Penland welcomes serious students of all levels of experience—absolute beginners to professionals. We seek a diverse student population representing varied experiences, backgrounds, races, professions, and age groups (minimum age 18). Some workshops are tailored for beginners and some require prior experience; most welcome a range of skill levels.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have cancelled all spring, summer, and fall workshops for 2020. Please read this message from director Mia Hall.
We will be posting information about spring 2021 workshops in the fall. Please subscribe to our newsletter to get updates about workshops and other opportunities.
Registration is on a first-come, first served basis and continues until workshops are filled. All registration takes place online. Spaces are reserved in all summer workshops and fall/spring concentrations for scholarship students.
Processing Fee & Deposits
A $50 application fee is charged when you apply. You may apply for several sessions at once with one fee. A deposit of $250 per workshop is required to secure a place in each workshop you want to be enrolled in. Scholarship applicants pay a $10 Slideroom fee but no deposit at the time of registration.
If you are interested in a workshop that is full, we encourage you to place your name on the waiting list. We get some cancellations, and the enrollment picture can change from week to week. Waiting lists are kept in order by the date requests are received. Applicants will be contacted if space becomes available. No deposit is necessary to have a space on a waiting list, and the $50 processing fee will not be charged unless you are enrolled. To place your name on a waiting list, please call 828-765-2359 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellations & Refunds
We have updated our cancellation policy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new policy is as follows for summer workshops:
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.
If Penland has to cancel your workshop, you will be offered a full refund, including your deposit and application fee. You may elect to receive this refund in cash, as a voucher for a future workshop, or as a donation directed to Penland School. We cannot be responsible for nonrefundable airline tickets.
Penland registrations are transferable to another person only if the workshop does not have a waiting list. If you wish to transfer your registration, please call the registrar to inquire.
Residents of nearby counties in Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee are offered half-price tuition when they take unfilled spaces less than two weeks before the beginning of a workshop. This offer is also available to all K–12 teachers and all teachers at colleges, universities, or community colleges, regardless of where they live. For details contact the Penland registrar or visit the standby page.
Penland’s campus is located on terrain that is steep and uneven. Most of our studios are accessible, and housing is available that conforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act. We provide accessible parking for the dining hall, housing, and most studios. Several golf carts are available for students who have mobility limitations. Penland will make every effort to provide appropriate housing and program access to people with known disabilities to the degree possible without posing an undue hardship for the organization. People with disabilities are responsible for requesting appropriate accommodations in advance and helping the school assess how best to assist them. Please contact the registrar to discuss housing and access to studios and other facilities.
Textiles workshops are taught in second- and third-floor walk-up studios made partially accessible by a stair lift. One of the metals studios has stairs that compromise access; it is made partially accessible by a stair lift. The workshops in this metals studio have the letter A in the class code.
We recommend staying on campus to maximize your Penland experience. There are frequent evening events and many people choose to do studio work late at night or early in the morning.
Penland housing is quite simple. Buildings are not air-conditioned—the climate is moderate, and temperatures are cool at night. Furnishing is basic: a bed and a place to put your clothes.
Our housing is priced in two tiers: standard and economy. Economy housing is only available for summer workshops.
Standard housing includes rooms that are a bit larger and, in some cases, in recently constructed or renovated buildings. The “dormitory” option in standard housing refers to rooms that house four people.
Economy housing includes rooms that are a little smaller; many are in older buildings. The “hostel” option in economy housing refers to rooms that house up to 13 people.
Housing assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis. We do our best to match students with the type of housing they request, but this is not always possible, and we cannot honor requests for specific rooms or buildings. You can find more details and example photographs on the Penland housing page.
Note: we only house people enrolled in workshops.
We recognize that traditional housing options do not meet all students’ needs, particularly with regard to gender identity or expression. Our online application form includes some all-gender housing options.
Students staying on campus pay for all meals as part of their room and board charge. Penland provides excellent, nutritious meals made with fresh ingredients, some grown on campus. There is always a vegetarian option and a salad bar, but we cannot promise to accommodate special dietary needs. If you have questions about food at Penland, please send an inquiry to email@example.com.
Students who live in the area or prefer to find their own lodging may enroll as off-campus students and participate in all activities of the Penland session. Off-campus students may select a meal plan when enrolling.
Cost of Materials
Tuition does not cover the cost of materials used for students’ own production. (Hot glass tuition does cover the cost of the glass in the furnaces.) Most workshops require you to bring certain materials and tools with you, and most of them have a studio fee for supplies used by the group. We will make every effort to notify students in advance if we anticipate a studio fee in excess of $50 (or $250 for an eight-week concentration). Look for this information on your materials list.
Note: flameworking students pay a $100 deposit and a $10 rental fee on their tool kits; rental tool kits are available in the wood, metals, textiles, books, and printmaking studios for a small fee.
In many workshops students may be working with tools that can cause injury if improperly used. A safety tour and information about the proper handling of tools and materials is part of our workshops; however, students assume the risk of working with tools and materials provided by the school.
Information about Penland’s studios, including a list of the tools and equipment in each studio, is available at the following link: Penland studios
Movement at Penland
Movement classes are available during Penland sessions at no extra charge. The movement program at Penland is based on the belief that ease of movement is an aid to the creative process. Movement instructors come from a variety of disciplines.
Drugs and Alcohol—Alcohol is not permitted in the studios. The legal drinking age in North Carolina is 21. The use of illegal drugs while at Penland is strictly prohibited. We cannot tolerate behavior that jeopardizes your safety or the safety of others.
Personal Property—Penland is not responsible for the security of property belonging to students, instructors, or staff.
Pets—Students are not permitted to have pets with them while at Penland. If you work with an ADA compliant service animal, please contact the registrar.
Unacceptable Behavior—Penland reserves the right to dismiss any student, without refund, for behavior that is disruptive to the community learning and living environment. Penland may refuse admission to students with a past history of unacceptable behavior.
College & Teacher Credits
Penland students can receive college credit through Western Carolina University (WCU) through the procedure outlined below.
Fees: $175 per junior and senior level undergraduate credit, $200 per graduate credit, $65 application fee. (These fees are subject to change without notice.)
Credit Hours: 1 credit for 1 week of study; up to 3 for 2 or 2-and-a-half weeks; 9 credits for 8 weeks.
Contact Hours: Students must have at least 30 contact hours per credit hour earned.
You must pre-enroll before you arrive at Penland:
Undergraduate students must be eligible for upper level studio art course at their home institution (junior and senior level). Check with your degree program to be sure that credit you obtain from WCU will transfer. Please contact the Penland registrar for an enrollment packet. Students must have all enrollment materials submitted to the Penland registrar at least three weeks before your workshop begins. If you do not pre-enroll before your workshop, you will not be able to obtain credit.
If applying for graduate credit, you should apply to WCU online as a graduate transfer student not obtaining a degree from Western at:
Once you have completed the online enrollment process for graduate credit, please notify the Penland registrar to complete the enrollment process. The process must be completed at least three weeks before your workshop begins.
Penland workshop instructors are hired for their artistic and teaching abilities and do not always have the requisite degrees to teach college level courses. Therefore, Penland’s college credit program is managed by a person with the requisite degree, a terminal degree in studio art. This person will meet with all students at orientation to distribute a syllabus and expectations for the workshop. They will also evaluate the individual effort at the conclusion of the workshop and submit the earned grade. The workshop instructor will not be responsible for grading or the earning of college credits. Grading information is provided to Western Carolina University by the Penland registrar’s office.
A certificate of course completion is also available.
Teachers interested in receiving Public Education Certificate renewal credits for Penland workshops must contact their local school board.
Arrival & Departure
Penland is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Spruce Pine, NC, 52 miles north of Asheville. The easiest way to get here is by car, but commercial van service (not affiliated with Penland) to and from the Asheville airport and bus terminal is available before and after each session for a fee. Plan to arrive at Penland between 1:00 and 5:00 PM on Sunday. Sessions begin with an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM. Sessions end at noon on the last day of the session. Housing checkout time is 2:00 PM. Note: Studio assistants and scholarship students with a work requirement must arrive in time to work on Saturday morning, except for 6th session when they start work on Sunday morning. These students also work on the day after their session.