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.
NOTE: Many aspects of Penland workshops will be altered for 2021 because of the pandemic, but we’re moving ahead with optimism and care. Before you apply, please read our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines document so you will know what to expect and what will be expected of you. And know that, if conditions force us to cancel workshops, you’ll get a full refund on your payment.
Registration for May Specials and summer workshops opens January 12 at 10:00 AM ET.
Trouble registering? Short help video here.
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.
Scholarships are available for all most workshops. We offer both full scholarships and partial scholarships with a work requirement. Scholarship students apply separately through Slideroom. See the link below for full details.
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, fill out the form linked below. If you would like to add your name to the list for multiple workshops, simply fill out a form for each workshop you are interested in.
Cancellations & Refunds
To prioritize the safety of our community, our cancellation policy has been modified. If you need to cancel your enrollment at any time up to the day of arrival you will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee.
This policy is intended to provide maximum flexibility so that everyone can prioritize health and safety free from financial considerations. Last-minute cancellations do present a financial hardship for Penland, though, so we ask that you please communicate with as much notice as possible if your plans are disrupted.
If there is a possible case of COVID-19 and Penland, under the direction of the local health authorities, must ask you to isolate for a period of time, you will receive a prorated refund for missed studio time (but not room and board). If you need to leave your workshop early because you have a confirmed COVID-19 infection, or if the session is ended prematurely by Penland, you will receive a prorated refund of all the costs of your workshop. Once your workshop begins, there will be no refunds or credits given for any other reason.
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. The upper metals studio has stairs that compromise access; it is made partially accessible by a stair lift.
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.
Because of the pandemic we are currently offering mostly single rooms, some with private bath, some with shared bath. Double rooms are also available, but only if they will be shared by two members of the same household who are both enrolled at Penland. Housing is on a first come-first served basis, and we cannot honor requests for specific rooms or buildings. You can find example photographs on the Penland housing page.
Note: we only house people enrolled in workshops.
Housing Waiting List
If you were unable to select your prefered type of housing at registration, you may add your name to the waitlist here.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: The current plan for 2021 workshops is for all meals to be served as take-out. We will have areas across campus set aside for well-spaced dining, including additional, covered outdoor areas. More details are available in our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines document.
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.
Please note that studio layouts and safety procedures have been modified to minimize the risk of exposure during the pandemic.
Movement at Penland
Penland is suspending its movement classes during Spring and Summer 2021 workshops.
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.
COVID-19 Safety—Students, instructors, and staff are all subject to Penland’s current COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. Anyone who intentionally or repeatedly violates these guidelines will not be allowed to remain on campus.
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.