Penland Core Fellowship Program Frequently Asked Questions
Is the deadline the same each year?
Generally, yes. Each year we have an application deadline in mid-October. The exact date is listed on the Core Fellowship web page.
When are applicants notified about final selection?
We do our best to notify all candidates during the first week of December following the deadline.
When does the program begin each year?
New fellows arrive in late February to begin their first year. There are no exceptions to this start date. The fellowship season runs February to February, but work obligations for the school are only from late February to late November. During winter break, from December to February, fellows have the option to work in the studios at Penland but have no work responsibilities otherwise.
How many spots are open each year?
We fill either four or five open positions each year, depending on how many current fellows are leaving the program.
Do you accept international students?
The Core Fellowship Program includes a significant work component that requires U.S. citizenship, a green card, or resident alien status.
How many applications do you receive each year?
We generally receive 60-90 applications for 4-5 spots.
Do I have to have been to Penland or taken classes there in order to apply?
No, there is no prerequisite for applying.
What level of experience do I need in order to apply?
General craft skills in one or more media, a developed sense of ideas and direction—beyond beginner level in at least one studio.
Have most core fellows finished a BFA program prior to applying to the program?
Some have, but not all. We prefer to choose candidates with a range of craft/art experience. Some have just graduated from art programs, some have been out of school for several years, some have chosen a non-academic route. We are looking for people who seem to be at the right point in their creative pursuits to most benefit from our program, regardless of educational background.
Should my portfolio show a range of work, or should I focus on one body of work or medium?
Your portfolio should support your reasons for applying to the program. Some students focus in one area, others work in several media. Either is fine depending on your creative goals.
What should my CV include?
Your CV should cover education, employment, and selected artistic accomplishments. We rely heavily on the CV to give us an indication of your work background—what kind of work you have done, what kind of employee you have been, how long you have stayed at past jobs, your practical skills, etc. We also want to know what your art/craft background is and the timeline for this background.
Where do core fellows live?
Core fellows share a large, old house on the edge of Penland’s campus. Each core fellow has a private bedroom with a shared bathroom (2-3 people per bath). There is a large communal kitchen, dining and living area, laundry room, and porch. We provide shared living as part of the work/study exchange. We cannot accommodate partners or families and do not recommend living off campus. We also have a no pets policy.
How much is the stipend for core fellows?
Fellows receive a very modest stipend of $35/week.
How many classes do core fellows take?
Core students generally take one eight-week concentration during the spring, five two-week classes during the summer, and one eight-week concentration in the fall. Class schedule and curriculum are determined by the instructor, and core students do their best to dovetail job responsibilities with class participation.
What kind of studio access do core fellows have?
Core students have a shared studio space near their house that is for their use only, year round. They can also sign up to work independently in school studios during the winter months for no charge. Otherwise, they are enrolled in classes and work in the teaching studio for a particular workshop.
What are core jobs like?
All core jobs require about 25 hours/week and involve one of the following: working in the kitchen for meal prep; gardening/driving; facilitating/planning school functions such as slide talks, parties, instructor gatherings, etc; managing teams of work/study students in the dining room for set-up and clean-up. All core jobs involve working before and after each session to get the school ready for the next session.