based on the following schedule. Tuition deadlines have been moved accordingly to April 15, May 15, and June 15.

Summer sessions 1-3: before April 15
Summer sessions 4-5: before May 15
Summer sessions 6-7: before June 15

Our updated cancellation policy is as follows: If you cancel fourteen days or more before the beginning of a workshop, you will receive a full refund, including your deposit and application fee. If you cancel later than fourteen days before the beginning of the workshop, there is no refund. This policy also applies to work-study students. Penland School cannot be responsible for nonrefundable airline tickets.


3/18/20: We are closing Penland School until further notice. Based on our governor’s latest orders and recommendations from our local health department, we concluded that we were no longer able to assure the health and safety of our students while delivering them the Penland experience they deserve.


3/16/20: We have closed the Penland Gallery, and the Penland campus is now closed to ALL visitors. We ask that you please maintain the safety of our community by not visiting the studios, the school store, the coffee house, or the resident artist studios. We look forward to welcoming you back when it is safer for us all to see each other.


3/13/20: With great reluctance we have decided to cancel our Spring 2020 one-week workshops in response to the emerging COVID-19 epidemic. 

We have an obligation to our staff and the surrounding community to do whatever we can to minimize risk during this pandemic. We know these cancellations will cause disappointment and frustration for many of you. We feel those things, too, as we navigate these unfamiliar waters. Now more than ever, we are grateful that Penland is a community of caring, generous, and resourceful individuals. We look forward to seeing you all back here at some point in the not-so-distant future. For further information (and a few bright spots!), please see our 3/18/20 blog post.

Summer Workshops

Penland made the decision to cancel all summer workshops on April 7. Enrolled students are entitled to a refund and will receive information about processing their refund via email from the Penland registrar.

Please read Penland’s updated cancellation and refund policy for summer 2020 workshops and email with any questions.

Spring Concentrations

We are working with our Concentration students and instructors to shut down the studios and get everyone home safely. Students will receive a pro-rated refund for the portion of the workshop that we were not able to run. We have received so much love and support from this group and we are ever grateful to them for their flexibility and grace as we’ve navigated this unprecedented situation on campus.

Spring One-Week Workshops

Every student enrolled in Spring 2020 one-week workshops is entitled to a full refund. If you were enrolled in one of these workshops, please see your email for details about the refund process.

These cancellations do represent a financial hit to the school, and we hope that some students will be able to help by taking some or all of their refund as a voucher for a future workshop or as a tax-deductible contribution. We know that not everyone can do this, and so we are also making it easy for students to simply receive a cash refund. Unfortunately, Penland cannot be responsible for nonrefundable airline tickets or other expenses.

We were really looking forward to these spring one-week workshops, and we will do our best to reschedule them for future sessions.

Penland Campus and Staff

Penland will continue working closely with our local health authorities and monitoring recommendations and guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. We will update our plans regularly as the situation evolves.

North Carolina is under a stay-at-home order, and most of our staff are working from home. A small crew is on campus and keeping an eye on things. We intend to keep this staff a strong one, and we will be exploring creative ways to harness everyone’s talents in the coming weeks as we shift to a new, more digital, landscape.