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.
Registration is open for fall weekend workshops and our spring sessions
Note: at this time, participation in Penland workshops requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Campus Safety Guidelines (COVID-related).
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 for scholarship students in all workshops except fall weekend workshops.
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 is required to secure a place in each workshop you want to be enrolled in. The deposit is $500 for fall/spring concentration workshops or $250 for all shorter workshops.
Scholarship applicants pay a $10 Slideroom fee but no deposit at the time of registration.
Scholarships are available for all workshops except for the fall weekend session. Some scholarships carry a work requirement; some require a partial tuition payment; some cover all tuition, room, and board. 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
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.
The Penland campus is located on uneven, hilly terrain that poses accessibility challenges. The following studios are accessible: books, clay, drawing and painting, glass, iron, letterpress and printmaking, lower metals, photography, papermaking, and wood. These studios are not fully accessible (stairs required, though stair lifts are installed): upper metals, both textiles studios. Housing that meets ADA standards is available in Arbor House and in some units in The Roost, Dorm 54, Radcliffe, and the Sleeping Cabins. Accessible parking is found at the dining hall and at all studios. Several golf carts are available for use if the student or an assistant can drive one.
We are happy to discuss with you what our campus can or cannot do as far as accessibility and to see if we can accommodate your needs. While we do our best to accommodate all students, we know that our campus will not be accessible for everyone. Please contact our registrar to discuss in more depth how we can help you come to Penland. And please know that improved access is part of all of our long-range campus planning.
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.
Participation in Penland workshops currently requires proof of vaccination. This has allowed us to offer shared housing options again, although people in shared housing may be asked to provide proof of a recent negative COVID test before arrival.
Note: we only house people enrolled in workshops.
Housing Waiting List
If you were unable to select your preferred 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: Meals are currently being served as take-out. We have areas available 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 fall/spring concentration sessions). 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 currently suspended because of the pandemic.
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 at 5:00 PM on Sunday. Note: Studio assistants and scholarship students with a work requirement must arrive in time to work on Saturday morning before their session begins.
NOTE: the fall weekend arrival is 1:00-5:00 PM on Friday.
Fall weekend session workshop activities will end at 5:00 PM on Sunday; students are welcome to stay through Monday morning. Monday breakfast will be the last meal provided; please plan to depart campus by 10:00 AM
All other sessions will end on Friday morning. Breakfast that day will be the last meal provided; please plan to depart campus by 10:00 AM.